The Norwegian firm Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter has transformed the landscape of Alsace, France, through the reconquest of old railway tracks stretching between Roshein and Saint Nabor, turning them into a path equipped with installations and cultural pavilions.
The Chemin des Carrières – Quarries’ Track – were first built to connect the quarries of the area. They adapted to the undulating orography of the sub-Vosges hills, where they appeared and disappeared several times.
Besides transporting people, the railway had an industrial use. Such duality has been maintained in the sense that the new facility’s functional purpose does not preclude enjoyment of the trip and the nature around. The path is meant for tourists but also for the area’s own inhabitants, who can discover and contemplate new landscapes and find new ways of contemplating spots they are already familiar with.
Snaking a total of 11 kilometers on the terrain, the path tells a story in five chapters (Rosheim, Boersch, Leonardsau, Ottrott, and Saint Nabor) through landmarks that present different sceneries to enhance the experience and frame views, from labyrinths formed by concave and convex volumes that play with the landscape to a lookout point, supported by posts, that takes on curved forms, not to mention footbridges, benches, and various geometries planted along the path. In the entire project, CorTen steel is the main material and water appears over and over again.