FOCKETYN DEL RIO (currently MIDERI ARCHITEKTEN and Hans Focketyn Architects) were invited in 2019 to participate in the rethinking of KIFF Aarau. The organisation is an internationally renowned cultural center in Switzerland that will expand into a new building with two venues connected to a restaurant as music program and ateliers, offices, rehearsal spaces and a radio station as public activities: a varied and lively program that would keep the building active at all times with an interesting music program and other cultural events.

Project name: Kiff 2.0
Authors: FOCKETYN DEL RIO (currently MIDERI ARCHITEKTEN and Hans Focketyn Architects)
Location: Aarau, Switzerland
Type: Cultural Center
Status: Invited competition, not won.
Size 4.000
Project Management: Caretta Weidmann (Dieter Haeuser)
Cultural consultant: Sando Bernasconi
Structure: Aschwanden Partner
Acoustic: Applied Acoustics
Fire protection: Tatjana Helfer
Facade consultant: Xmade

Kiff by Focketyn Del Rio Studio - Sheet5
©Focketyn Del Rio Studio

The proposal appears as an ambiguous object covered in corrugated sheet metal: sometimes transparent, sometimes opaque and becoming a light box at night. The skin of the volume creates a generous porch open to the city that extends into a multi-layered street connecting all program units. This meandrical street becomes the foyer of the venues in the night and extends the program of the public activities during the day.

Kiff by Focketyn Del Rio Studio - Sheet6
©Focketyn Del Rio Studio

The restaurant in the ground floor activates the neighbouring plaza during the day, while it focuses on the inside street at night to concentrate the uses and avoid disturbance to neighbours at night, changing its use deppeding on the moment. A special effort is put in the design of the main venue, able to grow and decrease with the use of metal curtains and the clever disposition of the public seating: it can host from 20 to 2000 assistants while never seeming empty.

Kiff by Focketyn Del Rio Studio - Sheet7
©Focketyn Del Rio Studio

This clear distribution of two bars facing a non-heated public space elegantly solves the acoustic requirements while creating a new typology for the cultural center that adapts to the different uses and rhythms (night-day, public-private….) while encouraging unexpected encounters and uses. The proposal by Miquel del Río and Hans Focketyn for the KIFF2.0 turns an existing cultural center at the edge of disappearance into an inclusive, diverse and barrier-free venue that will see the left politically engaged collective to start a new life according to the contemporary standards of music and culture.


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