Long-term support for the community of Buchrain – competent and comprehensive consulting from vision to implementation
Buchrain is a suburb of the city of Lucerne with around 6400 inhabitants. Since the 1960s, the population has increased almost fivefold, but what the community lacks today is a lively and attractive center. The “Buchrain Intergenerational Project” is intended to remedy this situation.
In 2019, the municipality of Buchrain contacted Wüest Partner with a request for a location and market analysis. Since then, we have been working closely with the municipality and supporting it on its way to realizing the vision of a new village center. In the process, almost the entire spectrum of our services has come into play.
From idea to implementation
- Location and market analysis: The first step on the long road to redesigning the village center.
- Utilization concept: The community’s goal is to create attractive residential and service buildings as well as livable open spaces. To achieve this, target groups, apartment sizes, and a suitable mix of owner-occupied and rented apartments were defined, as well as possible ground-floor uses. A contemporary space for the municipal and school administration was also planned to be created.
- Dealing with the existing buildings: It was necessary to analyze the buildings currently on the site in detail and to develop coherent strategies for them. It was clear from the outset that the listed Gasthof Adler should be preserved. But what should be done with the existing community center, for example, which no longer meets the needs of the community itself? On the one hand, this property is not yet ready for demolition due to its age; on the other, the intergenerational project can create a more highly utilized living space that is much better suited to today’s needs. Does it make sense in terms of the value of the property to demolish it in favor of the intergenerational project? If so, when should this happen, and what, if any, would be a reasonable interim use until demolition? Finally, how could the building be repurposed if it does not end up being demolished at all?
- Development of a vision: In cooperation with representatives from the municipal council, the investor, and the jury, a vision was developed that served as the basis for the competition process. The following factors were considered important: The new village center should be characterized by an identity-creating urban development, safe traffic access for non-motorized traffic and cars, versatile and ecologically valuable open spaces, and attractive and ecologically sustainable architecture.
- Expertise during the competition procedure: A competition procedure was carried out in the form of a study commission. Wüest Partner was a member of the jury that assessed the submitted projects.
- Support for the client during the political process: The involvement of the residents of Buchrain, who are to benefit from the project, is of fundamental importance. In collaboration with a communications specialist, Wüest Partner supported the municipality with communications, gave presentations at information events and municipal meetings, and answered any questions posed by the inhabitants. In addition, Wüest Partner presented the municipality with possible solutions for the intergenerational project as part of a study on affordable and public housing.
- Options for action: Given the complexity of a town center redevelopment project, many questions are bound to arise. Our broad experience accompanying similar projects enables us to point out different courses of action and to create a sound basis for decision-making. These include topics like tendering and communication with investors, questions regarding the realization and maintenance of common areas and underground parking, as well as many other strategic issues.
- Process support: Here it was a matter of determining milestones and recording which decisions had to be made – and when – so that deadlines could be met.
- Transaction evaluations: Since not all of the perimeter earmarked for planning is owned by the municipality, it was necessary to evaluate various properties with a view to possible transactions.
The Buchrain Intergenerational Project began in 2019 and has made good progress since. In the best case scenario, the structural implementation will commence in 2024. After that, the new village center will be developed in stages. Wüest Partner is pleased to continue being part of this exciting project.