The Fallen Monuments of Egerkingen
Urban Development of a typical logistics landscape area
As a 21st century manifestation of Koolhaas’ Automonument, the logistics warehouse does not represent an abstract ideal or an institution of importance. Through its sheer volume, is simply a symbol for itself. This project intervenes to add a 'base' and 'crown' to each of Egerkingen’s boxes, thereby giving each building a characteristic expression.
The Swiss Mittelland is, as other similar areas in Europe, the place where new urban realities are emerging. The area is one of the Swiss regions that has been affected by an extremely rapid growth over the past 50 years, becoming in the process a classic example of continuous urban sprawl. The proposed task of the Master Thesis is to envision an urban design project that allows for future development in a selected project area in Egerkingen. The students are invited to experiment with alternative urban-rural paradigms and address the development of urban qualities for (what is still largely viewed as) a village colliding with built structures designed for logistics, industry and shopping.
The image of highways lined with massive logistics warehouses is characteristic of the Swiss Mittelland—and the town Egerkingen is no exception. These extremely long, horizontal façades create a strong association with the high, vertical facades of American high-rise buildings. Like the skyscraper of Manhattan, the prostrate box of Egerkingen breaks with the conventions of symbolism for monuments. As a 21st century manifestation of Koolhaas’ Automonument, the logistics warehouse does not represent an abstract ideal or an institution of particular importance; it is not an articulation of social hierarchy. The logistics box, through its sheer volume, is simply a symbol for itself. While both the skyscraper and warehouse are primarily economic phenomena, the tower has an applied architectural order that produces distinction between one and the next. This project intervenes to add a ‘base’ and ‘crown’ to each of Egerkingen’s warehouses, thereby giving each building a characteristic expression and a singular relationship to its context. The added housing and working spaces bring new protagonists to the area, which is now dominated by trucks and cars. As only the leftover spaces are occupied with new interventions, the logistics world can continue to operate as before. Just on the peak of the buildings, the fall of the monument has left its marks. The asphalt pavement is broken and a bit of green space is given back to the functional world of the logistics halls.