The Rolex Learning Center, one of Europe’s most ambitious new buildings for learning, designed by Japanese architectural practice, SANAA, will open at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne on February 22, 2010.
The Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, known by its French acronym EPFL, is one of Europe’s important centers for study and research in science, technology, engineering and architecture. The campus brings together over 10,000 students, professors, researchers, and entrepreneurs on a landmark site on Lake Geneva in Switzerland. EPFL is currently ranked number one in Europe in the international university rankings, alongside Cambridge, in the fields of Engineering, Technology and Computer Sciences.
The Rolex Learning Center, designed by SANAA, is conceived as a fully integrated learning environment, providing a seamless network of services, libraries, information gathering, social spaces, spaces to study, restaurants, cafes and beautiful outdoor spaces. It is a highly experimental building—essentially one fluid space with gentle slopes and terraces, undulating around a series of internal ‘patios,’ with almost invisible supports for its complex curving roof. The Center is scheduled to open to students and the public in February 2010, with an official opening ceremony planned for May 2010.
SANAA (Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates) was established in 1995 by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa, whose pioneering buildings represent an architecture that marries aesthetic simplicity with technical complexity. Their projects are open stages which make visible the connection between the built structure, the users, and the natural environment. SANAA’s most recent major project is the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. Other notable projects include the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art Kanazawa in Japan (2004), the Toledo Museum of Arts, Ohio (2006), the Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilion in London (2009) and the Louvre-Lens in France due to open in 2012.
Patrick Aebischer, President of EPFL, said: “The Rolex Learning Center, as the new campus hub, exemplifies our vision of a university where traditional boundaries between faculties are broken down, where mathematicians and engineers meet with neuroscientists and microtechnicians to envision new technologies that improve lives, and where the public is inspired and made welcome.”