In this project we examined two fundamental questions: firstly: how can an element of the urban infrastructure that is a protected monument be programmed so that it forms an integral part of the urban system? And secondly: in Switzerland today, given the dense jungle of regulations and increasingly stringent demands in the areas of energy, hygiene and fire safety, how can we still build economically? The viaduct is more than just a bridge. Like a mountain range erected by human hand, in the city it assumes the scale of an element of the landscape or topography. Originally used as a railway line this infrastructure element was to be made into a linear park to form part of a cultural, work and leisure ‘mile‘. Alongside shops and workshops, social facilities, restaurants and a market hall were also called for. This reprogramming of the viaduct sparked off two decisive urban impulses: on the one hand what was once a spatial barrier became a connecting structure, while on the other the outdoor spaces adjoining it were upgraded. The viaduct became a large-scale networking machine and linear building. We saw this ambivalence as a fundamental quality and used it as an architectural leitmotif in order to symbiotically connect the new functions with the structure of the viaduct. The characteristic Cyclopean masonry here remains the central atmospheric element. The new structures are deliberately restrained so as to emphasise the existing arches. To fit-out the interiors the future users can choose from a kit of elements offered them or they can design the spaces themselves.

source: EM2N