New mechanics hall at EPFL by Dominique Perrault Architecture

New mechanics hall at EPFL by Dominique Perrault ArchitectureImage courtesy of Dominique Perrault Architecture

New mechanics hall at EPFL by Dominique Perrault Architecture

Science is the essence of the new ME building. With this architectural project using industrial components and data processing technologies while preserving the circulation network and the structural grid established by the original master plan, the mechanics hall is a new milestone in the history of the EPFL campus. Dominique Perrault Architecte / Steiner team’s project is an opportunity to reconsider the operation of the campus and the use of its central circulation axis, giving it a broader urban scope.

 

New mechanics hall at EPFL by Dominique Perrault ArchitectureImage courtesy of Dominique Perrault Architecture

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The previous structure was constructed by the Zweifel + Stricker + Associates team in the early 70s, during the campus’ first phase of development. Since the early 2000s, in an effort to promote its top-level teaching, research and innovation activities, and to attract more international students, the EPFL itself undertook several redevelopment operations. The campus and the buildings were refurbished, including the ME building which had gradually become cramped and was rapidly deteriorating. The project of the architects aims to preserve the connecting axes that bridge the campus, while demolishing the aging halls.

 

New mechanics hall at EPFL by Dominique Perrault ArchitectureImage courtesy of Dominique Perrault Architecture

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A new rectangular hall is wedged to the “bridge” buildings, which are left as is, save for a refurbishment of their two lower levels. Conceived as “a large-scale experimental playground”, the scheme consists of two wings connected by a large central atrium. In functional terms, the wings can be considered as two separate buildings, with their own technical and circulation networks. The materials used (raw concrete and metal walls, cement and PVC floors) favor a simple black-and-white palette in matt and glossy finishes. The opaque walls and glass screens create a set of perspectives into the depths of the building, turning any walk along the corridors into an original experience.

 

New mechanics hall at EPFL by Dominique Perrault ArchitectureImage courtesy of Dominique Perrault Architecture

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Individual offices occupy a peripheral strip along the external façade. This one comprises a mesh that evokes an appropriate sense of mechanics and engineering at work. Its modules were pre-built in a factory before assembly, and are made up of two layers: an inner skin offering thermal insulation and soundproofing, and an outer envelope ensuring solar protection. They are divided into three vertical panels too, two of which can slide laterally, allowing them to be deployed in front of the glass panes.

 

more. perraultarchitecture.com

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