Bürchen Mystik, Switzerland: An Economic Reconversion Strategy in the Alps

Location: 46°16’40.5″N 7°49’25.2″E

Year: 2013. First position, international design contest

Description: In order to prevent a village of 750 inhabitants located in the Swiss Alps from disappearing, the authorities of the town of Bürchen decided to implement an economic reconversion strategy to foster nature-based tourism in the summer to complete its existing offer as a winter ski resort. Menis’ master plan, which won the international competition organized by the City Council, proposed an infrastructure that included a hotel that looked like a forest—fully integrating it into the landscape— a market built within the town’s old barns, and a temple of water as well as a public plaza joining the two parts of the village. The latter, completed and in use since December 2015, was conceived as a multipurpose space that functions as an amphitheatre, with wooden benches made at the local sawmill.