Structure & Utopia
ETH Zürich Studio Adam Caruso 2017
In Collaboration with Sandro Straube
The crocodile enables something previously unseen in the Swiss agglomeration to exist alongside the urban environment and current ways of dealing with topography.
The intervention does not ensure the preservation of anything existing, instead it creates an entirely new habitat - a swamp. The resulting form of the wetland is a rectangle openly accepting its artificial self.
The crocodile in turn lies alongside the Limmat river, deciding what enters the newly created biosphere and what does not. It acts as a dam separating two bodies of water, one moving and one still.
The figure is confident and independent, drawing power from the rushing waters of the river through its mighty legs, dwarfed by the even mightier body.
People waiting for the train in the morning are confronted with an ominous silhouette, rising through the mist. A lonely pair of binoculars offer a glimpse into the wilderness and, for many, a first closer look at the animal guarding it.
When coming nearer, the large open mouth is not only an entrance, but also a reminder that there is a subtle difference between those who live by the swamp and those who do not. A small green sign is the written translation of the figure, marking the beginning of the nature reserve.
Inside the creature almost five thousand inhabitants share the same sublime relationship with the swamp, seduced by its mystic qualities. In their infinite variation the interior spaces all share the same immediacy with the outside, offering refuge and warmth to those who dwell inside.
At times the people of the crocodile seek togetherness and like minded individuals gather in a series of figures on the back of the animal. The harsh winds and biting cold gnaw at the fragile timber construction, invoking a sense of danger and making constant reparations a daily routine.
Everybody, especially the early morning deep river fishers of the crocodile, who fish into the limmat instead of the swamp, understand and respect the environment in which they have the privilege to live.