Community Centre in Corpataux-Magnedens
Architects: 2b architectes, Lausanne; nb.arch, Lausanne
Assistants: Stephanie Bender, Philippe Béboux, Corina Ebeling, Gudrun Warnking (2b architectes), Sarah Nedir, Luc Bovard, Stéphane Schers, Yves Macherel (nb.arch)
Structural engineers: EDMS ingénieurs, Carouge Normal Office, Fribourg
In the Swiss canton Fribourg, two villages were recently consolidated in order to simplify the bureaucratic infrastructure. The burgeoning municipality was in need of a new community centre. The new design has contexturality in mind: The architects avoided creating a building which would be out of place and instead fostered the town’s traditions with respect to form and materiality. The new building’s siting is in deference to the village’s other important buildings (e.g. church, school, dining establishments, etc.): The gable is perpendicular to the street. In front of the entrance is a new village square, its centre occupied by a tree. The pitched roof — accompanied by a chimney — picks up on the existing formal vocabulary of the region’s farmsteads, which have no overhang whatsoever.
The building is completely cloaked in a skin consisting of calcareous tufa, a material which can be worked to attain a sharp-edged appearance. The facade incorporates stones of three different widths, and the transition is smooth to the roof’s shingled slabs. As time passes, this surface will play host to a variety of mosses, and the building will thus eventually take on a natural patina. Calcareous tufa has large pores and can therefore prevent ground moisture from rising up into it, an ideal building material that has been used in this area from time immemorial for the buildings’ bases and foundations. The stone had previously been supplied by a nearby quarry, but the architects’ efforts to revive the disused quarry were not successful, and Italian stone was ultimately used.
A hall with a symmetrical ceiling is inscribed within an asymmetrical overall form. The outer wall of the backstage was furnished with a large aperture which can be fully opened to provide a summer stage — whose seating is, of course, outdoors. Opposite the hall are the conference rooms, administration, foyer, and bar. The colour concept and atmosphere of the spaces present visitors with stark contrasts: The foyer and the administrative area are characterized by white-painted concrete and plasterboard walls, light-toned wood veneer and terrazzo with white aggregate, while in the conference room the atmosphere is defined by oak parquet and the dark cladding of the wooden louvers.
The lighting concept works with contrasts, as well. Large spherical luminaires shed light on the entrance, whereas neon tubes in the spaces between the louvers supply light in the hall. In the basement, in addition to the restrooms, there are also the air-raid shelters required by Swiss law. In “times of peace”, clubs and other groups take advantage of these spaces.
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