Destined to become the new heart of the university campus, the Rolex Learning Centre at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland is one of the main projects of the well-known Japanese office SANAA and architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa.
In an advanced stage of construction at the moment, the new Centre, which is the size of two football pitches, is a true structural and design challenge. It will include libraries, multimedia centres, cafeterias and research spaces in a – as the brief outlined - continuous layout, incorporating several views out towards the city and the nearby mountains.
In order to satisfy the client’s requirements and the building’s needs, the architects designed it using horizontally placed, parallel curved concrete slabs, which enclose the interior’s generous and completely column-free spaces. The large halls feature glass-enclosed patios, to provide extra natural light.
SANAA’s 'constructed landscape', as the Rolex Learning Centre has been described, was partly funded by the famous watch-manufacturing company, and is scheduled for completion this summer, with an official opening to follow up in the next academic year.