Post By:Kitticoon Poopong
Photo © Courtesy of Roland Halbe--The curving, elevated forms of SANAA's Rolex Learning Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, defy traditional ideas about building.
SANAA’s much-anticipated Rolex Learning Center calls into question long-standing views about architecture.
What makes a great building? The ancients seemed to think it had something to do with proportion and symmetry. That belief pretty much persisted through to the last century, when some of the most memorable buildings were the ones that broke completely with those Classical tenets.
Photo © Courtesy of Roland Halbe--Seen from the northeast, the one-story structure is the new center of EPFL's small campus.
Photo © Courtesy of Roland Halbe--The roof runs parallel to the waves of the concrete floor slab below. Laser-cut wood beams, each unique, form the curving portions of the roof.
Photo © Courtesy of Roland Halbe--The south façade is the most complex structurally. A pair of hills corresponds to the auditorium and the largest patio.
It’s hard to resist likening the structure to a thick-cut slice of Swiss cheese, its rectangular form punctuated by a dozen or so variously-sized holes, or patios, as the architects call them. The patios bring daylight to all areas of the building, and the larger ones serve as entrances where their sloping forms touch the ground. To access them, visitors walk past the impenetrable glass facades and slip beneath one of the building’s peaks. It’s an unorthodox, but strangely evocative procession that also exposes the glossy underside of the rippled floor slab’s concrete.
Photo © Courtesy of Roland Halbe--The larger patios serve as entrances where their sloping forms touch the ground.
Photo © Courtesy of Roland Halbe--Terraces provide flat surfaces for tables in the library, seen here, and restaurant. The library contains more than 500,000 volumes.
Photo © Courtesy of Roland Halbe--Glass-enclosed work areas, referred to as “bubbles,” allow students private space for group study and debate.
Photo © Courtesy of Roland Halbe--Enclosed circular spaces act as research and administrative offices.
A series of student work spaces, referred to as “bubbles,” use glass to create privacy. Unfortunately, it’s not the precisely curved glass of SANAA’s Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio [record, January 2007, page 78] or the swirling acrylic of its Derek Lam Shop in New York City [record, September 2009, page 78]. Cost constraints dictated that the bubbles be fitted with less expensive, less transparent, straight panels—a surprise, given the list of donors who funded the $100 million project, led by the Learning Center’s illustrious namesake.
ground floor plan--drawing Courtesy of SANAA
sections--drawing Courtesy of SANAA
detail section--drawing Courtesy of SANAA
EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)
Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA
1-5-27 Tatsumi, Koto-ku
135-0053 Tokyo, JAPAN
Team: Yumiko Yamada, Rikiya Yamamoto, Osamu Kato, Mizuko Kaji, Naoto Noguchi, Takayuki Hasegawa, Louis-Antoine Grego
Total Service Contractor
Losinger Construction SA
*Bernard Chauvet, Directeur Délégué Agence valdo-genevoise
*Eric Maïno, Directeur Exploitation
*Cédric Luce, Chef de Service Adjoint
Botta Management Group AG
*Charles R. Botta, President, CEO
*Pierre Eller, Project Manager
*François Vuillomenet, Associate
*Dominik Buxtorf, Associate
Structural Base Concept
SAPS / Sasaki and Partners
*Ayumi Isozaki, Hirotoshi Komatsu, Hideaki Hamada
B+G Ingenieure Bollinger und Grohmann GmbH
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Walther Mory Maier Bauingenieure AG
BG Ingénieurs Conseils SA
Losinger Construction SA
Mechanical/HVAC Engineer :
Scherler Ingénieurs-Conseils SA
Emmer Pfenninger Partner AG
BG Ingénieurs Conseils SA
Measurement, Control Regulation (MCR):
Consulting Energy Control SA
Karakas & Français SA
The ProductsStructural System
Civil Works, including foundation and piles: Losinger Construction SA (Bussigny, Switzerland)
Concrete for “shell” provided by: Holcim SA, (Bussigny, Switzerland)
Pre-stressed cables: Freyssinet SA (Moudon, Swizerland)
Roof steel beams, columns, braces: SOTTAS SA (Bulle, Switzerland)
Roofwood beams: Ducret-Orges SA (Orges, Switzerland)
Electrical: EP Electricité SA (Genève, Switerland)
Electrical: Etablissements Techniques Fragnière SA (Bulle, Switzerland)
Ventilation and Measurements, Controls, Regulation: Consortium Alvazzi / Atel (Crissier, Switzerland)
Floor heating: Baruchli SA (Lausanne, Switzerland)
Sanitary, Plumbing: Riedo Clima SA (Bulle, Switzerland)
Architectural lighting on main level: Zumtobel Lumière SA (Romanel-sur-Lausanne, Switzerland)
Glass façade system with anodized aluminum facia and sun protection box: Roschmann Konstruktionen aus Stahl und Glas GmbH (Gersthofen, Germany)
Louver sun protection: WAREMA Schweiz GmbH (Littau, Switzerland)
Sika Sarnafil flexible waterproof membrane roof surface: Pilatus Flachdach AG (Samstagern, Switzerland)
Concrete walkway covers: Losinger Construction SA (Bussigny, Switzerland)
Screed: LIROM Chapes SA (Le Landeron, Switzerland)
Carpet flooring: Interior Services SA – Pfister (Etoy, Switzerland)
BASWAphon mineral plaster acoustic ceiling: Clément Peinture SA (Fribourg, Switzerland)
Plasterboard + paint on “bubbles”: DUCA SA (Cheseaux-sur-Lausanne, Switzerland)
Expanded metal partitions: R. Morand & Fils SA (La Tour-de-Trême, Switzerland)
Steel railings with polycarbonate, or expanded metal infill: R. Morand & Fils SA (La Tour-de-Trême, Switzerland)
Curved glass for Credit Suisse and flat glass for meeting rooms: GLAS TRÖSCH AG (Bützberg,Switzerland)
Inclined elevator: Weiermann Systems AG (Wynigen, Switzerland)
Information desks in anodized aluminum + acrylic: Actoform SA (Ecublens, Switzerland)
Anodized aluminum library bookshelves with lamps: Unifor Spa (Turate, Italy)
Student work tables with lamps: Developed by Schoch Werkhaus AG (Winterthur, Switzerland)
Glass precious books collection case: Bodenmann J. SA (Le Brassus, Switzerland)
SANAA Flower Chair: Vitra AG (Birsfelden, Switzerland)
Vitra office furniture: Teo Jakob Tagliabue SA (Geneva-Carouge, Switzerland)
Fritz Hansen tables and chairs: Batiplus SA (Lutry, Switzerland)
Mobile cushions: IDEE (Tokyo, Japan)