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Wakker Prize Langenthal wins Swiss heritage award for 2019

The town of Langenthal in northern Switzerland has been awarded this year’s Wakker Prize for architectural development and preservation. It was praised for its approach to construction given its industrial history. 

One example of this, according to the Swiss Heritage Societyexternal link, is the so-called Porzi area, the industrial area around the former porcelain factory which produced crockery for around 100 years that was used in almost every Swiss household and restaurant. 

In the 1990s, however, competition from abroad meant the end of the factory, which hit the local community hard. 

The Swiss Heritage Society, which awards the prize every year to a town or village in recognition of successful urban planning developments, said in a statement on Tuesday that the town in canton Bern had survived the crisis “thanks to a return to local quality and the courage to innovate”. 

This was particularly evident, it added, in the treatment of factory areas, worker settlements, villa complexes and public buildings. Inventory lists were taken systematically and codified as central anchor points for future developments. 

Langenthal has invested in the revaluation of public spaces in the town centre. In addition, various school buildings and the theatre have been renovated. 

“With all these measures, the city is confidently saying that it wants to be a lively, urban centre of a larger rural region,” the Swiss Heritage Society said.

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