The young architecture firm of SM-arch has recently won a architectural competition for their Multigenerational building proposal in Gland, Switzerland. They are now engaged with the municipality for the execution of the project. Additional images and a brief narrative from the architects after the break.
The city of Gland asked for a building integrating activities for different age-groups, in order to enhance inter-generational exchanges and ensure a continuous use throughout the day. The program required apartments for young and aged people, a nursery school, a multifunctional hall and an infirmary.
The building faces the challenge posed by the shape and orientation of the lot, by communicating on its shorter front with the volume of the existing buildings opposite to it, and on its longer fronts with the scale of the landscape thus opening itself to the countryside. The interest in the relations with the context together with the intention to integrate urban and territorial dimensions, in fact, originated the project.
Our seeking interior-exterior continuity and permeability led the process and generated the idea of organizing the housing units around a distribution system, thought of as a single collective space for circulation and meeting, an internal path, metaphor for urban space. Our choice to act on the volume by bending and excavating it, derived from our intent of refusing to blend with the shapes of the existing buildings, namely the model of colonial house common and still in use in the area; thus asserting the possibility to express by contemporary shapes our personal reading of the site.
The work started from an elementary solid to end with the abolition of the traditional distinction between roof and volume of the building. The housing units fit one into the other in a multiplicity of combination that allows each level to articulate circulation either along the flanks of the building or towards the center of it, thus letting the light in vertically over the path through big perpendicular voids. The external surface covers the body like a skin.
At the ground floor we look for continuity with the surroundings, through an accessibility study and the transparency of the nursery school volume opening itself over the garden and thus establishing the permeability with the exterior. The nursery school itself is thought of as a continuum where the spaces designed by age-groups can be used separately or combined in a big common one for collective activities. The garden, extension of the nursery school, becomes the place for a variety of perceptive, tactile, visual, hearing experiences: the soft, the hard, the dump, the dry, the sound of bamboo, the color of leaves changing along with seasons, together with the shape of deciduous trees foliage.
SM-Arch is: Maria Flaccavento, Salvatore Ingrao, Vania Santangelo, Serafino Sgarlata