Eric Goldhoorn

Eric Goldhoorn



There are only a few places left on earth where you can imagine yourself being decades back in time.  Zervreila, situated close to Vals in Zwitserland, is one of those places. This place is characterised by important events in the recent past: after the dam above Zervreila was put into operation in 1957, the village was submerged. Zervreila now consists of a reservoir that changes every season, just like the landscape. In the spring, the glaciers melt around the lake melt, as a result of which the reservoir rises during the summer months. Because there is more need for energy once again after the summer, the dam is put into operation again, which generates energy for the nearby village Vals.

The nature in Zevreila is unspoilt. Water flows from the high mountains along the rocky landscape to the lake. The height it tangible and the clean air embraces the silence. The rise and fall of the reservoir causes a horizontal line in the landscape. The vegetation begins from the water line. The mist moves slowly over the outstretched lake to the place where a circular building will rise from the landscape.

Circular will connect the richly-contrasting landscape of the surroundings with the serene atmosphere of the building. People will be able to stay in Circular shortly before the self-chosen end to their life. They will be able to spend time with friends and family and make final, well-considered decisions, since it is possible to perform euthanasia in Switzerland, regardless of whether a person is chronically ill or not. That currently ocuurs a lot at places that are not specifically intended for this.  Circular provides space for a dignified end to one’s life.

The building is situated diagonally in the landscape, parallel to the slope of the mountain. The path along the reservoir provides access to the building. On the lake side, the structure stands on piles and the building is made from wood. On the mountain side, the building is embedded in the landscape and it is built from stone. There is also a divide in the interior: there is a mountain accommodation and a lake accommodation. These function independently from each other. The staff floor is located under the accommodation storey. Each accommodation provides room for two guests with their families and houses a living room and dining room. There are also bedrooms, a chapel and a spa area. All spaces are connected by the dining and living room, and the outdoor space.

The chapels are located at both ends of the structure. The guests can gather themselves in peace here. The family also bid farewell there and the surviving relatives can also return to remember their next of kin there. Because the chapels do not have an actual accommodation function, they are oriented differently than the accommodations which they belong to:  the chapel of the mountain accommodation provides a view of the lake and the chapel on the lakeside looks out on the mountains.

Graduation committee: Christian Müller, Gijs Baks and Jana Crepon. Additional members for the exam: Bastiaan Jongerius and Floris Hund. 

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