St. Gallen, 2009. Open Project Competition, 4th Prize

Architecture: Phalt Architects, Zurich.
Client: City of St. Gallen, Building Construction Department.

Generous expanses surrounding the compact Nature Museum made the development of three different types of space possible, each with separate qualities:

Butterfly garden. A clearly open space in the middle establishes a reference to the Church of St. Maria of Neudorf. This creates distance and depth between both volumetrically significant buildings. The space unfolds as a vibrant, florid butterfly garden. A multitude of indigenous perennial flowers and shrubs attract butterflies and other insects, and reflect seasonal changes throughout the year.

Cherry Avenue. The existing cherry tree row will be replaced up until the museum, and defines a clear border to the street. It will be supplemented by a densely planted hornbeam hedge, in order to protect from street noise.

Forest. A reference to the botanical garden is made through the creation of a continuous, dense wood in the north, where large indigenous trees are already present. Further indigenous trees and bushes complement the existing stock.

Like a web, paths extend through the different spaces and connect the museum with both the church and the botanical garden. Thus, various themes become tangible. From the exotic world of the botanical garden to the indigenous forest, scattered with glacial erratic blocks. From the aviary, integrated into the canopy, to the open butterfly garden. The three spatial typologies of forest, butterfly garden, and cherry avenue induce varied atmospheres for both the visitor as well as for other plants and animals. Composition of indigenous plants and forms of wildlife, the site topography, and the microclimate create an attractive and enthralling place for all kinds of life.

Even the building façade is a part of this living system. Its perforated structure provides living space for birds, wild bees, and bats, in addition to plants. The Nature Museum is conceived as a space that is connected to life not merely thematically, but organically.

St. Gallen Nature Museum

Competition 4th Prize 2009