After being selected as winner of a competition for the project in 2004, Durisch + Nolli Architetti Sagl has now completed the realisation of Centro di Formazione Professionale (Vocational Education Center) in Gordola, Switzerland. A 140m-long strip of shed-like structures forms the site boundary to the surrounding countryside, with the remainder of the site reserved for external activities.
Each building is raised from the ground by a series of pillars, creating additional space for car parking and storage thus limiting the structures’ impact on the natural environment. Working with Civil Engineer Jürg Buchli, Mechanical Engineer Tecnoprogetti SA, Electrical Engineer Erisel SA and Construction Physicist IFEC Consulenze SA, the architecture practice has deliberately formulated a design concept that is sensitive to the natural surroundings and maximises land use to enable outdoor training facilities for the complex.
Access to the platform of interior spaces is achieved via three ramps located next to the laboratory entrances which lead to the upper level. Admission for freight goods and disabled users can be found on the north side of the building. Interior areas for teaching and active participation have been specifically formulated to be simple, flexible and functional, with north-facing sheds permitting a large volume of natural sunlight into the vicinity.
A network of pillars beneath the Vocational Center support the upper structure, each with its own singular foundation resting on a layer of gravel. In the portions of the building where the facilities stretch to two floors, the first floor has been designed as a solid concrete construction. A reticular metal structure encases the internal section of the complex, ensuring costs are kept to a minimum. Durisch + Nolli Architetti Sagl explains that the facility’s ‘defined shape fits perfectly into its surrounding landscape, becoming an orderly landmark in a chaotic context’.