dévoiler’ The different layers of the landscape at Attisholz Süd, Luterbach

 ‘dévoiler’ – the competition’s code word – sums up the project proposal for the new riverside park along the river Aare: The aim of the design is to reveal the different levels of this landscape and to overlay history and future to create something uniquely new. 

The captivating beauty of the site, shaped as much by the correction of the Jura waters as by its ongoing industrial history, must be preserved as much as possible and revealed as far as possible by incorporating today’s demands for use. Thus, the design does not only seek a specific approach to the special characteristics of the site from an aesthetic point of view. Inspired by the clever pragmatism of the surrounding industrial buildings, we develop an intervention strategy: We shall only transform the existing situation where there is a functional need. The required programme (revitalisation of the Aare and the Späckgraben, drainage of the plots at the rear, bicycle path) is the engine generating the design. Along the length of the site, the Promenade, the ‘Parksaum’ and the revitalisation of the Aare refer to the linearity of the site, while the lateral forces create the ‘Fenêtres’ that open Vedute on the water. This few targeted interventions, overlaid onto the existing structure, create new and different spatial references ranging from the Jura to the Alps. 

The central square, the ‘Attisholzplatz’ interfaces south and north. Its design is inspired by the industrial buildings of the northern site with their concrete structures. Prefabricated elements structure and scale the place and function as drainage channels. Generous seating steps lead down to the water. 

Within this territorial scale, the ‘Parksaum’ defines the southern boundary of the park. It responds to the different adjacent territories and, by means of the choice of tree species, addresses the site’s historical landscape levels. Populus stays for the typical plantations along the melioration of the Jura-waters and in industrial areas, alnus cites the fluvial history of the site, the pro-specie-rara-fruiter its agriculture layer, while the sorbus narrates the sites forest past and feeds the birds of the protected area. As third façade of the ‘Attisholzplatz’ a grove of gingko symbolizes the transformation of this site and refers to the typology of the Arboretum. 

Dealing with the heritage of these levels involved intense debates. Eventually, we were able to achieve that the former factory cafeteria would become the new restaurant on the Attisholzplatz. Moreover, the former sewage treatment plant, an important witness of the era of the cellulose factory, with its strong spatial structure, would also become an interactive, formative element of the park. By perforating the concrete pools, this fascinating structure became a sculpture, that can be discovered. Some of the chambers are orchestrated while others are act as frames for all kind of uses. 

The Attisholz Süd riverside park provides a possible answer to the question regarding the contemporary shape of this type of cultural landscape between former and future industrial areas, between nature conservancy and pressure from recreational needs, and between infrastructural and ecological connections. In an exemplary way, the park embeds this ‘classic’ typology in a new context, translating it into a scale between park and landscape. The degree of visible design in interplay with familiar landscape images has been carefully calibrated.

The recently completed project may be read as a constructed hypothesis in the sense of Corboz’ Palimpsest – a contemporary park in a semi-urban context, allowing for the natural coexistence of humans, flora and fauna, where multi-layered structures and identities are transformed into a new whole. 

G&Z Architektur AG, ruse of the former factory cafeteria in a new restaurant

Site management: Jacques Mennel

Project location (For publicly accessible projects please include exact address. For Private gardens place write Country or State):

Fabrikstrasse 1, CH-4542 Luterbach SO, Switzerland

Design year: 2016 – 2019

Year Built: 2019


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