LILA 2024 — Call for entries now open!

Switzerland

    • The Park of Encounters is a complex design that deals with the public use of a once-army base. Built by the Nazi regime in 1937 and taken over by Allied forces after the war, Campbell Barracks later served as NATO HQ for Europe, which closed in the mid-2010s. Decades of army use left a palimpsest of traces that were waiting to be reinterpreted. 
The jury recognises how difficult and yet successful it was to redesign this army-charged site with 'respectful lightness' and a 'slight twist of humour' as if the designers wanted to decompress the site and add play in a witty, nearly mischievous way. That is evident, for example, in a stripe of play elements that run through the entrance checkpoint, emphasising its disuse, or colouring and displacing the found artefacts from the 1970s. In a different configuration, stripped of their original use, these artefacts represent the retreat of control, repression and are abstracted into new constellations, provoking new interpretations and ways of interaction. 
The jurors appreciated this underlying attitude, also resulting in elegant and much more subtle means of change, for example, mixing and shredding of the existing pavements and using them anew. The material/colour palette is exceptionally well thought-through; it communicates the different layers of the site's palimpsest and connects different parts into a coherent whole.
      The project is a poetic response to a palimpsest of natural and human-driven processes that shaped the site. One physical corpus was made by two different forces. The narrative states that the general perception of the artificial hill and the surrounding forest is a natural environment. They call it pseudo-nature.
Abstractly, it works because of the contrast between open and closed spaces, namely, an artificial forest with a forest ring and a clearing. The top of the hill is a small circular viewing platform made of polished concrete which references the geological structure of the moraine below the top of the hill. The viewing disc features fog-jets that produce an artificial cloud which acts as a poetic reference to flying, to being in the sky, to touching the sky. Entering the artificial cloud acts as a reference to moving through clouds when travelling by plane.
Beside the forest ring, the remaining forest area appears almost untouched, as it is under a nature conservation plan. Hence, maintenance is used as means of design. The project exposes many contradictions in our understanding of what is natural and what is artificial. It also provides a series of poetic ambiences and playful experiences on the hilltop.
      The Sechseläutenplatz (Sechseläuten Square) is part of the overall project 'Opera House, Opera Parking and Sechseläuten Square' whose aim it is to enhance the public space between the Bellevue and the Opera House. The basis for the transformation of the former Sechseläuten Ground to the Sechseläuten Square was the political decision to replace the parking space in front of the Opera House by an underground parking.
      The Park of Encounters is a complex design that deals with the public use of a once-army base. Built by the Nazi regime in 1937 and taken over by Allied forces after the war, Campbell Barracks later served as NATO HQ for Europe, which closed in the mid-2010s. Decades of army use left a palimpsest of traces that were waiting to be reinterpreted. 
The jury recognises how difficult and yet successful it was to redesign this army-charged site with 'respectful lightness' and a 'slight twist of humour' as if the designers wanted to decompress the site and add play in a witty, nearly mischievous way. That is evident, for example, in a stripe of play elements that run through the entrance checkpoint, emphasising its disuse, or colouring and displacing the found artefacts from the 1970s. In a different configuration, stripped of their original use, these artefacts represent the retreat of control, repression and are abstracted into new constellations, provoking new interpretations and ways of interaction. 
The jurors appreciated this underlying attitude, also resulting in elegant and much more subtle means of change, for example, mixing and shredding of the existing pavements and using them anew. The material/colour palette is exceptionally well thought-through; it communicates the different layers of the site's palimpsest and connects different parts into a coherent whole.
      The project answers questions related to reintroducing nature into artificial landscape and dealing with landscape in rural-urban fringes. It reactivates the old river channel for visitors, masterfully combining new modest elements and simple structures into a powerful experience. The most poetic element is the grid of sand – a platform for the river – a natural force that expresses itself through decomposition. Designed as a ruin, the project is the process; full of play between the grid and the river, man and nature. Renaturalisation is not brought in by force; it occurs. One can imagine the river entering the grid for the first time, like an animal released from captivity, figuring out which way to go and where to settle. The power of this work lies in its honesty, taking us to a much deeper thinking about the relation between man and nature in the age of the Anthropocene.
      Parks are often referred to as 'lungs of the city' since they improve micro climatic conditions. We can probably say the same for squares and the experience of a city. This is the case for Plainpalais square in Geneva. It's a multifunctional open space that hosts various activities from fairs, flee market to festivals. It means a vibrant and dynamic space of opportunities and change of use. It's especially beautiful when it's empty, offering a kind of catharsis by freeing the beautiful red surface crossed by asphalt paths and surrounded by trees of various heights. The square also offers skate park, seating and a small park like structure. Round benches and open design suggest the multifunctional nature of the square.

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