Architecture, Greenspace October 1, 2009 By Ryan Grim
evolver cover Evolver

evolver title Evolver

One of the great things about being in college is that you’re not required to produce practical work. Your pseudo-intellectual essays might get a B- if the professor is generous. I was once given an A for a tedious, poorly researched paper on mid-20th century Irish folk music that will never benefit a single person. But some wholly unnecessary, unsolicited work can be great — especially in architecture schools. And double good if it makes it past the pipe-dream phase and is actually built. Case in point: Evolver, a spirally wooden structure near Lake Stelli in Zermatt, Switzerland. It was designed by the students in ALICE, an experimental architecture studio at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. No one actually needed Evolver, but I think I’m glad it exists.
     It’s surrounded by some of the most Romantic nature in Europe. Altitude: 2,536 meters. Visitors are supposed to walk up and then down the ramp and experience different vistas through the wood slats. The idea being that the slats make you focus on one spot. It’s controlled nature-loving. Ideally the views are enhanced by Evolver: gazing at the nearby Matterhorn again and again from different angles should drop your jaw even lower. But will it? My initial impression was: What’s so awful about looking up at mountains from grass?

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