Rolex Learning Centre in The Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Designed by Japanese studio SANAA, by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, the Rolex Learning Center is a highly experimental building, designed for new ways of learning and new forms of interaction that characterise the 21st century.
and the new forms of interaction that characterise the 21st century. Located on the EPFL campus, the building is essentially a continuous structure, spread over an area of 88,000 square metres; it has a rectangular plan, but actually reveals a much more organic form, thanks to the way in which the roof and floor, always in parallel, create a gentle undulation.
Through the use of few visible elements, it touches the ground lightly, leaving, at ground level, an expanding space that leads visitors towards the central entrance.
Inside, the presence of “hills”, depressions and slight reliefs formed by the undulation of the floor, make the boundaries impalpable and almost invisible; instead of stairs and steps, there are gentle slopes and steps. Each area of activity, in the absence of partition walls, opens up towards another, without interruption.
The shape of the building defines the space around and within it. Form and function are united in a single spatial logic. By stressing the shape of the building, according to several independent variables such as function and structure, a simple rectangular footprint becomes a generator of incredible spaces. The shape of the building is itself a structure, the material of which defines its static characteristics and the perception of the building.