Fribourg: The new BeauVi district is emerging

Fribourg: The new BeauVi district is emerging
Fribourg: The new BeauVi district is emerging

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Thirteen buildings, including two towers, for a total of 350 housing units: an ambitious project is entering its construction phase in the heart of Fribourg.

The new district aims to be focused on sustainability. It provides for the creation of large green and permeable spaces. © © mullerarchitecte/generated image

The new district aims to be focused on sustainability. It provides for the creation of large green and permeable spaces. © © mullerarchitecte/generated image

Published on 05/16/2024

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The ambitious FriGlâne project, renamed BeauVi, is entering its implementation phase in the heart of Fribourg. With its 350 housing units spread across 13 buildings including 2 towers, green spaces and a park, to which will be added commercial space and socio-cultural activities, it intends to offer “a new ideal of urban life”, according to its supporters. The details of its design were presented to the press on Thursday by the project owner, the Route de la Glâne consortium bringing together the insurer Helvetia and the Raiffeisen Pension Fund, owners of the land, as well as by the architects.

Ten years after its planning, work has just started and the first tenants should be able to move in at the end of 2027 (our edition of May 1, 2023). This imposing project had given rise to four oppositions, “including three which could be resolved by discussion and the last, lifted by the Prefecture of Sarine; the permit was issued in April 2023,” says Elise Guillaume, project manager at Helvetia. The total investment cost is estimated at “more than 150 million, borne equally by Raiffeisen and Helvetia,” according to Till Lokai, head of construction.

Diversity and sustainability

But why this name BeauVi? It echoes the location of this “small city” which will be built on a plot with a total perimeter of 17,000 m2, at the junction between the Beaumont and Vignettaz districts on the former Swisscom site. And it embodies the promise according to its designers of “an aesthetic and multigenerational space where life is good, focused on diversity and sustainability”. The site, located approximately 700 meters from the station, plans new connections to soft mobility.

“The district aims to focus on diversity, conviviality and sustainability”
The consortium

The varied habitats will be supplemented by commercial spaces, offices, or even “places with a socio-cultural vocation”, according to the consortium. Commercial spaces should be on the ground floor of houses adjoining roads and upstairs in tower blocks. Their assignment remains to be determined based on interest, each will be investigated separately, indicates architect Jean-Jacques Muller in Fribourg.

The district will be made up of “60% of buildings of 6 to 7 floors and 40% of buildings of up to 19 floors, including two towers peaking at 45 and 60 meters”. The 350 apartments offered for rental are planned for young people as well as seniors, couples or single people, with the aim of “promoting exchanges between generations. But more than 35% of apartments are 4 to 5.5 rooms, intended for families, in order to correspond to the needs identified by Friborg via a study on housing”, according to Gabriela Mazza, architect in Zurich. Several meeting spaces, including a courtyard or a play area, are planned to “encourage active community life”.

In addition, the district will offer a thousand spaces for bicycles and electric bikes, and 236 parking spaces in a basement car park – including 45 spaces for the neighboring building on Route du Châtelet. This is to free up space for the future Parc du Vallon. The management of this park created by the consortium will be taken over by the city, indicates Jean-Jacques Muller.

This new district aims to be focused on sustainability: it plans the creation of large-scale green spaces – with large trees, fruit trees, gardens or groves – as well as the significant increase in permeable surfaces, totaling with the future Vallon park approximately half a hectare. “These green areas should help reduce the ecological footprint as well as heat islands in the city and promote biodiversity,” hopes the consortium. The architects specify that “31 additional trees were planted, and the 7 removed will be replaced.” To bring a little freshness to everything, a fountain is planned in the heart of the district, “reversible” in winter into a scooter park for example, indicates Arnaud Gil, landscape architect.

Energetic efficiency

The annual energy consumption of the future district will be covered “more than 60% thanks to the valorization of local resources, including 22% coming from the recovery of energy from wastewater. And up to 40% through the connection to district heating established in the area,” explains Jean-Jacques Muller, who hopes that with families, the neighborhood will attract more than the estimated 700 inhabitants.

The roof of the buildings will be equipped with solar panels for “photovoltaic production of 400,000 kWh/year, corresponding to the consumption of approximately half of the apartments”. Completing this system, rainwater from the roofs in particular will be collected in order to ensure the watering of the exterior facilities.

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