The land on which this project was built belonged to the Zurich municipality who sold it to a housing cooperative catering for families at a subsidised price. The condition attached to this deal was that the new owners would run a design competition for the proposed housing scheme, include the municipality of Zurich on the jury panel, and devote 0,5% of the building cost to site specific art projects.
The brief for the competition set out a detailed mix of flat sizes and number of units, which in the interpretation of EM2N became a flexible matrix of rooms, kitchens and sanitary units. After EM2N had won the competition the project went through stages of reworking, during which the overall layout was kept, the quality and the economics of the flats and the internal access were greatly improved.
One important idea in the process that EM2N were able to keep throughout designing Hegianwandweg was to create five compact building volumes and thus preserve the views towards the city centre. The way the buildings are situated on a podium gives the impression of a large complex related to the neighbouring high rise blocks when approaching the site from the tram stop. But passing by the parallel blocks of flats, the main impression is of five independent units of a much smaller scale more similar to the terraces.
The artworks commissioned for this project were all set out in a way that they would also have a practical value for the inhabitants.