Training Center Roche Forum

The uniquely beautiful landscape of the Buonas peninsula site on the Lake of Zug was the point of departure for the architectonic concept. The strongly undulating terrain, patches of forest, stretches of pasture, single trees and two rural roads characterize the place foreseen for the new building—the scenic space surrounding the castle on the outermost portion of the peninsula. The design interprets and accents the rural characteristics of the place.

The siting of the building volumes on the land establishes a relationship between the same while simultaneously setting them apart. In their distribution and form they remind one of giant boulders in the landscape. The largest volume, the actual training center, is shifted to the southern edge of the gully, with a portion of its functions facing the ridge towards the lake. Both of the smaller volumes, the guest quarters, lie on the northern and western edges of the site. Smaller aboveground cubical volumes form the garage entrance and sporadic elements for lighting and ventilation. The garage itself is akin to a giant drift boulder placed into the terrain.

The form of the building—rectangles distorted into irregular polygons—allows the volumes to be adapted to the complex formations of the terrain. Intriguing interstitial spaces, halls, work areas and foyers are formed within the buildings by virtue of slight deviations from the right angle. The roof surfaces, tilted and folded for water drainage, re-form the cubes into irregular polyhedrons in the third dimension, as well.

The materiality of the new buildings is consequently stone-like. Like the exterior walls, the roof surfaces are made with two-layered concrete. Layers of concrete are poured that are "colored" with varying types of sands and gravels as "sediment-like" stratum in various thicknesses, allowing the process of pouring the concrete to become manifest. Primarily horizontal windows, at times irregular and at times regular in their placement, underscore the concept of the horizontal layering of the buildings. An exterior, slightly tinted glass used as a sliding window produces a first level of sun protection reminiscent of sunglasses. An inner sliding window takes over the insulating functions.

The access drives to the training center and the pedestrian paths between the buildings still maintain the characteristics of rural roads or garden paths—the roads are made with chip stone asphalt and the paths with gravel. The surroundings, the patches of forest, the stretches of pasture and the singular trees remain untouched. At the place where the parking garage is inserted into the ground of the gully, a slight embankment and leveling-out of the lowest point is to be made, generating a new kind, albeit artificial now, of small wetland. Birch trees, with their lateral root growth, are placed upon the underground, earth-covered building element and will grow with time into an airy grove of trees.

Location Buonas, Switzerland

Competition 1999

Competition Organzier F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG, Basel

Team G/G Pascal Müller, Caspar Bresch, Christian Meyer

Landscape Architecture Zulauf Seippel Schweingruber, Baden

Structural Engineer Conzett, Bronzini, Gartmann AG, Chur

Electrical Engineer Elkom Partner AG, Chur

Building Services Engineer Waldhauser Haustechnik AG, Münchenstein