Wall consists of an elevated marketplace arcade and apartments for approximately 200 people in Bern, Switzerland. Designed on the site of the Schindler Award 2012 competition, Wall sits at the very edge of the city center, on a site surrounded by infrastructure. Wall becomes the newest addition to the medieval city,continuing Bern’s ever-expanding series of fortifications. Additionally, Wall is an elevated arcade, spilling out from the famous arcaded streets of the city.
Wall takes the form of a kinked bar, bookended by articulated towers containing vertical circulation which connect the city of Bern with the public walkways along the river far below. Wall also acts as a gateway to the city, as all trains coming into the city pass directly next to the building, which first blocks and then frames a view of the old city center before trains enter the main station.
Elevated above ground level to allow access to the historic Reitschule next to the site, Wall contains a series of elevated pedestrian streets. The second and third floors are the main arcaded street, lined with double height storefronts. This street can be opened to the outdoors during the summer and enclosed with glazed panels during the cold Swiss winter. The fourth floor is an exterior circulation path and terrace containing public community gardens modeled off those common in Switzerland, which span the elevated railway system bordering the site. Floors five through ten are residential apartments, with floors six and nine acting as circulation to access the apartments. Finally, the roof is a public garden and circulation path.
Apartments consist of one, two,or three bedroom units, each with a double level plan. Entering a unit off the public circulation route, one finds a small entry space and private study spaces with accompanying balconies. Moving either up or down a level depending on the unit, one enters the main living and dining space, always with an East-facing terrace looking through the buildings screen-like facade. Bedrooms line the West-facing facade in all units to allow for a uniform treatment of the facade.
All of the circulation within Wall occurs along the East side of the building, facing towards the city center. These circulation paths are mostly outdoors, and occur behind a facade screen system of two layers of small dimension vertical wood slats, which create a uniform facade when viewed from a distance and appear to undulate when viewed from a car driving past the site.
Switzerland Traveling Studio
Professors A. Ovaska, M. Santos-Munne