All in one. High functionality and pleasant working environment.

The development of the former Elektrolux site in Aarau, is a prime example of the successful transformation of an industrial district into a modern workplace with a high quality of life. One building in particular offers an impressive demonstration of this: the new headquarters of the national electric grid company Swissgrid.

The structural shift in the working and production sector could hardly have been greater over the past 20 years. Strict delimitation and fixed structures have given way to increased transparency and the greatest possible flexibility, and the question of life versus work has a clear answer: life and work.

Location and real estate strategists must build the future to accommodate these needs. The development of the former Elektrolux site at Aarau train station, which was acquired by the CSA RES investment group in 2011 and developed with Swissgrid – owner and operator of the Swiss transmission grid – shows how this can be done. The result is a spacious working site whose main building hosts the new Swissgrid headquarters, supplemented by an attractive residential building. The Swissgrid building's plot has a surface area of some 7,500 square meters.

Clearly a development project of nationwide importance.

Andreas Roth, Product Manager CSA RES

A building of nationwide importance in Switzerland

After three years of construction, Swissgrid moved into its new headquarters in June 2018: a four-story courtyard building with two subterranean levels, room for 450 workstations, and one of the most modern grid control centers in Europe. This makes the new construction one of the most important buildings in Switzerland, with system-critical infrastructure that is, by definition, of vital importance when maintaining key supply functions. Aarau-based architects Schneider & Schneider Architekten managed to achieve the desired symbiosis between the highest security standards, a creative working atmosphere, and sophisticated architecture. In collaboration with S+B construction management AG, Olten, they planned a building that was equal to its tasks. The building was erected by HRS Real Estate AG, Frauenfeld, and contains appropriately complex and sophisticated building technology.

Technology meets aesthetics

The facade represents Swissgrid's field of responsibility in a striking manner. The burnished brass shimmers like copper – thereby using the building's very materials to allude to the transmission of electricity. Oak and concrete in the building's interior emphasize solidity and security. The video lines and bubbles by Schaffhausen artist Katja Loher, who now lives in New York, add a playful visual touch. The works were integrated into the building from the shell construction phase onwards and are part of the "Kunst und Bau" (Art and Architecture) project, to which the CSA RES investment group committed itself as owner of the building. 

Agile work in a pleasant atmosphere

The office areas include space for personal well-being, as well as for productive exchanges of opinions with colleagues. Interior designers Jasmin Grego and Stephanie Kühnle worked with KLEIBRINK. SMART IN SPACE to create pleasant surroundings for modern working areas designed in line with a concept to facilitate free workplace selection. In addition, there are project rooms, several think tanks and quiet areas, an American diner, and a touchdown zone. This combination of regeneration options and modes of working continues in the outside area, where a green courtyard can be used both for breaks and for productive processes thanks to the comprehensive WLAN network. And a green garden and coffee zone in two opposing corners of the building are the twin cherries on the cake. Even the environmental aspect is not overlooked: the building was awarded the Minergie-P® certificate and a gold greenproperty seal. Quality is also reflected in the market value, which currently amounts to CHF 83,420,000.

Living with optimum connections

The residential building – a five-story, L-shaped property with two basements and a total of 50 apartments – was fully rented out shortly after completion. No wonder, as the residential building is within walking distance of Aarau train station and is proving to be very popular, especially among younger tenants who appreciate the advantages of agglomeration. One 1.5‑room apartment, fifteen 2.5‑room apartments, twenty-nine 3.5‑room apartments, and four 4.5‑room apartments precisely match the market demand. In addition to this there are 36 parking spaces.

Together we have developed more than a building. We have created a new location for energy security.

Andreas Roth, Product Manager CSA RES

Future project for investors

The CSA RES investment group has a long history of investing in well-situated, profitable multiple dwellings and commercial buildings in sought-after locations and is broadly diversified across the whole of Switzerland. With these two new properties, it has succeeded in further improving its portfolio and creating a long-term investment project for Swiss pension funds with promising return prospects for its investors.

Novum – the magazine