Water Flux and Scrambled Flat
Part of:
  • R&Sie(n) (archive creator)
  • Francois Roche (architect)
  • Stephanie Lavaux (artist)
  • Jean Navarro (architect)

Water Flux and Scrambled Flat



Level of archival description:
Extent and medium:
  • 415 digital files (13.29 GB)
Scope and content:
Series 1, Water Flux and Scrambled Flat, 2002-2010, documents the conception and evolution of a project that was originally a farm building and later became a geology and glaciology museum and research center focused on the Swiss Alps. The project was never realized.

R&Sie(n) conceptualized Scrambled Flat as an experimental farm. The project goal was to reconcile European Union’s agricultural regulations, imposing a separation between animal and human living, to the community of Évolène traditional way of living, contiguously with animals, benefiting from the resources they offer. As conceived, Scrambled Flat creates an environment where fluidity between the existence of the animals and the humans is materialized. The size of the form is also adapted from a typical local rural house and exploits the heat of the animals and the insulation of the hay.

For this project, R&Sie(n) approached the mayor of the community with the design proposition. The mayor then called for a competition, while also changing the program to an ecology museum and research center illustrating the local effects of global warming and the thawing of the Alps.

R&Sie(n) won the competition with Water Flux, a reinterpretation of Scrambled Flat. The project was intended to uncover and exorcise the anxieties of ecological disaster, and the principle of flux related to seasonal change and, more broadly, climate change. The firm designed rooms that reproduce the geological and meteorological environment of the high mountains making it visible and experimental, offering refrigerated spaces for art installations and scientific demonstrations. The concept was also to build with the use of new technologies such as digital modelling, point scanning, and computer numerical control (CNC), combined with ancient local knowledge of knocking on trees to decide which specific pines have the best wood for construction. The building is designed to be constructed with local lamellar wood milled by nearby CNC. The resulting parts would be used for the structure, the insulation, the waterproofing and both the interior and exterior finishes. The design includes a grille wrapping the building, reproducing the profile of traditional houses and enclosure and making it possible to hold the snow inside a typo-morphological imprint. Therefore, the transformable envelope of the building reacts to the rhythm of the seasons. In the winter, the structure would appear like a solid cut-out of ice and snow, with cavities similar to those found in glaciers. In the summer, it would resemble piles of stones used in these areas to make borders. A small pool would collect rainwater and supply it to an interior artificial snowmaking system designed for the gallery. Transformation of the water is an integral part of the design.

The records contain images of plans, sections, details for the structure of the façade, renderings, plans of the engineered structure, and photographs documenting the conception of the models with the CNC machinery. The Rhino 3D modelling files are also part of the records along with AutoCAD models and a video documenting the process.

The records contain two physical models: a smaller polymer model at 1:20 scale representing the whole structure of the building, and a larger 1:1 latch wood fragment representing detail of the structure in its integrality.
Reference number:


The files in the folder are not arranged.

Évolène Switzerland

General note:
  • The small 1:20 scale model is made of polymer. The model is in generally good condition but the natural degradation of plastic material caused the polymer to turn yellow instead of white. Upon its arrival at CCA, the big 1:1 latch wood model was kept in a carbon dioxide tent for a couple of weeks for bugs. The surface was cleaned with vacuuming and dusting. The structure is in excellent condition. An expected oxidization occurred causing the wood to become black on some surfaces. François Roche explains that this particular type of wood becomes either white or black over time, depending its altitude.

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