Lapo Ruffi, Vanessa Giandonati, Antonio Monaci, Lorenzo Santini have shared with us their winning project for EUROPAN 10 where they aimed to create an attractive density and an urban centrality while integrating with the surrounding landscape in the city of Montreux, Switzerland. They successfully generated an uninterrupted urban pattern with multi-functional environments as they break away from the twentieth century design principles of urban planning. Europan is a biennial competition for young emerging architects who are looking for innovative housing solutions across Europe. By incorporating social and economic variables for their designated city, their projects become a more holistic architectural experience. More images and architect’s description after the break.
The objective of a new attractive density inside the residential area of Montreux and the possibility of building an urban centrality represent the guidelines of this project while determining its key points: the origin of a system of structures able to dialog amongst themselves while spilling over into the landscape. They are a network of connections, like a transposition, with fibers denser than those of historic paths. They become a web of fluxes and the creation of a diffused system of public shared spaces among the residences, the system of connections and the territory.
In connection with debates on the opportunity of a reasoned urban density, in opposition to the “twentieth century” planning system, the new buildings design an urban layout along weaving lines. They are like synapses of living, where the term synapse goes back to its original meaning from the Greek συναπτειν (synàptein), composed of συν (with) and απτειν (touch), or better “connect”: continuous communication among the parts of the same system. The project of this fragment of city, in relationship to the village realities (Chailly and Clarens first of all) was developed through the genesis of 25 green cells, like a multiplicity of shared elements that are empty areas between the structures: like splines equipped as playgrounds with pétanque grounds as socialization areas, commercial squares and social green areas. These urban places have the task of regenerating the concept of roads and public squares in the interest of presenting themselves to the inhabitant again who becomes the first actor on the social stage of the city.
The eleven residential structures, architectures of the triplicity of form, figure with three “faces” on the place, are balanced on a common ground floor, with activities serving the residences and the neighborhood. The multiplicity of the typologies (permanent living, economic living, protected living, temporary living) allows the attainment of that flexibility and social mixité necessary for a new vision of living where the risk of a mute aggregate is avoided. Architect: Lapo Ruffi, Vanessa Giandonati, Antonio Monaci, Lorenzo Santini Collaborators: Benedetta Agostini, Francesca Nesi, Ilaria Rauty Location: Montreux, Switzerland Project name: Synapsiedlung Result: first prize Year: 2009 Competition name: Europan 10 Inventing urbanity: regeneration, revitalization, colonization Promotional organization: Europan europe Client: Municipality of Montreux (CH) Site area: 25.566 mq