Lisa Maillard & Sofia Manganas
The Jura Cement Factory in Wildegg produces 18% of the total Swiss production. As the production of cement relies greatly on limestone as a raw material, the Jura Cement Factory has its own quarry next door. This self-produced void is the factory’s most prominent companion. As the negative to the factory complex it becomes a monument of production. The more space is constructed, the more cement is produced, the larger becomes the void.
This Void is the starting point for our project. For many years, the cement factory Wildegg sourced it’s raw material from it’s own quarry next door. In 25 years, all of these resources will have been exploited and the factory will have to find a new source of “food” to remain functional and will turn to an extreme solution; it becomes a cannibal and starts eating away at the village. The relationship between the factory as a medieval town that relies on its surroundings is materialised, the city is literally eating its suburbs. Leaving just enough there, so the buildings can still stand, they become elevated above a new horizon, formed by the insatiable hunger of the factory. These islands thus become a part of the factory, the two neighbours grow together, the limits of the factory are blurred; a sprawl of solitary buildings connected through conveyor belts is imprinted on the landscape.
The relationship between cannibalistic factory and exploited Wildegg becomes figurative in the conveyor belts as a connecting and disconnecting element, but will remain visible even if all the resources have been exhausted; Once again the void is a monument of what once was. It will be the defining characteristic of Wildegg long after the factory ceases to exist.
As you may know, many great cities started with an excavation, for example Seattle or New York. We propose that, through the implementation of our master plan „Wildegg 2050“, the village will also profit from the cannibalistic factory. Though it cannot be stopped from eating away at Wildegg, we can control which parts are eaten.
If we restrict its destruction to the necrotic tissue of Wildegg, we can use this subtraction as a positive urbanistic principle. By removing “dead” parts of the urban fabric, we can help Wildegg find its identity in the suburban sprawl of Argau. The ever-growing void will not only give the Village a very specific quality and identity, it will do the same for small areas and buildings within it. By differentiating places from their immediate surroundings, they can be given a new significance in the urban fabric. This differentiation is what will distinguish Wildegg from the settlements that surround it, while simultaneously binding it together to create a strong feeling of unity within it.
In order for this strategy to succeed and to make the destruction a positive transformation, we have defined guiding principles to support our Vision for Wildegg 2050:
1. The factory only eats tissue, which is of no apparent value to Wildegg. This subtraction will create a density, not by adding built material, but by reducing the space in between.
2. As the void is what creates Wildeggs urban Identity, it should be seen or felt from every point in the Village. As the common ground of Wildegg, every villager has access to it.
3. The void creates a new ground floor, which will be central to Wildeggs circulation and social system.
4. Regional transit axes form highways of viaducts that surpass the void. Though they are important for Wildegg, they can function independently from the growth of the void.