A few years ago Zürich West was considered wild and uninhabitable, a sprawl of disused industrial buildings and seedy nightclubs. A recent refurbishment of the former Löwenbräu brewery building has transformed the area to one of the hottest arts centres in Europe.
The transformation of the Löwenbräu building in Kreis 5 is nothing short of a revolution: some of the worlds most influential art galleries and Swiss cultural institutions relocated there, transforming the once red-light district to the cultural epicentre of Switzerland and one of the hottest art centres in Europe.
In the early 2000s Kreis 5 was all but an industrial wasteland; disused buildings attracted only the city's most desperate citizens and the streets were dark and unsafe. Fast-forward ten years, and a number of modern new residential and office towers have opened, and the area is now one of the most sought-after in Zurich. The largest building in Switzerland, the Prime Tower recently opened and boasts a number of distinguished international legal and financial firms in addition to one of the best views in Zurich from Clouds, the restaurant on top of the building. Now with the arts centre about to open, it is the epicentre of Swiss cool.
The arts centre is an extension of the former Löwenbräu brewery building, a fully functional brewery from 1890 until it closed just over a century later, in 1986. Then parts of the art scene found a home here and ever since the Löwenbräu has been synonymous with art in Zürich With a dozen art institutions all under one roof, you shouldn't miss the Löwenbräu if you're into contemporary art. World-famous gallerists clamouring to fill the space include Hauser & Wirth, with galleries in NY and London, Galerie Bob von Orsouw, from the Migros Museum, and the Zurich Kunsthalle.
Should you decide to extend your art tour along the Limmatrasse, be sure to include Niki von Senger and Francesca Pia directly opposite the Löwenbräu, and Galerie Ferrari & Luellin at Limmastrasse 214. Wind up your tour at the Peter Kilchmann and Eva Pressenhuber galleries at Zahnanderstrasse 214 before crossing the street to check out the Sky Bar at Clouds in the Prime Tower.
Music lovers are encouraged to check out the Maag Areal music arena, which hosts theatre and dance performances and DJ performances. Nearby Moods is a small black-box space featuring live well-known international jazz, funk and fusion performers. Moods is located in a former warehouse called Schiffbau (or Shipyard) building, which also hosts the stunning Schauspielhaus theatre, with performances so beautifully staged as to rival any theatre in New York or London.
To get to Kreis 5 take a train to Hardbrucke or tran 2 or 13 to Dammweg.
Dining in Kreis 5
Check out La Salle for pre theatre or concert dinner. Located in the Schiffbau arts centre, a raw industrial space lit up by a huge crystal Venetian candelabra, it has one of the most dramatic and stylish interiors in all of Zurich. We highly recommend local specialties, like boar with red cabbage and spaetzli.
Schiffbaustrasse 4, 8005 Zurich. Tel: +41 (0)44 258 70 71 www.lasalle-restaurant.ch
Some of the most innovative cuisine, eclectic and cool high-end designs curated by a former Parisian furniture and interiors designer ad the finest Mediterranean cuisine served up in a former car garage, under crystal chandeliers, Times restaurant and store offers a truly unique dining/shopping experience in a location that matches the post-industrial landscape it's situated in. A must destination for anyone visiting the area.
Gasometerstrasse 7, 8005 Zürich, Switzerland. Tel: +41 (0) 44 211 99 77 www.times-zurich.com