Arteplage Neuchâtel

Architecture: A blurred border

The exhibition park, conceived by the Multipack team of architects, extends over a long park area along the lakeshore. The forum, a gigantic platform, stands in front of it anchored in the lake. Bridges enable the passage from one part of the exhibition to another. In the narrow channel between the two sites, there is a long landing stage parallel with the bank, forming the connection between the two extremities of the exhibition park. This wooden gangway serves both as a classical walkway and a floating boarder between the exhibition park and the forum.

The team is playing with the theme Nature and Artificiality. It sees no conflict between these two notions, and in fact rather tries to bring them together. The large lake platform is accordingly surrounded by a field of artificial reeds, which blurs its borders. This trick removes the border between nature and artifice, between natural dry land and the artificial island. The Champs des Roseaux serves as the transition. It’s an open structure, neither urban nor rural.

A cushion of light on the forum at nightfall

On the model, it is especially the huge roofs (The Galets) in the shape of pebbles that attract one’s gaze. They are floating above the Arteplage Neuchâtel like three UFOs, resembling the pebbles on the lakeshore. You can see them best from the main square. These elliptic roofs, supported by large steel stems like archipelagos some twenty metres above the forum, protecting visitors from the rain or sun. Their organic form contrasts with the square-shaped field of reeds. Below, the exhibition areas properly speaking are arranged freely.

At night, the tips of the artificial reeds begin to light up to a defined rhythm. The reedy marsh, whose expanse one scarcely notices during the day, stands out distinctly in the darkness. The roofs seem to be resting on a cushion of light at that moment. This installation converts the esplanade into a luminous sculpture, particularly when seen from the vineyards.

Concept, architecture and design
Team Multipack consisting of:
Atelier Jacques Sbriglio (Jacques Sbriglio), Aix-en-Provence, France
GMS Architectes SA (Jean-Guy Müller, Claude Schoderet, Cédric Vassalotti), Neuchâtel www,
Atelier Oï SA (Aurel Aebi, Armand Louis, Patrick Reymond), La Neuveville

Project management and environmental control
biol conseils sa (Betrand de Montmollin), Neuchâtel

GVH St-Blaise SA, St-Blaise

Lighting design
Atelier Marc Aurel, Cassis, France

biol conseils sa (Betrand de Montmollin), Neuchâtel
Oxalis sàrl, Carouge
Conseil: Jacques Coulon, Paris, France

Signage and scenography
Intégral Concept Ruedi Baur et associés, Paris, France
Atelier J. Habersetzer, Strassbourg, France

General contractor
Bâtigroup Generalunternehmung AG, Basel (Forum)
Zschokke Entreprise Générale SA (Nicolas Jeker, Dominique Langer, Claude Maranga, Carlo Meroni, Michel Mottet, Bernard Pidoux, Claude Reuille, Ekkehard Schimdhelm), Renens (Pebbles (Roofs) and Expopark)
Army (bridges and footbridges)
Halter AG, Zurich (bridges and footbridges)
Expen SA (Marie-Pierre Walliser-Klunge, Ulrich Wüger), Nidau (infrastructure)