Marie Luise Kister

'Chlus' hydropower station


The new Chlus hydropower station completes the row of hydropower stations in the Davos Valley. The water is led through an underground pipeline to the cliff at the Chlus gorge. Withdrawn from this impressive canyon, the secluded building stands on the edge of the trees and at a distance from the busy main road. Surrounded by the forest, it is located in the transition between the mountain and the plane. Different landmarks are situated near one of the national hiking trails, such as ruins and rundown air-raid shelters. Within this sequence, the hydropower station becomes one of these landscape objects. The process of generating electricity from water requires a certain volume. This total volume is composed by “solids” and “hollows”, which means closed and open spaces around the turbine. A huge space depends on various technical parameters, even though it is at the center of the building, and it is interfused by the outer climate. To people passing by, the building appears to be an introverted sculptural landscape object that does not merge with surrounding nature because of its red-colored concrete. Holes in the façade have been reduced to a minimum. The unique shape of the roof is due to inner, volumetric parameters and the result of a controlled water runoff. The pure, rough concrete underlines the industrial character of the building and is strong enough to keep it in place against the massive force of the hydropower. On a rather poetic level, a resemblance of water’s ability to realize space by substracting material is created by showing the water in the core. The water seems to have cut into the massive volume over the years.

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