Surrounded by new, large-scale buildings and open spaces, Seetalplatz Ost required strong forms to radiate an unmistakable independence alongside the larger structures, while also being finely meshed enough to allow a diverse social structure to develop within it.

Project: HHF + Fontana Landscape Architects
Program: Urban development housing and commercial with landscape architecture
Location: Lucerne Nord
Competition study: 2022
Team HHF:HERLACH HARTMANN FROMMENWILER
with Francisco Ramos, Eva Razloznik, Jean-Baptiste Hardy, Julie Toneguzzi and Adrian Hug
Site Area: 16,913 m2
Floor Area above ground: 45,133 m2
Floor Area below ground: 12,726 m2

Seetalplatz by HHF + Fontana Landscape Architects - Sheet2
©HHF + Fontana Landscape Architects

Addressing these needs is central to HHF’s proposal for the space made in collaboration with Fontana Landscape Architects.
Between the revitalized Emme River on one side and the dense city on the other, a differentiated sequence of buildings and open spaces mediates these extremes and not only binds the two sides together, but also enlivens them, thus manifesting the existing masterplan for Lucerne North. From the flowering roof gardens high above the Emme and the inner courtyards providing quieter, accessible places of retreat to the residential and studio streets that connect the urban and river spaces, the plethora of open spaces create a multilayered neighborhood. Permeability and social diversity lay the foundation for a resilient quarter.

Seetalplatz by HHF + Fontana Landscape Architects - Sheet4
©HHF + Fontana Landscape Architects

The heart of the complex has three chambers: the courtyards of the three blocks, which follow a fine staggering in their use and public access while referencing the nearby river with their vegetative and design themes. The western courtyard is the most public. Common to all three courtyards are the leafy arcades to the south, which lead up to the roof level. This is where the residents’ community gardens are located: kitchen gardens with a view of the Emme and seating areas on the riverside. All other roof surfaces are extensively greened and designed as an efficient water reservoir.

Seetalplatz by HHF + Fontana Landscape Architects - Sheet5
©HHF + Fontana Landscape Architects

The passageway forms the core system of the new development. Open, wide passages informally connect the courtyards on their east-west axes, while the two residential/studio streets running north-south have a clearly public appearance: the asphalt central strip between rows of birch trees is passable in case of emergencies, but the front garden zones of the studio flats are sited on both sides of it. These north-south connections end in two striking viewing platforms overlooking the river, which attract visitors from the offices north of Seetalstrasse to the Emme, visible from afar.   As with the entire area, the avenue of linden trees on the Seetalplatz Ost is built according to sponge city principles. It stands in a continuous strip of meadow – analogous to the continuous sponge body of root space under the ground – with mighty crowns forming a transition to the public street.

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