An upwardly-winding, 2.8km long, continuous spiral connects the program and the inhabitants spatially and socially with each other. The public functions as well as the apartment units for 1’100 students and academic guests are placed in the 9-storey structure, creating a living city within the building. Before being a residence for students and academic guests, the building will host the athletes of the Youth Olympic Games in 2020.
The coexistence of the inhabitants is the driving concept of the design. The common path and the spiral-shaped organization allow an unmistakable feeling of togetherness, social contacts and exchange as well as solidarity within its residents. The public street leads to a common roof terrace with views over the lake of Geneva. Simultaneously, the courtyard offers a versatile area that can be used as stadium during the Olympic Games and as a theater, a promenade and a park when it will become the students’ residence. The circular shape reinforces the idea of "living together".
Campus UNIL / EPFL
Through its circular geometry, the building is read as a solitaire inside today’s empty field of ‘La Pala’. At the same time, its large-scale proportions also make it readable as an additional element and an extension of the existing university Campus. Furthermore, its characteristic form contributes to the modeling of the Lake Geneva landscape.
The courtyard is directly accessible from outside at several places through the permeable ground floor, making it part of the landscape and the campus. This is emphasized by the planting of trees in the courtyard, which is intended as a continuation and completion of the forest. Public program is placed on the ground floor enhancing spatial interaction between the inside and the outside.
Organization and cohabitation
All residential units are positioned in the spiral ramp as independent figures. In order to underline its detachment of the structure, the rectangular housing boxes are aligned perpendicularly, grouped and oriented towards the courtyard and the landscape. Together with the curved edge of the ramp they define a sequence of various private, semi-private and public outdoor spaces.
Elevators and staircases are accessible from the ground floor and the first floor, providing individual access to all floors. From the vertical cores, the ramp, slightly inclined at 1%, leads to the respective apartments. The continuous ramp connects the open courtyard with the public terrace on the roof in approximately 25 minutes.
The ramp, as an all-connecting element over all floors becomes a common path for the inhabitants of the building. It promotes cultural exchange, social inclusion and ideally creates a new society of solidarity.
Structure / Architecture
The spiral-shaped concrete ceiling characterizes and defines the concept and the expression of the building. Wooden pavilions executed in lightweight construction are placed into the structure and contain the housing units. From outside, the specific typologies are legible through their small-scale volumetric expression.
The shape of the ramp is overlaid with a strict and simple orthogonal grid in which the repetitive housing elements are placed. With the exception of the public program in the first floor and on the roof, all floors are organized identically. The load-bearing elements as well as the vertical conduits of the building services are on top of each other.
The placement of the units offers a variety of views into the courtyard and the surrounding landscape. The distinct spaces between living area and edge of the ramp are used for terraces, squares and paths available to the residents.
The building is supplied with renewable energy. All technical elements are accessible and large surfaces on the roof are occupied with solar panels. Prefabricated, modular wooden elements as well as sustainable materials are used for the lightweight boxes. The green courtyard and the roof offer big retention areas for the rain water. The social sustainability is achieved by the common areas on the roof terrace, the connecting spiral, the green courtyard as well as the affordable rent for the housing units itself.
Architecture / Design Firm, Planning:
Dürig AG, Zürich; Raphael Boesch, Joshua Brägger, Marta Codina, Clara San Millàn Cesteros, Jean-Pierre Dürig, Noélie Ernst-Sénéclauze, Denis Ferré, Lionel Jacquod, Simon Kempf, Alvaro Navas, Verena Nelles-Kempf, Josep Ribes, Linda Serra
Itten + Brechbühl SA, Lausanne; Daniel Beutler, Patrick Burgy, Joel Carter, Mario Dias, Britta Fehse, Paolo Figueiredo, Christophe Gauthier, Vasco Feorgiev, Stéphane Hacker, Robin Kirschke, Bao Phan, Philipp Reichen, Alexandre Sarazin, Guillaume Schobinger, Petra Stump Lys, Jean-David da Silva, Vincent Wolfensberger
uas unternehmen für architektur und städtebau ag, Zürich; Jean-Pierre Dürig, Simon Kempf, Josep Ribes
Daniel Beutler, Robin Kirschke, Philipp Reichen, Alexandre Sarazin, Guillaume Schobinger, Vincent Wolfensberger
Studio Vulkan Landschaftsarchitektur, Zürich;
Iulia Dobrovie, Simon Enemærke, Elisabeth Huber, Maja Leonelli, Lukas Schweingruber, Helen Yu
Hüsler et Associés, Lausanne
Maxime Bernhard, Christoph Hüsler