| by Kenneth Chase | No comments

Non-smoking apartments sell out in Zurich


Philipp Bollier is
very pleased. The 32-year-old architect
is the new tenant of this 4.5-room, 122 m2,
apartment in Zurich. It’s newly renovated – and smoking
is strictly forbidden. I think the concept is great. I am an adamant
non-smoker. It’s OK if people smoke, but it’s also cool to sleep
with the window open without having smoke
rising from lower apartments, forcing you to
smoke too. Philipp signed a contract: no cigarettes inside
or on the balconies, or you can be evicted.
Visitors must also abstain. A housing cooperative
came up with the idea for this first smoke-free building
in Switzerland. Cigarettes are not
environmentally friendly. Nicotine damages buildings. For these two reasons, it was
decided that smoking had no place in this building of high
ecological standards. The 40 apartments have
already found buyers. This selection criterion has shocked some tenant
protection associations. They say banning
a section of the population is a violation of
the private sphere. I find it counter-productive, it leaves
the door open to discrimination. Will the next step be to
ban children, the elderly, or people who eat fondues? In Zurich, other specialised
housing units are emerging like this cooperative
for carless tenants. Some fear society
will become more segregated. This geographer puts it
into perspective. This remains an exception, and in a tight market we can afford to create
niches for clients. I don’t think
the idea will spread. With a saturated real
estate market, as in Zurich, other special types of living
may emerge. If this project succeeds, new
non-smoking residences are planned.

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