We imagine buildings and landscapes which slightly confound, solemnly stand up to us, hold our attention and with intention create lasting value over a multitude of generations – both in an intellectual and in an extremely direct, basic, emotional sense. We believe this can be achieved through listening, and then a conscious balancing of at-first-glance apparent contradictions and jarring harmonies, levels of incompleteness, or overlapping fragments of not-so-obvious (even questionable) coherence – finally resulting in places of endearing, novel and meaningful relationships.
Guest Critic, TUM
27 July 2022, Invited by Prof. Uta Graff, TUM Munich, to discuss Masters students' projects at their final reviews, and to give a presentation of work afterwards ... Thanks for the apéro on the rooftop! @architecture.tum
Urban Housing, Baufeld 5, Voltanord, Basel, CH, 2021; 14,500 m², Competition; Architecture + Landscape: Atelier Amont & Marco Salina; Collaborator(s): Chen He
A series of slender, parallel volumes are linked together at lower levels by hedges and high, floating screens of pleached trees, leading to an ambiguity in urbanistic reading. The complex thereby forms a block, yet is also a repetition of singular bars – leading to improved sunlight and ventilation for all flats. As opposed to built mass, plant-life stands in to fulfil the spatial definition society requests, but is subversive to a degree, remaining porous at ground level.
Open Atelier, Architekturwoche
Happy to participate in the first Architekturwoche Basel 2022, Reale Räume, as part of the 'Open Office' format.
Wednesday, 11 May, 12:00–17:00, Open to the Public; Address: Atelier #10, Am Kesselhaus 13, Weil am Rhein, DE
*Independently, on Saturday, 14 May, from 17:00 onwards (after Open House Basel) we will also plan an apéro at the atelier, to which all are welcome.
'Two Projects Using Stone'
Lecture 31.03.2022, 12:15, S2 HSLU Technik & Architektur, Technikumstrasse 21, 6048 Horw Building IV, Niche F-Level
1) A fountain in Naoshima is built of river stones from Kyoto – chosen for their shape, size, and surface qualities; and as well, in turn – the specificity of their curves influence the overall character of the intervention. (Fountain in a Garden, Former Setouchi Governor’s Residence, Naoshima, Japan, 2010–11; in collaboration with Yoshinobu Aiba, Gardener)
2) A walled garden for production towards the summit of Monte Generoso visually forms a plinth for an impressive country house – neither a purely aristocratic type nor a peasant’s home without an overriding order. Our project, for the garden and respective massive walls, takes this history into account, regarding its detailed mode of construction. (Walled Garden, Former Country Residence of Arch. Simone Cantoni, Pianspessa, Ticino, Switzerland, ca. 2022–23; in collaboration with Roi Carrera, Architect & Roberto Guidotti, Engineer)
Writing, On Judith Chafee
A short annotation on a recent publication about the life and work of Judith Chafee, an architect who worked from and mostly within Arizona.
‘Fuck you Mr. Smith’, wrote a teenage Judith Chafee (1932–1998) to her principle upon graduating (she had discovered the board of her high school had revealed her religious origins to the universities she had applied to, which at that time had a limited quota for Jewish students – she was anyway eventually offered admittance to all the colleges she had hoped to potentially attend, but her anger apparently lingered) …
Gerresheim Cemetery, Düsseldorf, DE, 2022; 29,000 m²; Workshop Lead: Atelier Amont; Participants: Sibel Besir, Darcy Carroll, Shauneen Cavanagh, Christoph Grüter, Chen He, Matthew Lindsay, Francesca Masserdotti, Edoardo Reverberi, Giovanni Rinaldi, Dawid Roszkowski, Nikki Sedigh, Wilusty Tengara, Zhouyi Tu, & Meng Wang; Guests: Emilie Appercé, Matthew Bailey, Marianne Meister, Ioannis Piertzovanis, Joseph Redpath, Anna Staudt, Heinrich Toews, & Liviu Vasiu
Over a period of eight days in February 2022, we met for a workshop to discuss and reconsider basic aspects of cemeteries for the present day. Participants were assigned fragments to concentrate on – in some cases in relation to other colleagues’ proposals – and to develop their ideas through models. On the suggestion of Anna Staudt, a stonemason who is engaged in national seminars on the topic, we used, loosely, the Gerresheim Cemetery in Düsseldorf as a basis for our speculations.
Download a PDF documentation of the final works of the participants.
Anno Museum Extension, Hamar, Hedmarken, NO, 2021; 2,600 m²; Competition; Architecture: Atelier Amont & Atelier Guo; Collaborator(s): Chen He, Zhiwei Liu
Our proposal for an expansion to a museum, containing a restaurant and additional gallery spaces, is a compact, linear building (essentially the only option due to the strict confines of the program and boundary lines). It is a typical 'Janus-face', with disparate character along its respective, two long facades. The eastern edge towards the Storhamar barn is resolute and calm, seemingly massive behind a dematerialised wooden screen, while the opposite, facing the Mjøsa lake is vibrant and dynamic, seeking out independence, in its own unique attitude, turning away from the historic ensemble. The building is seemingly self-aware about the sensitive context it is situated within, but at the same time also regarding the intricacies of contemporary life.
Workshop, On Cemeteries
In February, we will gather to think about cemeteries; abstractly, and practically – in relation to the contemporary situation in Germany. With guests Emilie Appercé, Matthew Bailey, Marianne Meister, Ioannis Piertzovanis, Joseph Redpath, Anna Staudt, Heinrich Toews, & Liviu Vasiu.
For interest, please read the brief.
Many thanks to all the participants, from China, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Poland, Romania, Switzerland & UK: Sibel Besir, Darcy Carroll, Shauneen Cavanagh, Christoph Grüter, Chen He, Matthew Lindsay, Francesca Masserdotti, Edoardo Reverberi, Giovanni Rinaldi, Dawid Roszkowski, Nikki Sedigh, Wilusty Tengara, Zhouyi Tu & Meng Wang.
Courtyard for Cultural Events & Underground Parking, Schaffhausen, CH, 2021; 9,350 m², Competition; Architecture & Landscape: Atelier Amont; Collaborator(s): Luigi Fabozzi, Paolo Failla; Structure: wh-p Ingenieure AG; Traffic Planning: moveIng AG
The design for the Kammgarnhof creates a socially dynamic, multi-layered and ecologically rich complex for the surrounding urban environment of Schaffhausen. It is a place offering a range of activities for all age groups, but the boundaries of such are not clear – effectively overlapped to encourage an exchange between individuals. Its goal is to offer a festive, playful atmosphere, complementing and reinforcing the qualities of other public spaces of Schaffhausen such as the grandiose Herrenacker Platz, the contemplative Kloster Allerheiligen, or the park-like character of the Mosergarten.
Campus, Bernex, Geneva, CH, 2020; 42,600 m², Competition; Architecture: Atelier Amont & Gaëtan Iannone; Collaborator(s): Marc Sanchez Alfonso; Structure: Mitsuhiro Kanada, ARUP, Tokyo; Traffic Planning: CSD Engineers, Lausanne; Landscape: Atelier Amont & Studio Aster
Bernex, a village at the outer-edge of Geneva, requested a campus on a site bound by a highway access ramp which excluded the possibility of building near it, thereby limiting the usable area, and as well created significant noise pollution. On the other side of the ramp an urban agricultural park is currently being planned. We proposed to turn the disadvantage into a quality by placing a continuous cap over the ramp, and then constructing, out of timber, the main classroom building overhead. Columns and minimal cores on the ground floor allow porosity – connecting the campus with the adjacent, agricultural field. The campus in turn becomes a generous park in itself, with small pavilions containing facilities shared with the public – sports halls, a cafeteria, a library and a performing arts hall. A vision; a huge intervention – seemingly brutal, yet due to its existence, offers to society a serene, collective space.
A publication on Kasuien, 1958–60, the annex to the Miyako Hotel in Kyoto, designed by Togo Murano, is in preparation ...
Cabin, Am Trippelsberg, Itter, Düsseldorf, DE, 2020–ongoing; 10 m²; Architecture: Atelier Amont; Client: Private
A stonemason has a parcel of land at the Rhine on the outskirts of Düsseldorf where she stores extra stones, near her workshop; and plans on building a cabin to spend her midday break or weekends together with family. The cabin is thought to provide rich spatial depth, despite its relatively small size. Due to the means of openings, when one is seated on the back bench, the panels in front block the view of the sky, so concentration is focused exclusively on the flow of the river and the opposite bank – a nature preserve. This notion of filtering and contracting the conception of space is inspired by a similar framing device, at Koho-an (Kyoto) designed by Kobori Enshu in 1612.
Housing Quarter, Salzweg, Zürich, CH, 2020; 21,500 m², Competition; Architecture: Atelier Amont & Gaëtan Iannone; Collaborator(s): Marc Sanchez Alfonso; Landscape: Atelier Amont
At the edge of the city, at the edge of the site; a large area is left open to offer a semi-public park. The meandering bar clearly marks the border between the urban fabric and the agricultural fields before a forest, and is so articulated as to offer generous spatial qualities to residents. The garden is composed of medium to large trees with high, floating crowns, and terraced ground to provide flat areas for a variety of uses.
Artist Residences/Hotel, Orani, Sardinia, IT, 2021; 280 m², Competition; Architecture: Atelier Amont; Collaborator(s): Luigi Fabozzi, Paolo Failla; Client: Costantino Nivola Museum
A series of slabs, cast into the cliff face, slope down, granting shade and shedding off rain. The mountain and the roofs provide shelter guests need for a short time.
Urban Park & Nature Preserve, Quartier Volta Nord, Basel, CH, 2021; 22,200 m²; Competition; Landscape: Atelier Amont; Collaborator(s): Chiara Filippini
Along a thin plot, public "rooms" of various character of fauna and flora, humid/dry, are linked one after another with a threshold strip of a hilly nature preserve allocated adjacent to the railway lines. The project, emphatically, avoids romanticising historical attributes such as the lines of rails which until recently covered part of the site, but rather orients itself towards resolving the problems presented, while positing a place of joy for the future.
Lecture, Summer School Ticino
Invited to share work and thoughts about landscapes and public space with students at Summer School Ticino (HSLU & i2a), which took place within the impressive 'Fabbrica del Cioccolato', Dangio. Afterwards we discussed their project for the redesign of a small square consisting of a fountain and new paving in a neighboring village. Thanks to Ludovica Molo Könz, Roi Carrera, Mulan Sun Buschor & Daniel Fuchs for the experience.
House, Bessùde, Sassari, Sardinia, IT, 2019–ongoing; 90 m²; Architecture: Atelier Amont; Client: Private
A single family home is planned to be built directly at the street front, as the building regulations call for, in this historic village thirty kilometres from the western coast of Sardinia. Rather than a simple offset from the street, the proposal fills the entire plot and is generally oriented inwards to three “rooms” which are open to the sky. Space is confused and thereby expanded through a myriad of dynamic views from room to room, which have varying degrees of sunlight.
... I believe this concern keeps us active, pushes us on to create: the respect and esteem for existing artifacts of our ancestors, combined with a frustration arising from their inherent inability to not-quite-reflect our own, sincere values. Most likely it is this unease that we can rely on to always remain contemporary, in a traditional sense. To this end then, the myths of the Mediterranean seem to be one base (of many) we still have much to gain from; a strong potential for friction[..]
Rio Is Cungiaus
Urban Park, Quartucciu, Cagliari, Sardinia, IT, 2021; 32,400 m²; Competition; Architecture + Landscape: Atelier Amont, Stefano Dell‘Oro & Pierre Minio Paluello
The project consists of redefining and reconnecting various urban voids adjacent to the passage of a stream, creating a park with its own strength and identity. Nature becomes the founding and central event in the project to create a unique quality commonly perceived from all sides. A single architectural element, a pergola, unites and accompanies visitors on their journey, linking them in an ongoing dialogue with the land and its flora. One and the same element determines many aspects: pedestrian and cycle paths, bridges, playgrounds, sports & exercise areas.
Alterations to a Historic Public Garden, Klosterinsel, Rheinau, Zürich Canton, CH, 2021; 10,800 m²; Competition; Architecture + Landscape: Atelier Amont; Collaborator(s): Chen He
Seminar, What do we focus on now?
Invited to a seminar to present and discuss the contemporary focus and concerns of young European practices. Organized by Vector Architects (introduction) & Team Shichai (moderation). Participants included: 刘东洋 Dongyang Liu, 李兴钢 Xinggang Li, 董功 Gong Dong, 柳亦春 Yichun Liu, 张斌 Bin Zhang, 丁垚 Yao Ding, 冯江 Feng Jiang, 郭廖辉 Liaohui Guo, & others
Textile Museum Extension, St. Gallen, CH, 2020; 4,250 m²; Competition; Architecture: Atelier Amont, Gaëtan Iannone & David Moser; Consultants: Damian Fopp & Annina Meier, Curators, Museum Für Gestaltung, Zürich
The revered museum building by Gustav Gull is 'clothed' in a new, noble costume with the addition of an attic. The entire building is understood as a unity – the existing building and the extension are rendered in a monochrome blue. The loggia of the roof allows a view from the street up into the interior, similar to the lapel of a suit. A public loggia high above the street, with a view over the roofs of St. Gallen. The roof covers the glazed front, in the form of a colonnade, like a cloth. Under this roof is both the museum café and space for workshops or lectures. Several entrances lead from the blue loggia into a large exhibition hall. A simple box, the hall extends over the entire length of the building and its size complements a range of exhibition spaces. The height of the room and the fact that it is accessible via several entrances allow it to be used in a variety of ways.
Secondary School, Isengrind, Zürich-Affoltern, CH, 2020; 3,100 m²; Competition; Architecture: Atelier Amont & Gaëtan Iannone; Collaborator(s): Marc Sanchez Alfonso, Ayca Kapicioglu; Landscape: De Molfetta Strode; Structure: Lorenz Kocher
A garden is the heart of the institution, acting first as an exterior entrance hall and then as the backdrop as students move around it from room to room on a raised, covered walkway throughout the day. The filigrane wooden structure stands out from and complements the neighboring massive residential complexes, becoming a special "house for learning" in the midst of a lush garden. This can be read as a reinterpretation of the typological contrast a school building has had throughout history: in previous times, for example, in some areas of Switzerland a traditional school house might have been constructed of stone, on the top of a ridge or hill, while surrounded by lower wooden residential buildings.
House, La Scalitta, Trinità d'Agultu e Vignola, Sassari, Sardinia, IT, 2020–ongoing; 120 m²; Architecture: Atelier Amont; Client: Private
A courtyard is in its essence a compromise, a contradiction, an incision into the roof; an operation not without problems, but made with the intent of bringing light and air into the depths of a house. I imagine then the realisation of gardens within courtyards happened coincidentally at first, with birds dropping seeds into the earth – only later would people discover the benefits of caring for the micro-climates within them and their latent potential.
Small Apartments & Ateliers (Transformation of an Office Building), Kleinhüningen, Basel, CH, 2020; 4,150 m²; Competition; Architecture: Atelier Amont & Gaëtan Iannone; Collaborator(s): Zhiwei Liu
The existing structure with its serial character of columns and slabs has been preserved. Behind it is the huge Hafenbacken 1, mainly built of bricks and concrete, but with steel elements for technical aspects such as the gallery access. Our building, which has a unique character because it belongs to the industrial area, will now be part of the residential quarter on the other side of the river. It is, so to speak, part of both worlds and our proposal aims to reflect this dynamic.
Exhibition, Building Stories
Invited to present the process of a built work at Garagem Sul CCB, Lisbon, PT
'Building Stories' is an exhibition about what cannot be easily
perceived at first glance in architecture: an exhibition about how
architecture is produced and built. Building Stories is the
representation of an abstract landscape made up of architectural
fragments. Like a permanent construction site, it emphasises the
dimensions of the exhibition space as if it was a piece of land or a
contemporary industrial ruin where it is easy to imagine the cold smell
of fresh cement and the sound of heavy machinery. The intent is to
transcend the limits of the museum space and focus on architecture as a
Bei den Mühren
Movable Pavilion, Hamburg, DE, 2019–20 (Shown at various locations throughout Germany); 8 m²; Installation; Architecture: Atelier Amont
An homage to the dark entrance spaces of Japanese farmhouses, blackened from the smoke of cooking, (almost) dissolving into complete shadow, yet with a small amount of light seeping in from ventilation openings ... A seemingly endless overlay of filigrane, timber elements ... Creating qualities of light similar to that of looking out of the mouth of a cave, but here, strangely, from within a small, moveable pavilion ... A moveable cave ...
Community Hall, Münchwilen, Thurgau, CH, 2020; 1,250 m², Competition; Architecture: Atelier Amont & Gaëtan Iannone; Collaborator(s): Marc Sanchez Alfonso; Traffic Planning: CSD Engineers, Lausanne; Landscape: De Molfetta Strode
With the simple gesture of extending a roof and sunshades a substantial distance past the facade of the multi-purpose hall, a meaningful space is generated which allows for interaction with the park and sports fields. An existing barn, recommended by the program to be destroyed, is re-used for storage and warm-weather activities, and forms a gate with another new building containing after-school and communal facilities. Both are linked with a trellis of plants which becomes a pergola over the path towards the nearby river. Taken individually the three buildings appear banal, but through the serial repetition of columns at their facades (actually tension members in the case of the large hall building), the ensemble recalls a classic forum – a generous offer for the public.
Our interest in unresolved tensions appreciates the existing physical realm – it enjoys a dialogue with the potent and messy world around us, interacting with it in unexpected ways and willfully results in a contemporary statement on our human condition.
Winery and Dwelling (Transformation of a Farmhouse), Brusata di Novazzano, Ticino, CH, 2019–ongoing; 700 m²; Architecture: Atelier Amont; Collaborator(s): Stefano Dell‘Oro; Client: Private (Direct Commission); Structure: Enrico Pellegrini (Stabio)
Garden, Riehen, Basel, CH, 2018; 2,200 m²; Study; Landscape: Atelier Amont; Client: Private
A transformation of a garden around an existing villa from the 1930s. The proposal contains two disparate realms, but developed with regard to each other, forming a meaningful unity. An upper portion is light-filled and enjoyed from a pavilion at the top of a slope, where the clients spend time dining with family or guests while looking down on shrubs pruned in cloud-like formations rising as the topography descends. The lower portion is at the bottom of the same slope, under the respective shrubs which gradually become higher at the back of the plot – creating a hidden, dark, shady world for walking alone or seeking introspection seated next to a quiet pool of water. One unique garden, like a body, offers the potential to satisfy desires for both convivial enjoyment and solitude.
Plants clean the air, provide shade, create food, and as well often simply provide, by chance, a place to lean against. Watching their foliage sway in the wind can induce a deep state of calm meditation. In a garden, plants more or less accommodate our wishes by growing where we ask them to, as long as we respect their basic needs – collaborating with us in creating the defined space we dream of.
Exhibition, Dialogue Japan/Europe
Invited to design an installation for a group exhibition about Japanese influence on European architects. Participating offices: Arrhov Frick, Atelier Amont, Eagles of Architecture, Fala Atelier, Frundgallina, Kawahara Krause, NKBAK, Studio Maks, Studio Spazio, UNULAUNU. 'Dialoge Japan : Europa' curated by AIT and Nils Rostek (Kollektiv A). The exhibition takes place at the ArchitekturSalon Munich, and from there moves on to Hamburg and other locations.
Fountain in a Garden, Former Setouchi Governor’s Residence, Setouchi, JP, 2010–11; 35 m²; Landscape: Atelier Amont & Yoshinobu Aiba; Client: Private (Direct Commission)
A fountain in Naoshima is constructed of river stones from Kyoto, where we were based and could be transported in a single load – chosen for their shape, size, and surface; and as well, in turn – the specificity of their curves influence the overall character of the intervention. The reaction to water is always present, as the stones are both above and under water – fish also sometimes splash drops onto higher dry areas. Water is held both below and above ground. Finishing mortar is dyed with calligraphy ink to create a homogeneous body.
House, Monti Russu, Rena Majore, Sassari, Sardinia, IT, 2017; 110 m²; Study; Architecture: Atelier Amont; Client: Private
This house is on a narrow peninsula jutting out into the sea on the northern coast of Sardinia. It therefore has two faces, that to each side of the water. A column is nearly in the center of each of these faces, marking out a point for domesticity within the wild, rocky landscape around. Two wooden rooms hang from a concrete structure, one for sleeping, the other for work, where the client prefers to concentrate, in privacy. They are like caves, but are light and suspended. A pool on the roof is accessed from stairs within a central core, which also contains the bathroom and a place for cooking on an open fire.
Lecture, Montagsreihe, TUM
Die Vortragsreihe »N E U B A U T E N« der Fakultät für Architektur an der TU München bringt Studenten und Architekturinteressierten zehn junge aufstrebende Architekturbüros aus unterschiedlichsten Teilen Europas näher und setzt sich mit ihren Ideen und Arbeiten auseinander.
Courtyard Garden, Hotel, Todos Santos, La Paz, Baja California Sur, MX, 2019; 12,650 m²; Invited Competition; Landscape: Atelier Amont
Summer Pavilion, Hasselt, Limburg, BE, 2013–2014; 85 m²; Open International Competition, 1st Prize; Architecture: Atelier Amont; Collaborator(s): Liaohui Guo (Project Architect), James Jamison, Taiko Amont; Client: z33 House for Contemporary Art; Furniture: Elmar Heimbach; Structure: Robrecht Keersmaekers
Community Centre, Tamil Nadu, IN, 2003; 80 m²; Architecture: Atelier Amont; Collaborator(s): Taiko Amont, James Jamison; Client: Appirampattu Village
Arriving in the vibrant world of south-east India, after a few weeks, bored working only at a desk, I quit my first internship. Desiring to build somehow, I raised money for materials, and with the help of an NGO, found a nearby village which wished to have a community centre. The residents contributed labor – some were trained masons – hence rammed earth foundations and compacted earth blocks were chosen to suit their experience. While struggling with the design (was it enough?), in a local newspaper (I have no idea why?) I read a speech by Luis Barragán (whose work I did not yet know at that time) – there were no images of his work, just the text ... and it was an epiphany.
… We need something to symbolise our lives. In a world in which everything has turned into interchangeable parts, a person wants to cry out, 'Yes, here I am!', and so proclaim that we live in the space between life and death. (Yoshizaka Takamasa, 1967)