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Stimulating Architecture

How to revive a former cable railway?


Text & Images: atelier Riccardo Blumer


The intent of the work, being a result of the course held in Mendrisio by atelier Riccardo Blumer during spring semester 2015/16, was to offer a new vision of one of the most beautiful and important architectures in the area, while tackling the major topic of urban re-use: The former cable railway, built to serve the Bristol hotel and remaining inactive since 1986, is in fact located in an important place, but yet still lacks a clear plan of use, despite the proximity and centraliy to the new cultural center LAC and Via Nassa.

The 14 students – the same number of stations was used for the Via Crucis – were called to design and build wooden architectures tied to the tracks where they expose an extract of the fresco respecting the Passion chronicle. The installation was part of the events of LongLake Festival which is organized by the town of Lugano. The city also made it possible to access the area.

The project was realized thanks to the support of Giorgio Paximadi ordinary Exegesis of Lugano Theology Faculty, Giacomo Jori Instituto degli Studi Italiani USI, Giovanni Agosti historian Università degli Studi di Milano, Carla Mazzarelli of Instituto di storia e teoria dell’arte e dell’architettura and finally of the journalist and musicologist Carla Moreni. All of them have offered a series of accompanying lectures and specific collaborations.


> The project shows once more, that hands-on is currently a key component within Swiss architecture education. You can find an essay about this approach in archithese-issue Bildungslandschaften.

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archithese 2.2016