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Dock Connects Lake Building to Shore in Switzerland

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Lake Rotsee Refuge was designed by AFGH Architekten in Lucern, Switzerland as a facility to house athletes that use the lake for various lake sports such as rowing. The setting is a beautiful one and AFGH did not want to impose upon the landscape with an ornate or flashy exterior, and chose instead to create a 3 story façade of simple elegance that can close up into a private cube or open wide into a viewing station. The final result is an architectural installation with sculptural qualities that transform through usage much the way the landscape transforms through the seasons.

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The walls of the athlete refuge are covered in panels that can open wide when in use and for three weeks each year the open version is a constant. Made from prefabricated wood components and supported over a concrete foundation and staircase the 3 story building is as much a spectators paradise as it is an athlete refuge.

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From the dock a flight of concrete stairs leads up to the main entrance.

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The timbered dock is set on concrete pilings – as is the building itself

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Hinged plywood panels that slide and pivot to open wide or close tight create the window shades. When open, the extending panels shade the interior from the intense summer heat.

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The window panels close up tight to protect the building from whatever mother nature might throw its way during the off season.

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Whether the windows are open or closed, the silhouette is unassuming against the stunning landscape, even when doubled in size through its reflection. The reflection creates a fun ensemble of positive and negative shapes created by the void below the pilings and dock and building itself.

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The visual up close is as interesting as it is from a distance. Here, the lake views take centre stage from the colourful entry hall and the exterior observation deck.

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The blue entry door adds a jolt of colour in an otherwise neutral interior of treated OSB panels on the walls and timber planks on the floors and ceiling. A wall of open shelves is the perfect place for athletes to store their personal belongings before heading out to the water for practice sessions.

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The window wall is designed to be a viewing post when events are taking place or when friends and family are there to support their loved ones as they practice.

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For organized events, plywood clad bleachers can be pulled up for a triple tier viewing station.

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Each bank of windows has a side window that opens for cross ventilation.

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When the events or practice sessions are over, the panoramic views make it hard to leave.

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Eventually, everyone must go home and then Lake Rotsee Refuge is closed up tight, resting for the next big event.

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