The theme of the design for the Unterfeld Energy Center (a heat-pump power station) is the circulation of water. Inspiration for the idea was drawn from the Meret Oppenheim Fountain in Bern, with its unplanned, startling synthesis of geometry and natural form. All year round, rainwater flows from the roof over the façades, seeps into the ground and returns to Lake Zug via the stream. This creates a second water cycle alongside the lake water cycle, fusing nature and architecture.

The new Energy Center creates a striking, upward-opening shape in the countryside space. It links the sky with the earth. Its geometric gesture appears both natural and artificial, fragile and powerful. The surface enclosing the building consists of raw Eternit panels. Over time, lichens and mosses will settle in their rough structures. Leaves and organic materials will collect and turn into humus in the grooves of the Eternit covering.

Depending on exposure at each point, the shade cast by the surrounding trees and the available water, the rock-like surface will develop a varied organic covering that is subject to constant change, with a delicate coating of moss and lichen here and a lush lining of vegetation there, occasionally interrupted by an area of bare Eternit skin.

Location: Zug, Switzerland
Programme: Façade Energy Centre Unterfeld
Client: WWZ Energie AG, Zug
Competition, 1st Prize
Project Status: Ongoing