Chateau de Chillon awards major design project to Lausanne architect

Switzerland’s most popular tourist attraction to house new service areas


Architect’s rendering of entrance to Chateau de Chillon


Chateau de Chillon, architect’s rendering of lake approach from the east

Chillon_plan jardin anglaisGENEVA, SWITZERLAND – The Chateau de Chillon has awarded first prize in its architectural and landscape competition for a new cafeteria and boutique to Lausanne architectural firm Dreier Frenzel, with art historian Clément Crevoisier.

The award comes with prize money of CHF30,000 and a recommendation for the Fondation de Chillon to work with the architect’s to further develop their plans.

The “Jardin Anglais” (English Garden) project had the unanimous backing of the jury, out of 67 entries from five countries.

The Chateau has been a defense site for centuries. The existing building has several parts, but the fortress dates back to the 11th-12th centuries. Chillon had a record 341,000 visitors in 2012, making it Switzerland’s top permanent tourist attraction.

The plans to add a shop and cafeteria would greatly improve the services on offer, but given the historical significance of the site and the limited options for expansion, the foundation says, finding solutions that will not put yet more pressure on the site has not been easy.

All of the projects entered in the competition will be on display until 5 May at the chateau.

Eik Frenzel, German architectural photographer and Yves Dreier, Swiss architect and reviewer for a number of publications, created their company in 2008; today it has 18 employees. The pair both studied at EPH in Zurich. Dreier is currently also a professor at EPFL in Lausanne.

The winning project plays on the different eras, functions including military and tourist, and mileus, from nobility to popular crowds, that the chateau has known in its long history. It adds a park to the existing chateau, which would bring together several existing “objects” such as the boat launch and kiosk with new pavilions for the shop and cafeteria, creating what they call a series of “fabriques” that would be scattered throughout the English garden.

The garden is a nod at the period when military use was receding and tourism, particularly from Britain, was blossoming, and English gardens became popular throughout Europe. It represents the growing  importance of Switzerland and the Lake Geneva region at the time.