Elmiger architects | Ennetbürgen


Project: Developing Ennetbürgen’s town centre
Brief info: New town centre with residential building
Location: Ennetbürgen, Nidwalden
Client: Genossenkorporation Ennetbürgen
Realization: Invited competition 2015, 4th prize

Over the years, the centre of Ennetbürgen has been divided by an increase in traffic through the village, as well as by building projects that broke up the original continuity of development along the main road. Nowadays Ennetbürgen’s centre can only be perceived as a series of fragments. It is not, however, quality of building and spatial character that is lacking, but rather a means of recognising and experiencing the different spatial qualities present in the village.
To enable these existing qualities to be perceived, and to bring them together as a new village centre, they first have to be named, understood, and further developed. The proposed concept develops the character of the central zone of Ennetbürgen as a series of linked public spaces with different characteristics. These diverse public spaces are defined and allowed to develop their own particular importance for different uses and different users.
The new village square is defined by three formal elements that create a new stage for village life in all its various forms: a translucent roof provides shelter from the elements and acts as a focal point for new uses, a 22m long bench invites people to stop and linger, the village fountain provides a place to cool down on hot days. Existing pedestrian routes through the village centre are retained and improved; new routes are added that link new spaces and uses with existing.
The clear geometry of the proposed buildings, as well as their orientation, creates a definite connection to Buochserstrasse and builds a relationship with the buildings on its opposite side. The public space across the road is perceived spatially as a continuation of the new village square, with these existing buildings acting as the new square’s second defining facade. In this way existing public uses on the other side of Buochserstrasse – Gemeindesaal, Restaurant Sternen, bank – are drawn into relation with the proposed new buildings and new uses.
New chestnut trees planted along Buochserstrasse act as a reminder of the chestnut trees which lined this street in the past.

In collaboration with Unit Architects, Hergiswil
Landscape architecture by Goldrand Zürich