Zurich court approves appeals against demolition of the Maag Halls

The Maag Halls may not be demolished for the time being: The City of Zurich must first clarify whether they are worth preserving or not, the Building Appeals Court concludes.

The Maag Music Hall may not be demolished for the time being, according to a decision by the Building Appeal Court. (Archive image: Keystone/Alexandra Wey)

In its ruling of May 16, the court revoked the building permit that the city had granted to Swiss Prime Site Immobilien, as several appellants announced on Thursday.

Among other things, this building permit provided for the demolition of the two large event halls Lichthalle Maag and Maag Theater as well as the office tower built in 1971. A high-rise building with apartments was to be built in their place.

In their press releases, the Zurich Heritage Society and the Hamasil Foundation write that the city was wrong to refrain from examining whether the Maag Halls were worthy of protection.

Buildings appear worthy of protection

The hall and office tower between Hardbrücke railroad station and Escher-Wyss-Platz have a special intrinsic and situational value and contain old building fabric; the building therefore appears to be potentially worthy of protection and belongs in the municipal inventory of art and cultural-historical objects of protection, summarizes the Zurich Heritage Society.

This means that the Maag-Hallen will be preserved for the time being, and with them a lively cultural venue and one of the last witnesses to the industrial history of Zurich West, according to the Hamasil Foundation. It is convinced "that the district does not need more sterile office buildings and expensive apartments, but rather culture, restaurants, stores and apartments that are affordable".

Clarifications are still pending

However, the fate of the halls remains uncertain with the decision of the building appeal court. On the one hand, the ruling is not yet legally binding and can be appealed.

On the other hand, it only calls on the city to go over the books again. An inventory does not yet mean that the site is protected - whether protective measures are appropriate must first be clarified before a building permit is issued. (SDA/swi)

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