Cable car station
Client : Compagnie du Mont-Blanc
Architect : Wilmotte & Associés SA
Structural, HVAC, and operational consultant : Er2i
Construction cost consultant : Watt
Area : 1,650 m² NFA
Construction of the cable car departure station.
Located at Chamonix town’s entrance, bordered by the Route Blanche (No. 506) to the south-east, and Rue du Lyret to the north-west, the cable car departure station is at the centre of the Place de l'Aiguille du Midi. This square is part of a larger housing project, "L'Aiguille du Midi", which plans for the creation of a tourist residence, hotel, and social housing. The plans allowed for a rotunda building to serve as a focal point at the centre of the square. The different entrances and functions of the building make it very porous: able to be penetrated from all sides, it connects the two sections of the square. A large canopy to the north affirms its public character and allows for the extension of cover over the square. A pedestrianised area was created under the canopy; it enables various functions to take place around the cable car. To the south, the building opens with a coffee bar giving onto a more intimate, green-wooded space. The building is thus organised around the original preserved structures (cable car station, machinery and platforms) – the historical, functional heart of the project. The new construction is set in a U-shape around the preserved section without impinging on it. A passage allows transition between the two architectural entities without altering their volumetric identities. The new juxtaposed with the old is characterised by an architecture of stone walls and cantilevered roof. The developed architecture brings into play the sensitive relationship between materials and massing: serenity, stability, and weather resistance, with sublime views of the mountains as backdrop. Stone walls give order to the entire project. As recurrent elements, these parallel walls ensure the homogeneity and layout of the entire space. Their ordered arrangement dictates the logic of the openings in the facades.