Setting the tone for the future

Stage one of colourful transformation of Ecole Polytechnique Fédéral de Lausanne by Dominique Perrault now complete

by Sian 20 November 2013
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    Enriched with vibrant hues, the BI Building at Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne (EPFL) houses most of the institution’s central services (human resources, financial services, Vice President planning and logistics, etc.) in addition to a post office. The transformation of the former library is the first step in the realisation of an urban development plan that Dominique Perrault has designed across the entire campus.

    In addition to the BI Building, this plan includes transforming the former mechanical engineering halls (ME) into an ambitious building that will house the Center for Neuroprosthetics (CNP). This second project will be completed by February 2015. Finally, in order to complete the restructuring of the campus pedestrian routes as well as to fulfil a need for learning spaces, the French architect has devised a ‘Teaching Bridge’ over Piccard Street, currently in draft stage.

    Decked out with colourful facades, the BI building vividly marks the entrance to a privileged axis of pedestrian and cyclist flow at EPFL, bringing together the Rolex Learning Center, the m1 metro station and the future Congress Center, also under construction at the moment. Moreover, it boasts a relaxing fully glazed convivial area with a terrace and stunning views of the vaults of the Rolex Learning Center.

    The transformation of the old mechanics hall and the central library of EPFL was awarded to Karl Steiner company for the project of Dominique Perrault. The buildings will house the Neuroprothetic Centre, as well as administrative offices. The Neuroprothetic Centre was launched end 2008 and is co-financed by the foundations Bertarelli and Defitec (Borel family).

    The project follows to a certain extent the construction of the Rolex Learning Center, since the contents of the central library was transferred to this new flagship building of the school, thus liberating important volumes. This will allow the institution to regroup a part of the school’s central services and create several new laboratories for students of the Engineering and Science Faculties. The Neuroprothetic Centre will thus have dedicated space.

    “The selected project seduced us because it establishes a strong link between the old buildings of the campus and the new constructions in the South,” explains Francis-Luc Perret, EPFL vice-president, in charge of real estate and president of the jury. “The architect created a new lively space, located between the Rolex Learning Center and the congress centre, currently under construction in the North.”

    In a second phase, an ambitious construction, the highest of the campus, could be built above Avenue Picard, which is crossing the site from south to north. Called ‘Teaching Bridge’ by the architect, the structure will show several levels dedicated to teaching purposes. 

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