Lausanne's topography has transformed the relationship of streets to buildings, creating the practical irrelevance of a consistent datum plane. In some parts of the city, streets are suspended and buildings buried in the ground. Buildings function as vertical passageways and bridges as multistory crossings. Moreover, the no-man's-land of obsolete industry that forms a ubiquitous buffer at the periphery of the late-20th-century city occurs, instead, in the very center of Lausanne, in the lowlands of the Flon Valley. This unusual condition allows for the implementation of the most contemporary activities in the very heart of the city. more
Programmatic and spatial transformations are the basis of the intervention. Instead of adopting the conservative strategy of concentrating only on the lower level of the valley, the project takes advantage of Lausanne's existing bridge typologies by radically extending them.
The scheme's primary spatial elements become the inhabited bridges. As functional supports, the four new structures augment the existing system of bridges and create a new density of spatial relationships and uses. Along the valley's north-south axis, the inhabited bridge-cities use the program to link two parts of the city that conflict in both scale and character. The inhabited bridges are both horizontal and vertical connectors, with ramps, escalators, and elevators that link the lower levels of the valley to the upper levels of the historical city. Each bridge accommodates two categories of use: in the core element, public or commercial use, and at the deck level, pedestrian traffic and related uses.
The individual programs applied to each of the four bridges give each a specific character that allows the inhabited bridge to function as an urban generator. The concept of the urban generator not only creates the possibility of new spatial links within the existing city, but also encourages unpredictable programmatic factors, or new urban events, that will inevitably appear in coming decades. back
Competition, 1st Prize, 1988
City of Lausanne, Switzerland
Lead Designer: Bernard Tschumi. Key Personnel: Luca Merlini, Christian Biecher, Phillippe Gavin, Ursula Kurz, Emmanuel Ventura. CAPC: Bernard Tschumi and Luca Merlini, Richter + Gut, Architram, Robert Young, Emmanuel Ventura, Marc Sautier, Hugh Dutton (RFR), J.H. Petignat back