ASP Landscape Architects: Reclaiming the streets of a village dominated by traffic by the means of landscape architecture: That was the basic task in designing a new centre for Ebikon near Lucerne. Despite its attractive location amidst a picturesque hilly landscape by the lake „Rotsee“, Ebikon appeared to be designed for transit: Suburban structures like large shopping malls and overdimensioned streets had devoured rural charm and most of the man-size structures. Life seemed to be passing through on the linear main road. Looking for enlivenment and a new identity for Ebikon, a study of various urbanistic concepts led to the idea of a centre of the line. A new square in front of the new townhall has become the car-free public meeting point within the agglomeration village. In the eye of the traffic storm lies a nucleus accomodating and encouraging public life.
The design of the square itself becomes specific by referring to Ebikon’s landmark and emblem: The Lake „Rotsee“. Set back a bit in order to shield the public square from traffic, lie three green islands within a patch of greenish gravel: Alders, typical bank-side-trees, surrounded by riparian plants like iris and sedges stand in amorphous wooden bases resembling – though abstract and oversized – the sturdy root bales of alders, washed out of the ground by the water und thus elevated nearly stilt-like. The sculptural design of the custom wooden containers emanate urban naturalness: They might have sprouted out of the squares’ ground rather than having been brought there by heavy machines. The three green islands offer seating, shade and space as well as a hint of lakeside-atmosphere to visitors.
The principle of the amorphous wooden forms is repeated in varied forms on the entire square. Smaller pots in the same workmanship, planted with flowering shrubs, are placed in front of the adjacent facades. Similar, but even smaller wooden cubes without plants procure creative seating and playing facilities all over the square.
A tree row along the road, opening up in front of the square, makes the new village centre visible to the motorised traffic – the gap in the trees becomes the urban landmark to emphasize the centre of a line.
Location: Ebikon, Switzerland
Client: Municipality of Ebikon, Denner staff pension fund
Landscape Architecture: ASP Landscape Architects -Project from the collaboration of K. Hartmann and F. Seibold
Architecture: Hornberger Architekten AG (Zurich, CH)
Woodwork: Thomas Roesler, Markdorf (D)
Main contractor: Halter Generalunternehmung (Zurich, CH)