From metropolitan Switzerland to sustainable density.
The project “Guiding effects” for the ex-industrial area of Clos-Donroux, crystallises a new approach to a actual and relevant urban topic, not only in Switzerland but throughout Europe: how to combine high density with urban quality life of inhabitants, be they residents, workers or visitors. The city of Monthey, district capital and municipality of the urban Chablais is the hinge between the metropolitan system of Lake Geneva area (Geneva-Lausanne) and the urban network of the industrial valley of Valais. From this situation Monthey and its territory enjoy the benefits (strategic location as the gate to the Swiss Alps) but at the same time suffer the effects (loss of jobs, increasing commuters, reduced services, lack of identity).
Thinking a new piece of city within the city itself, with the aim of relaunching Monthey as a economical and cultural centre, active and dynamic, means first of all to propose qualified open spaces and public facilities, recognizable not also in the urban scale but also in the territorial scale. These spaces work as links between existing buildings and new constructions, creating positive conditions for the grafting of new activities of different natures, such as tertiary, offices and professional labs, cultural spaces, small retail, public facilities and dwelling.
The project “Guiding effects" can be described as sustainable as it fits through, using carefully density, in a natural way in a highly characterized environment, emphasizing its potential, harmonizing with the surroundings and working with the resources available, whether materials (buildings, infrastructure, roads, approaches, etc..) and intangible (history of the place, ways of perception and use of environments, identity, etc..).
For a territorial requalification model.
Taking advantage of the choices already in place, both for the improvement of public transport and regional economic strategies related to the network of municipalities of the Chablais, Monthey looks forward thinking its own territory and developing its real estate assets, such as Clos-Donroux area, which will be invested with new features.
The project "Guiding effects" fits into this logic and fully exploits the situation by introducing a strategy that can be read at different scales, not least territorial. The multipurpose centre, a great feature at a regional scale, is part of this strategy, it anticipates the objectives, structure the intervention according to a clear urban logic, and attaches to a system of open spaces, mineral and vegetable, which characterise the operation. They trace their matrix composition from the polycentric system of green corridors that characterise the linear park along the river Rhone.
High-density, building concentration and soil release, allows qualitative breaks in the metropolitan area heavily man. Several strategies reinforcing this intervention: a new tram station is located near one of the main entrances to the area; a network of footpaths and cycle lanes connect the urban tissue and connect the area to its surroundings; the new northern bypass connects directly and quickly the area of Clos-Donroux to the highway, speeding up the access, reducing traffic from the secondary roads; a large multistorey and underground car parks, located in peripheral places, ensure the necessary requirements for the whole area can be thought pedestrian.
A new urban identity.
Exploring the project, “Guiding effects” is the result of an reinterpretation of a part of the city, revealing a connecting urban axis, between the city centre and its territory.
A new centre of two contiguous cities, Monthey and Collobey-Muraz, structured along an urban lawn. The project uses all the resources available reinventing new interpretative solutions. The hierarchical relationship between the center and its outskirts is denied, transforming the closed and isolated industrial enclave into an open and porous area that attracts vital energy from the peripheral and external urban compartments. The existing building are maintained as much as possible, they aren't preserved as it they were industrial archeology, but reinterpreted to accommodate new functions.
Existing buildings and new constructions are articulated in a clear and functional urban design: the mono-functional island, legacy of outdated production system, is transformed into an environment where voids between fills, public and open spaces, consolidate and restructures the built plot.The axis linking downtown, urban boulevards are extended inside the study area, contributing to the design of landscape. The hard edge and impassable railway line, is passed through in a higher level by a pedestrian and cycle path that allows access to the area. This new level is the common plan that unites all the process.
The project is developed by steps, depending on areas availability. On a first place, the north part of the area, where the multipurpose centre is the founder element of the new district. The south and south-east area are subject to new commercial and offices on the ground floor and dwelling on the first floor.
On a second place, the large central lawn, structuring all intervention from north to south. Completing all operation, from the centre towards the borders of the new district, reusing existing buildings, with the construction of new buildings and the definition of open spaces .
The project follows a logic of low density although maintain the proportions required by the competition program (60% services, 30% dwelling 10% public facilities). The total surface area (new construction and requalification of existing buildings) is designed in order to get in this specific context the translation of best quality outdoor spaces of the new district.
The approach of the project "Guiding effects" for the area of Clos-Donroux is a reinterpretation of the richness of the place. To become a new urban centre, the project takes advantage of its strategic location between the town of Monthey and Collombey-Muraz, defining and structuring an urban axis: the large urban lawn running north-south. To get high quality spaces and manage a new identity , the project has maintained as much as possible the existing buildings, both for their intrinsic qualities and for their symbolic value, giving their new functions.
To become an open, accessible and permeable area, the project uses the existing infrastructure (railway line) or planned (new road and tram line), not seen as obstacles or barriers, but as opportunities to connect and exchange. To achieve a sustainable density the project respects the ratio between existing fills (the built) and voids (open spaces) concentrating the new constructions in a few defined areas. For a unitary urban design, where voids are qualified open spaces, the project proposes and emphasises the existing functional tissue.
To make this area accessible and porous,the project defines the boundary of the new district, by structuring and strengthening them, creating new urban fronts.
The project is structured around a large urban lawn running north-south. This space is qualified as a large proportions clearing, inside the dense tissue of the new district.
The dimension and proportions of this space relate the Clos-Donroux area with the green-corridors system of the linear park of Rhone river and allows a directly confront with the surrounding mountains. A landscape system is articulated inside the new urban tissue, squares, pedestrian streets, thematic gardens and vegetable urban gardens are proposed according to a clear urban design. These spaces, defined by their human scale and contained proportions, overlooked by the fronts of the buildings are set out in character and also in their use.
The road network device and the parking system are designed so that the district is free from traffic. The internal vehicular traffic is still insured for supplies and temporary stops. Cycle paths and walkways allow connections around. The frequent stops of public transport (tram and bus) provide a complete service access.
The functional program reflects the desire of Monthey to offer new opportunities for businesses setting up in an infrastructure, served and pleasant environment. The functions are different and complementary making the new district a dynamic place to live, every day of the week, during day and evening.
The project is organised in two levels, on the ground floor are located, both in existing structures and new buildings, the tertiary sector (offices, district offices), small retail (bars, restaurants, small shops) public facilities (cultural spaces, schools, library, sports centre) and the main entrances of the large multipurpose centre. At the top level, at an altitude of 3.30 meters are located the tertiary, dwellings and secondary access of multipurpose centre. At an average altitude of 7.70 meters a sort of unifying platform of the new intervention is materialised. Partly pedestrian, like a hanging garden, it interact with the scale of all existing buildings, defining the limits of the intervention.
The residence is approx 10,000 square meters and is organised in buildings of 6.20 m thick. Each apartment offers all the interiors with double facing and internal modular organization. The proposed residential typologies revisit the model of single-family dwelling placed in a condominium contest, where the exterior spaces are arranged as private gardens or vegetable urban gardens. The typologies reflect the current demand for housing and new ways of living, from studios for singles or students to apartments for different type of families or sharing apartments.
One of the key elements of the project is the multipurpose centre, it was thought as a large urban element to the territorial scale and as an integral part of the district, consistent with it and rooted in the urban tissue.
His role within the district, is strategic: destined to hold events of different nature, helps to provide identity and attractiveness to the Clos-Donroux area and to the town of Monthey in general.
Essential and simple in his appearance (because of its shape and finishing materials) but flexible inside, the multipurpose centre integrates into the context and, seeks a dialogue with existing buildings and new constructions, is an integral part of the new district.
Its interior is uniqueness, both from formally than from a functional perspective, a modular system of sliding walls allow different configurations depending on demands, sports hall, concert hall, exhibition centre, convention centre.
The building is organised on two levels, on the ground floor, a large foyer completely glazed outwards, surrounds the multipurpose room. The functional program is contained under the grandstand: service spaces (dressing rooms for athletes and artists, toilets, offices, studios), and also bars, restaurant, toilet facilities for the public and entrances to the multipurpose room. The vertical distribution of the building is located on the edges of the building. On the upper level a wide ambient around the multipurpose room, can accommodate different activities (exhibition gallery, reception). This space, partially glazed, opens out to a roof garden to accommodate outdoor events.
A system of zenithal lighting, provides natural lighting inside the multipurpose room, the light filters through the large conical skylights that have different inclinations, characterised the ceiling. The ground floor foyer of the gallery and the upper level are naturally lit by large windows.
The shape of the room and the organisation of the grandstands allows flexible and multiple uses: the shape of the stage changes depending on the needs of various events in course (sports, concerts with the main stage, circus), the adjustable closure system allows a subdivision and partitioning of the room for contemporary but distinct uses, (congresses, cinema, theater, auditorium).
From a construction point of view the structure is made of a mixed system, the supporting platform and grandstands are made of reinforced concrete, the roof structure is made of steel structure. This construction method allows a relative lightness as well as a significant speed of execution and can span further dimensions than conventional methods.