Architects_ Dominique Perrault Architecture
Location_ Lausanne, Switzerland
Area_ 223000 sqm
The ME building, which its essence is Science; has a three-dimensional grid which divides its space in a controlled way, regardless of type or purpose.
The façades combine two distinct architectural styles in one common material. The metallic mesh, on the one hand, evokes the scope of mechanical engineering, while the northern façade is a direct reference to the molding envelopes of the neighboring buildings.
The mechanical façade stands to the East, South and West of the building. The shape and dimensions of its modules, were prebuilt in a factory before assembly.
Each module is made up of two superimposed layers: an inner skin offering thermal insulation and soundproofing, and an outer solar protection, consisting of a frame holding a metallic mesh.
The modules are divided into three vertical panels, two of which are sliding and one static. The sliding modules can be deployed in front of the glass panes or superimposed on the third one. For thermal optimization purposes, the mobile panels are generally operated through building automation system, but they can also be maneuvered manually. The third module remains in a fixed position on top of the opaque façade panel.
The metallic mesh panels are tilted away from the façade by a 5° angle, with different slants; this juxtaposition of oblique planes looks like a woven pattern, or a hinge seen on a macro level. The raw material used to build these automated components denotes the building’s purpose as a space for scientific experiment. At night, the indoor lighting system amplifies these contrasts by showing the general layout, turning the hall into a lighthouse for the campus. With its blinds, the slant of the frames and the weave of the mesh, and the visual clash between the threshold and the outer panels, the building offers a range of rich and contrasting perceptions.
For the historic façade, wide horizontal glazings are mounted above an opaque apron made of horizontal stamped sheet metal. The outer shell provides insulation, while blinds serve as solar protection for the windows.