A new showroom and warehouse for landscape architecture firm Enea sets a framework for an 18-acre campus and tree museum.
Leaders in landscape architecture globally, Swiss-based Enea have transformed a large industrial site into a center for botany, design, events, education, and the world’s first tree museum. Located in the city of St. Gallen, the site is on the edge of an industrial park, overlooking the local monastery and Lake Zürich. As a gateway to the park and arboretum, and to support the products division of the business, we have designed a 30,000-square-foot pavilion to screen the industrial park and protect the green oasis within.
The new building houses a reception space and furniture showroom, alongside workshops and warehousing—all set in a remarkable landscape designed by Enea. As well as forming a threshold for the tree museum, the building defines functional areas for the landscape architecture company: from public spaces right through to logistics areas.
Inspired by Japanese garden architecture, the pavilion is designed to be a frame for the natural world. From its deep porch and “floating” terrace, visitors look across a reflective pond to the estate, lake, and mountains beyond. Where the building interfaces with the existing office building and parking lot, we have designed a colonnade as a transition between exterior and interior spaces—an interstitial architectural space to provide richness through layering, light, and shadow.
From the showroom, the building extends east in a series of workshops and logistics areas serving the products business and park laboratory. The tree museum is the private collection of Enzo Enea and contains rare native specimens, some over 100 years old. The pavilion supports this publicly accessible museum, which won Gold in the Swiss Location Awards, 2018 and 2019.
The former marshland site meant stringent waste management regulations for the construction period and ongoing operations. Water distribution is managed via the retention pond in front of the showroom—doubling as a design feature, it collects water from the roof and pumped from underground to irrigate the gardens.
Energy conservation strategies are embedded throughout the building. Natural daylight is exploited to the full, with sensors to minimize the use of artificial lighting. A green roof provides insulation; geothermal and solar heating provide renewable energy. Further innovations include prefabrication for cost savings, sustainably harvested wood, and recycled concrete. Overall, the building is very economical to build and operate.