The campus of the École Polytechnique Fédérale elite university in Lausanne, Switzerland has been extended by another spectacular building. In the immediate vicinity of SANAA‘s Rolex Learning Center and Dominique Perrault‘s Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, stands ArtLab, designed by Kengo Kuma and Associates. The 235 m long building with its striking slate roof tapers continuously from 16 to just 5 m wide, allowing an unobstructed view of nearby Lake Geneva.
ArtLab accommodates three exhibition areas under one roof. Concert recordings of the famous jazz festival of past decades are archived in the ‘Montreux Jazz Festival Heritage Lab‘ with attached café. The subject of light in the context of works of art by Pierre Soulange forms the focal point of the middle exhibition area. The final space ‘Datasquare‘ focuses on ‘Big Data‘. The structure of ArtLab was realized as a hybrid construction of galvanized steel and glulam timber. A 3.8 m grid, with a total of 57 hybrid frames form the main structure.
Perforated hot dip galvanized steel profiles are used to sandwich glulam timber to offer extra rigidity that results in a slender profile, this also provides a subtle finish to the frames. The slate covered roof transfigures like origami to create the ‘living under one roof‘ concept that the architects were trying to acheive.