The Rolex Learning Center, designed by leading Japanese architectural practice SANAA, has opened in Lausanne, Switzerland. Situated on the campus of the EPFL Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the centre will function as a cultural hub for both students and the public, featuring a library with half a million volumes.
What is particularly striking about this project is that the 20,000 square-metre interior is articulated as single, continuous fluid space, providing, as the institution’s press release puts it, ‘a seamless network of services, libraries, information gathering, social spaces, spaces to study, restaurants, cafés and beautiful outdoor spaces’.
There is something of the outside inside with this building, when one thinks of its geopraphical context. The EPFL campus is situated on a site that overlooks Lake Geneva and the Alps. The changing topography of this landscape, it could be argued, is echoed in the undulating interior landscape of this remarkable project, which was financed by the Swiss government in partnership with major Swiss businesses.