The Toni-Areal has come to a complete standstill. The popular centre for culture, education, science and society in the former dairy factory in Zurich-West is deserted. Where thousands usually come and go, absolute silence reigns. Photographer and ZHdK alumnus Lucas Ziegler has photographed the empty campus, capturing these extraordinary times.
BY EVA BRÜLLMANN
May 2020. Since March, the situation categorised as “extraordinary” under the Federal Law on Epidemics has dictated life in Switzerland following the advent of the novel coronavirus. The Toni-Areal, too, has since fallen into a deep sleep. The atmosphere inside the building is surreal: neatly cleaned and tidied kitchens, long empty corridors, hastily assembled furniture in the skylight hall, abandoned workshops, wastebaskets left to their own devices, music halls in a state of shock. And chairs everywhere! Sometimes neatly stacked, sometimes carelessly assembled, sometimes arranged.
One’s eye for architecture is sharpened and inconspicuous places now make their grand entrance. Monotony prevails — the architecture, although self-sufficient, is ultimately meaningless and, without people, devoid of energy. Strangely, the silence enables one to perceive the building’s fittings and technology as ambient noise and makes one wish for pulsating life to return.