Case Study:: Sihlpost Platform at Zurich Main Railway Station

There’s a fascinating project in Zurich that is integrated with a major railway. While planning an expansion to the railway, it was discovered that the area was a sensitive habitat area and they had to come up with a creative way to avoid disturbance. The area alongside the tracks had developed it’s own unique, desert-like habitat that was being used by a variety of species including insects and lizards.

The solution was to built platform roofs and move the habitat to the rooftop. The roof has many elements to providing diverse habitat including varying substrate depths for a variety of vegetation. There are also small mounds to provide some relief from the elements. Alongside the roofs are ‘lizard ladders’ which are mesh boxes filled with rocks as well as planted fences to provide access to the roof tops for the variety of species that use it.

Within a year of completion many species were already observed using the roof. In addition the roof provides shade for the train passengers and sign about the habitat is provided around the station to educate passengers.

I love this project because of the simple solution that provided benefits for the wildlife and humans who both use the space. The Swiss have a number of excellent biodiversity green roof projects and I’ll post about more of them soon. I spent a lot of time researching green roofs that focused on biodiversity while in school and the ideas really got going in Switzerland and London has really picked up on the ideas and adapted them to their own needs. More on that later too.

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[Update 4/6/10] A few days after I posted this Dusty Gedge posted about it as well on Livingroofs.org and offers more insight to the project and design.

Kelly Brenner
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