Gotthard Alp Transit visitor center

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The Gotthard AlpTransit Visitor Center in Pollegio is the first of two buildings, which will stand at the two entrances of the Gotthard railway tunnel. These two buildings will be a token of the significance and the complexity of the construction of this railway tunnel in the advancing twenty-first century.

More than a simple exhibition space, the buildings will offer visitors an experience of the materiality of distance. In that sense, the Visitor Center in Pollegio is more a transposition of matter into experience, rather than an exposition about matter. Visitors are not only shown the materiality of distance, but they actually enter that matter through which the tunnel is dug; they can feel its mass, its power, and the forces at work in the construction of the tunnel.

The outer structure of the Visitor Center is built with the material excavated from the mountain. Millions of pieces of gneiss—the rock out of which the mountain is made—of 100 to 150 mm in diameter are lumped together in big steel nets to form two huge basket-like blocks. These two blocks create the impression of spaciousness of the Center even as they render the astounding materiality of space. The main rooms of the Center are distributed on two levels suspended on a steel structure anchored in the blocks. Glass walls suspended on that structure create a visually and sensorial independent unit; they also contribute to regulating the temperature inside the building. Service rooms, such as lavatories or storage spaces, are of massive reinforced concrete; they are either concealed by the blocks, or they run through the latter like tunnels.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />

In addition to the Visitor Center itself, the building also hosts an exhibition area, a shopping area, a restaurant and a conference center. Permanent and temporary exhibits about the construction of the tunnel will then be organized there.

A project by: bauzeit architekten Architecture

Type     Cultural; Public; Tourism
Location :    Infocentro Gottardo Sud SA, Pollegio, 6742, Switzerland
Client:     Alp Transit Gotthard AG
Building status:     built in 2003
Site size:     2500 m2
Site type :    other
Building area:     2656 m2
Budget total :    10500000 USD

  • Source:  bauzeit architekten Architecture/
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