Pole position: Lausanne prepares for Pôle Muséal, a major new cultural hub

Pole position: Lausanne prepares for Pôle Muséal, a major new cultural hub

Lausanne’s Pôle Muséal (or ‘Museum Centre’) promises an impressive hat-trick for the Swiss city. Not only will it combine three of the city’s major art and design museums in a brand new, single cultural district entitled Plateforme10 (the identity branding for which – by ECAL graduate and graphic designer Régis Tosetti in collaboration with Simon Palmieri – has just been revealed), but the three instituions will also recieve new homes as part of the project.

Located just next to the main train station, on a neglected site at the city’s heart, Plateforme10 promises to be a central attraction for Lausanne. Its key aspect, explain the organisers, is ’an open terrace, an esplanade revealing the scope of the emerging district devoted to the fine arts, design and photography’.

In the meantime, Spanish/Italian architects Barozzi/Veiga have been hard at work on a design for the Musée Cantonal des Beux-Arts building. The architects hope their design will help define the urban area around it, bringing it back to life, using the backdrop of the museum’s monolithic structure.

At the same time, their Portuguese colleagues Aires Mateus have been developing a nearby, separate structure that will co-house the Musée de l’Elysée photography museum and the Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts. The two uses will sit together harmoniously, creating a coherent experience for the visitor. The structure is perceived from the exterior as a simple volume defined by the way lighting it used on its façade.

Both architects won their respective commissions through international competitions and were praised for their strength, clarity and simplicity. A new urban plaza will visually and spatially unite the three new museums, also helping to revitalise the old railway site.

The large-scale scheme, which spans an impressive 22,000 sq m, is expected to complete around 2020.

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