The project of the alternative community centre for Saxon, Switzerland, aims at finding a conceptual spatial solution for a high-density development to be seamlessly integrated into the landscape of the Rhône valley. The Project has become possible as a result of a dialogue between private developers and the municipality. The envisaged programme can make the development an important attractor both for Saxon residents and tourists.
The alternative city centre will include the Valais Cultural and Art Foundation, offices and workshops of the Be-Camps Multi-Factory, the CHEZ PAOU charity, a bicycle museum, a hotel, a fire station, housing and apartments.
Compositionally, it is a linear structure with layered functions. The most active public functions are placed within its front along the highway, while the housing and apartments “strip” gets more privacy from its location closer to the foot of the mountain. At the same time, the linear structure enables the requested multi-phased construction.
The future public development is to emerge on a free site with a flat terrain located within a 15-min walk both from Saxon’s railway station and its historic centre. The site is directly adjacent to the major highway of the Rhône valley and the foot of the mountain range.
The search for the development morphology was based on the analysis of the adjacent areas, which include the following types: linear parcelling of agricultural land with vineyards and fruit gardens, traditional villas development, new large-scale industrial and public typologies and mountain slopes partially developed for housing or grape vine growing.
We have blended the features of these morphologies to formulate the principles for the spatial solution of the structure to ensure its seamless integration into the landscape. Hence, the development, in a way, continues the mountain slope, which gradually lowers down to the human scale along the line of the major transportation and pedestrian traffic. The undulating shapes provide views and insolation for each of the linear structures and maintain a visual dialogue with the winding paths on the mountain slopes. The high-density development is a landform with a public park on its roof and various types of vertical gardens.