Lausanne Opera House

The modern city

Until 1850, almost all of Lausanne stood within the medieval wall. As the population grew, more living space was created by adding stories to the existing houses or dividing large rooms into several smaller ones. Traffic continued along the narrow ways that crossed the rivers at points where the valley sides were closest.

Since 1850 Lausanne began a very rapid expansion. The first of several important civil engineering projects was the construction in 1844 of the Grand-Pont, link in the almost level circuit. In 1856 when the railway arrived in Lausanne, the increased need for transport led to the construction of the cable railway between the station and the lake. The river Flon was covered over, to create a new industrial and commercial district.

Three figures show Lausanne's population growth: 15,000 in 1850, 65,000 in 1910, 120,000 in 1999. From 1870 onwards intensive building took place outside the Old Town, without any guiding plan until 1905. The quarter of Georgette for example, like the one below the station, is made up partly of individual apartment buildings, partly of a continuous street frontage. Schools, churches, or hotels reflect the newer architectural projects of the time, while many of the constructions in the centre were erected after massive demolition of ancient buildings. This expansion of Lausanne has continued all through the 20th century, not always with the happiest results.

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