Bâtiment des Sciences de la Vie, UNIL

UNIL, Lausanne
17.000 sqm

The new Life Sciences building for the University of Lausanne is situated on the highest point of the university campus. The building is elevated above the terrain. As a result, the existing topography of the site is hardly untouched. The elevation of the building allows for the creation of la Chambre: a new green covered public external ‘room’ at the very heart of the building. La Chambre forms the central meeting space for students, researchers, staff and visitors. It marks and celebrates the highest point of the undulating landscape and frames the spectacular views over Lake Geneva and the Alps mountain range beyond.

The building is compact and efficient with a clear and simple organisation of spaces, structure, installations, routes and logistics. The program has been organised as a stacking of functions. Each of the four levels contains a singular department with the research laboratories on the top two floors and the educational departments on the floors below. Patio’s, voids and openings in the building establish views and connections between the different levels, to the sky above and to la Chambre and the landscape below.

The design was the result of a collaboration between KAAN architects and Koen van Velsen architects.