Schwyz Administration and Security Complex
Client: Building Department Canton Schwyz
Place: Kaltbach, Schwyz, Switzerland
Date: 2022 Competition
Area: 17231 m2
Budget: CHF 80 mio
Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Maider Llaguno-Munitxa, Ivaylo Nachev, Miguel Bello, Eleonora D’Agostino
Daniel Jauslin, Daphne Keegstra, Niccolo Centrone
Our proposal aims to make a complex that follows the pattern of the surrounding land use texture, made by self-standing volumes adjusting to the strong local topography. The complex is conceived as a collection of different buildings for the different programs, forming a small campus. The buildings have been located in a chequered scheme, leaving always public spaces in between them.
Buildings in the Campus will respond to a consistent approach. All the buildings are based on rectangular plans with rounded corners, to minimize the envelope ratios, but also to reduce the visual impact of the volumes and optimize the flow of fresh air through the campus. Like the stones in the rivers, or the dew drops on the leaves, rounded forms are functional in the Alpine environment. They have no corners, they do not interrupt the flows of nature.
The construction system of the complex aims to be an update of the vernacular architecture in the Alps. Wood construction is an immediate reference to the local constructive traditions in the Schwyz region, and it helps reducing carbon emissions. It is, in fact, a carbon sink.
The buildings refer to the vernacular architectural traditions: rotund, compact massing, pitch roofs and pronounced eaves are an embodiment of an optimized symbiosis between the architecture and the local climate and topography. Compactness is one of the qualities of the vernacular architecture in the harsh Alpine climate: reducing the envelope ratios will minimize heat loss and reduce costs. Pitch roofs and pronounces eaves shield the facades from solar exposure, snow, and wind-driven rain.
All the surfaces on the sloped roofs and the façade spandrels will be covered with solar tiles, capable to adjust solar collection technology to the pliant forms of the building envelopes. The sloping upwards of the spandrel surfaces that will produce a “pattern of eaves” on the facades will also improve the performance of the solar collection tiles by pointing them to the sky, making them more capable to collect the diffuse solar radiation falling on all faces of the buildings.