Authors : Alexander Hertel, Christopher Tan

University : École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne

Status : BArch, 2012

Advisors : Dieter Dietz, Harry Gugger, Laurent Stalder

Title : Peter

The precedent for this project is The Heidi Trilogy– a textual analysis and a pursuit to recognize the tools for interpreting Swiss territory. The ensuing project, accordingly titled Peter, is a theoretical answer in the form of an architectural venture – launching us into the future of Swiss territorial conception where we may fulfill the potential for sustainable and durable growth.

The genesis of this project stems from the Swissmetro hypothesis. The execution of this system would promote the leading junctions of Switzerland as transit nodes, generating a significant contrast between constructed and natural environments. In targeting the city’s capacity for density rather than promoting urban sprawl, Peter proposes the first realization of Nieth’s Swissmetro hypothesis through the establishment of a metro station in one of the six transit nodes. Strategically, in both economic and practical senses, we propose the  location for the first case study to be located in Zurich.

The city of Zurich is in many ways imprisoned by its location – the lake and the neighboring agglomerations restrict its urban growth. Comparable master plans are in progress and the city is currently undergoing substantial densification. But the necessity for vertical growth is not only to redefine the Swiss skyline – it is also to forge a new domain by penetrating underground. The ruthless conquering of ground is demonstrated through the stunning project of Jean-Pierre Dürig in the subterranean expansion of the Zurich Central Station.

The location proposed for Peter originally served as a military exercise facility, and is now a provisional prison. The site is the ideal location to generate a composite that welds the public with the private -free and controlled space- in creating a scheme of extreme efficiency.

Peter investigates the potential for an architectural engagement of verticality– a showdown between depth or ground, and the limits of the sky. The project manipulates several levels and intensities of Urbanity to form and extend the city. The project is divided into programmatic strips that operate engineered accidents that enhance the autonomous urban character, prey to a future history. Structurally, Peter may be read as several interdependent entities functioning coherently, forming an integral urban segment. It is a technical complex dealing collectively with accessibility, circulation, service and stability, manifesting in an architecture which forms a cohesive composite.

As a Hypercomposite, Peter forms a meeting place for the people of Zurich and Switzerland. An urban generator, a territorial node and a symbol of Swiss mobility, Peter becomes the prototype for the metropolitan future of Switzerland.