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Case Study:

Plateau Rosa

The project responds to a competition of ideas announced in 2019 for the redevelopment of the buildings owned by Società Cervino S.p.A. in Breuil Cervinia, Località Plateau Rosa, at an altitude of about 3500 m. The value lies in the uniqueness of the location and in the potential for enhancement possible thanks to a “responsible” redevelopment project, capable of restoring a “socially active” architecture to the environmental and landscape context for a careful enjoyment of the immense alpine heritage belonging to the Matterhorn area. The multidisciplinary project envisages hosting multiple activities to protect Plateau Rosa and the mountain’s value for the entire community.

The territory

Plateau Rosa is on the border between two Alpine valleys: Valtournenche in the Aosta Valley and Mattertal (or Zermatt Valley) in the Valais Canton of Switzerland. It is a strategic logistical site for the Matterhorn Ski Paradise, between Breuil-Cervinia and Zermatt.

In winter, skiers arrive on the Italian side via the Cime Bianche-Plateau Rosa cable car and on the Swiss side via the Tête Grise. The Zermatt Bergbahnen company plans a new connection between the Klein Matterhorn (Little Matterhorn) and Plateau Rosa following the construction of the recent 3S Trockener Steg – Klein Matterhorn lift.

The new structure on the Swiss side will significantly affect access from that side. (Fig.2) Given the presence of summer skiing, there are no changes concerning skiers on the Italian side. In contrast, on the Swiss side, the passage is obligatory from the Klein Matterhorn, the only connection point for the descent to Trockener Steg first and with Zermatt later.

The opening of the new Swiss lift will affect the summer season because it will provide an access route to the ridges with views of the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa massifs, as is the case with the new Mont Blanc cableway.

Project

The design intervention envisages the positioning of the boarding levels of the new Testa Grigia – Klein Matterhorn gondola and Cervina – Plan Maison – Plateau Rosa gondola at the same altitude. The primary project purpose concerns the construction of a new architectural body with high performance and technological characteristics that will house:

  • the International Centre of Excellence for High Altitude Holistic Preparation (HAHP);
  • the implementation of the catering and accommodation offer with spaces and services to benefit from the panoramic view of the entire Alpine arc
  • a museum itinerary of exhibits and images of the history of Cervino Spa. The route will celebrate the technical feat of the first cableway installations in a didactic and informative manner. The construction phases of the new works will also be illustrated in a narrative that can be enjoyed by all users, coinciding with the access route to the restaurant and bar area with a panoramic view with a capacity of over 100 seats;
  • the vertical connection system of the levels of the Multifunctional Structure and with the hanging path towards Villa Lora
  • a system of panoramic terraces with site-specific functions, safely accessible from the different building levels of the new architectural ensemble the redevelopment of the Villa Lora building.
  • the International Centre of Excellence for High Altitude Holistic Preparation (HAHP);
  • the implementation of the catering and accommodation offer with spaces and services to benefit from the panoramic view of the entire Alpine arc
  • a museum itinerary of exhibits and images of the history of Cervino Spa. The route will celebrate the technical feat of the first cableway installations in a didactic and informative manner. The construction phases of the new works will also be illustrated in a narrative that can be enjoyed by all users, coinciding with the access route to the restaurant and bar area with a panoramic view with a capacity of over 100 seats;
  • the vertical connection system of the levels of the Multifunctional Structure and with the hanging path towards Villa Lora
  • a system of panoramic terraces with site-specific functions, safely accessible from the different building levels of the new architectural ensemble the redevelopment of the Villa Lora building.
Policreo | Plateau rosa - Vista della palestra per la preparazione atletica-fisica
Policreo | Plateau rosa - Percorso di collegamento con struttura polifunz.

Goals

The aim is to work in synergy with the territory to help maximise the attraction potential of the area.

The offer is oriented to satisfy new functions to compensate for a partially met demand, guaranteeing the conditions of economic and financial sustainabilitỳ of the intervention to generate a benefit for the entire local socio-economic system.

The project pursues – the development of a network vision to overcome the intervention approach understood as resolving the redevelopment needs but to implement the overall offer of the entire region by safeguarding the environmental, landscape, cultural, economic and social dimensions implementing a systemic intervention approach and non duplication of the offer: an innovative entrepreneurial project to enhance local peculiarities and promote site-specific potential.

An architecture capable of inserting new elements into the territory by using “light” building materials and technologies such as wood, steel, sheet metal cladding and large glazed fields to ensure the potential reversibility of the construction over time.

The proposed new volumes stand out for their prismatic morphologies, characterised by opaque inclined planes and vertical walls permeable to light. The overall geometry prefigures orders of “vertices” of different compositional hierarchies to draw a new profile of the current plateau, evoking the original layout compromised by the historical anthropisation of the site.

Distinctive elements

Integrated design with BIM system

Given the geomorphological characteristics of the site, the Building Information Modeling-BIM system served the integrated design. A choice enabling efficient planning and constant verification between the different disciplines (architecture, structures and plants) through integration at all levels of design and construction management. This operational and management model of the Project Management Office is supported by certified environmental protocols and quality systems and followed by integrated procedures for constructing and maintaining the work throughout its life cycle.

Survey under complex conditions

The site’s steep slopes and artificial elements suggested supplementing the documentation with a laser scanner survey to manage and control the information in a BIM environment. The project area is on a ridge and at a high altitude, making surveying difficult due to changing environmental factors and complex geometric shapes. Precision measurements were carried out quickly using state-of-the-art technology (Fig. 12) to correlate the environmental conditions with the assumed parameters. They considered the area, the exterior and interior of the buildings. The first photographic campaign was carried out at altitude with a helicopter, acquiring photos from different angles and altitudes. A second campaign was carried out on the ground, outside and inside the buildings. A drone photo campaign in August 2022 served as a preliminary part of the survey of the area.