Pierre Belanger receives first prize in Dubendorf Airport design competition

Pierre Bélanger, Associate Professor in Landscape Architecture, with Swiss architects Stephan Hausheer (ETH Zürich) and Hana Disch (MAUD ’12), have received the First Prize Award for the Dübendorf Airport design competition in Zurich, Switzerland. The design team included Chen Chen (MLA ’13), Pamela Ritchot (MIT SMarchS ’11), Chris De Vries (MIT SMarchS ’11), and Luke Hegeman (MLA ’12).
This two-stage international design competition explores the urban and regional redevelopment of the former Dübendorf Military Airport located on the periphery of the metropolitan region of Zurich, the birth place of the Swiss Air Force and now the home of the Solar Impulse. The competition is organized by Denkallmend, in collaboration with the Bristol Foundation, University of Zurich, Hamburg University of Architecture and Metropolitan Development, and Zurich University of the Arts.
Titled Dübenholz, their proposal involved a strategy for the transformation of the airport lands into an infrastructural forest zone for energy production, agricultural cultivation, groundwater filtration and carbon sequestration in the urban valley of Zurich. The competition jury composed of Mario Broggi (Eidgenössischen Forschungsanstalt für Wald, Schnee und Landschaft WSL), Daniel Kübler (Demokratieforschung und Public Governance, Universität Zürich), Angelus Eisinger (Geschichte und Kultur der Metropolen, HafenCity Universität für Baukunst und Metropolenentwicklung Hamburg), Rahel Marti (Architektur- und Designzeitschrift Hochparterre), Patrick Müller (Zürcher Hochschule der Künste ZHdK), Jürg Altherr (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Zürcher Bildhauer), voted unanimously for the First Prize proposal.
From the jury’s final report:
“As a constructed urban ecology, ‘Dübenholz’ (düben: village, holz: forest) is a counterpoint to the discourse on urban planning and a countermeasure to conventions of civil engineering. Dübenholz upsets traditional thinking of the oppositions between city and forest, town and country, farm and industry, pleasure and production. This proposed zone of afforestation becomes an urban infrastructure supporting a series of contemporary synergies: a water purification device, a raw material resource, biomass energy supply, air filter, and recreation room. The Dübenholz project reverberates across all the challenges set forth by the competition mandate, significantly shaping the airport landscape for the future and the suburban region of Zürich.”
The venue attracted 53 proposals worldwide from which 4 prizes were announced in mid-November 2011.
Winning Proposals (German)