Aarau in northern Switzerland has won the 2014 Wakker architecture prize. The city with a population of 20,000 was lauded for its successful development of a high-density area in a way that preserves the identity of the city’s various neighbourhoods.
Aarau, less than 40 km west of Zurich, is the capital of canton Aargau.
In 2013, Swiss voters came out in favour of zoning-law revisions that call for quality development of population-dense inner-city areas.
The Wakker Prize committee praised Aarau for its effort over many years to develop its downtown area in this way, by building “numerous carefully and prudently planned neighbourhoods with distinctive qualities” that promote “urban diversity”.
The juxtaposition of Aarau’s new Markthalle, or market hall, with the old town around it – as shown above – is one example of such careful and effective development.
The Wakker Prize is awarded annually by the Swiss Heritage Society to a municipality for the development and preservation of its architectural heritage. Last year’s recipient was Sion, the capital city of canton Valais.
swissinfo.ch and agencies