A town can look so different depending on the time of our visit! Some buildings completely change their appearance when the streetlights are switched on. I invite you to discover some of my favourite spots in Lausanne as night falls.
Aquatis is the largest freshwater aquarium in Europe. It was built by the Richter Dahl Rocha architectural firm from Lausanne and opened in autumn 2017. The complex also houses a 143-room hotel. One hundred thousand aluminium discs are suspended on the building’s circular façade, recalling reflections on water or fish scales. And it’s truly as the sun sets that the building shines the brightest.
The Galfetti Tower was built at the Chauderon crossroads by architect Aurelio Galfetti in 1987. In its façade, dark grey granite cubes are inserted, creating a most interesting plastic-like effect. It’s clearly a construction that leaves no one indifferent as it contrasts so much with the surrounding buildings. When you stand in its centre and gaze upwards, it looks like a keyhole and thus, in the evening, the biggest keyhole in Lausanne lights up!
The MCBA, or Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts, moved into its new premises in 2019. It is now located right next to the Lausanne train station, in the Plateforme 10 District that will soon welcome other Lausanne museums. Its new building was designed by the firm of architects Barozzi/Veiga from Barcelona. This photogenic building offers itself to the discerning eye at every time of the day. When the sun is shining, the play of shadows is fascinating, while the illuminated entrance contrasts interestingly with the blueish light of the end of the day.
The Aula des Cèdres, listed as a historical monument, is a relatively unknown place, yet perfect to watch the sun set over Lake Geneva. It was built between 1959 and 1962 as a lecture hall for the Lausanne Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL, formerly EPUL). It’s the last work of Jean Tschumi, who founded and headed the EPUL’s School of Architecture and Urbanism. Its huge concrete roof angled upwards at both ends is a technical prowess. The building now houses the Canton of Vaud’s Teacher Training College (HEP).
The same beautiful view of the sunset, but in the livelier and more festive atmosphere typical of the Ouchy lakeside. It’s the perfect place to have a drink and watch the movements of boats… and skateboards. The stainless-steel sculpture is called “Ouverture au monde” (“Opening to the World”) and is the work of Spanish artist Ángel Duarte.
The UNIL and EPFL campus welcomes close to 25,000 students, making it the second-largest campus in Switzerland. The construction of the Vortex building, housing new students’ residences, began in 2017 and is the work of the architectural firm Dürig AG. Its particularity isn’t limited to its circular shape with a diameter of 137 metres, but also the striking fact that all the flats on all eight floors can be accessed from a single ramp that is 2.8 km long. In January 2020, the building first served as accommodation for more than 1,700 athletes from the world over for the Youth Olympic Games before its current use.
The Rolex Learning Center, housing EPFL’s library, was designed by the Japanese architectural bureau SANAA and opened in 2010. The building spans a single space of 20,000 m² with gentle undulations everywhere around a series of inner patios. Once night falls, these undulations are highlighted by the interior lighting.