City library and public square, Mendrisio,
Ticino, Switzerland, 2014

The proposal makes Piazza del Ponte the centrepiece within a network of public spaces and movement corridors in the city. The dominance of vehicular traffic in and around the Piazza and its collision with pedestrian and cycle routes is reduced by removing permanent through-routes and parking and by introducing a new speed limit between adjacent roundabouts to re-balance priorities between users.

The existing office building from the 1960s is replaced by the tower form of a new building that stands like an eroded outcrop of rock, solid and elementary, and establishes a volumetric balance with the church, while creating a visual beacon that signals the piazza.

At the competition stage, the building was intended to be a new city library. However, subsequent developments have led to a change in use: it will now house a luxury hotel of 28 rooms and suites. The ground floor retains a civic function, becoming a public room open to the square, and a colonnade highlights the civic character of the public space within. The top of the building – also a public terrace – can be accessed directly from the public foyer, while the floors above are occupied by the hotel and its associated facilites.

Competition: 2010
Project duration: 2011-2014
Contract value: CHF10 million
Gross internal area: 2,260 m2