In the Swiss canton of Wallis a special breed of cattle, the Eringer cow, seasonally migrates between alpine meadows and the Rhone Valley grasslands. Before the journey, the cows challenge each other and fight to become the leader of the migrating herd. For centuries regional farmers, famous for their strong and ingenious tradition in common resource sharing, have cultivated these fights in so-called Stechfests. The Goler Arena aspires to become the center of this regional tradition.
The program seeks to combine the arena with an agrarian market hall that can house a variety of activities, such as fairs, meetings, exhibitions, and other seasonal festivities. In intensity, seasonality, and program this dynamic usage formed the departure point for the design that accommodates such diversity. The perimeter of the plot is surrounded by a double row of trees in order to create an interior space that blocks traffic noise and emphasizes the surrounding mountains. The arena is integrated into the topography using residual rocks and rubble from the many tunnels leading to the Rhone valley. During cow fights the resulting park landscape facilitates social interaction between farmers, visitors, and cows. When no festivities are planned it functions as a public park.