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Hydropower Plant provides Renaturation

Felix Baumann

The Raymond Vogel Landschaften AG developed a nature oriented delta-landscape, which functions as an area of recreation and preservation.

With large sliding glass doors, the living room can be completely transformed into a terrace. (Photo: Fernando Guerra)

Usually a hydropower plant stands for river regulation and threatened river species. At the mouth of the Hagneck River into the Lake of Biel in Switzerland, the opposite can be found: The surroundings of a new plant provide a remarkable renaturation of delta-landscape, where man and nature can co-exist next to each other. Responsible for the design of the area of recreation and preservation is the Raymond Vogel Landschaften AG, which was rewarded with the American Architecture Prize for its concept.

Human in harmony with nature

The idea behind the concept is to overcome the separation between human and nature. A small alluvial forest and an accessible delta-landscape were created. The design of the terrain provides a perfect view of the Lake, the St. Peter´s Island and the vineyards on the mountain ranges. Despite the nearby hydropower plant, visitors feel like they are part of the nature and realise the connection between them and their environment. To improve nature conservation special “bait flows” attract fish to go around the plant. Beside that fish passes were developed in a nature-oriented way.

Multifunctional Structure

The new Hydropower Plant Hagneck is replacing an older plant and provides compared to the old one 40 percent more renewable energy. In addition, the flood protection and fish migration improved significantly. The dam of the structure carries a national cycle path and walking trail, whereby the adjacent delta-landscape function as a natural resting area.