TERRACED CANOPY EMBRACING NATURE AND PEOPLE

Our proposed extension to the Unithèque at the University of Lausanne is conceived as a sequence of five canopies. Similar to the gesture of the existing library, the proposed canopies connect and separate the internal functions of the library. The intersection in plan and section generates a series of interconnected terraces and pavilions engaging and solving the separation between architecture and landscape. The five canopies liberate the direct and physical connection between the existing forest and to the distant views beyond. The proposed pavilions disperse and connect to the existing complex, creating a new credible pedestrian campus in Dorigny.

The proposed extension deploys a curvilinear gesture that sponsors self-generating figures within the landscape. The curves of the proposed extension carefully complement the existing form while allowing each pavilion to develop a sense of autonomy. This approach produces four seemingly independent structures that function as one, which in turn increases the sense of urban conviviality on the site.

The resulting complex of the five canopies merge with the landscape can evolve over time into a new academic cloister. In the future, a sixth pavilion could be planned and integrated at the southeast corner – by connecting the fifth pavilion and the rectory building. The terraced open plan, shaped by ramps, steps, and stairs allows for a flexible interior that can easily be adjusted to accommodate different programs and future arrangements.

An important feature of our proposition is the relocation of the main entrance of the library from the south façade to the southwest corner, near the Napoleon Oak. This entrance is intentionally removed from the previous one and will catalyze campus circulation. The entry pavilion is made more visible by separating it from the main library, giving visitors a better and more immediate understanding of the circulation of the site and buildings. The entrance canopy leads into a short tunnel through the landscape and opens to the security, information and circulation desk. This circulation desk will serve both the existing and the new library.

The four above ground pavilions will contain exhibition space, conference rooms, standard reading and workspaces, group workspaces, stacks, and classrooms. We opportunistically place workspaces and reading areas along the facades of the extension to provide those spaces with direct sunlight and the commanding views. Bookshelves, classrooms, and more private study carrels are distributed towards the interior of the building to give them more intimacy. The furthest northeast pavilion contains mostly public programs such as shops, a café, and cultural activity rooms. These programs are to be apart from the major circulation for library. The buried part of the pavilions serve as storage for the collections and are restricted access. The underground pavilions will have access provided to them through circulation cores on the ground floor of the new library and through the existing loading/receiving dock in the existing library.

The distribution and aggregation of the five canopies sponsor an exterior courtyard which is accessible to the students, staff, and faculty to enjoy this unique union between natural landscape and built landscape. This courtyard is also essential for the preservation of existing vistas to the mountain and to Lake Geneva from the existing Unithèque, while also providing equally spectacular views from the proposed extension to the north. This courtyard can be by the public from the southwest corner, the northeast corner of the site, and from the gap between four pavilions above ground.

Each pavilion has a unique relationship to the ground, offering a variety of experiences of the surrounding topography as well as stunning panoramas of the Alps. Structurally, the building has three systems: a sunken concrete plinth, a wood structured canopy supporting the roof plate, and load-bearing timber mullions along the façade. The structural columns for the roofs of the pavilions follow a non-uniform, triangulated beam system, which allows for open flexible and perimeter circulation. Like the wooded landscape to the north, the columns and timber mullions are conceived as a forest. The floor and walls are proposed as polished concrete to create a gentle juxtaposition between ground, forest, and sky.

The excavated terraced pavilions are deployed to thermally regulate and reduce energy consumption by maximizing passive solar heat gain to open-access areas. Compared to the existing library’s depth of 30 meters, the max depth of the proposed extension is 20 meters. This 10-meter difference assures daylight will reach the full depth of the building even during winter’s low sun. In the winter, when the ground is warmer than the air, the surrounding ground will insulate the buried concrete plinth. In the summer, when ground is cooler than the air, the building will receive natural conductive cooling. These techniques will reduce the overall energy loads required by the library. Natural convective heating and cooling will occur between the areas around the sunken ground floor and the areas with the most glazing surface area. The natural movement of air throughout the building will help also reduce upfront costs on mechanical ventilation and long-term energy costs on powering the equipment.

The remaining mechanical ventilation will be installed in the restricted access areas of the basement and ducts will bring air to the main floor through the floor plate. By installing the units in the basement, the equipment can me more easily maintained, and it will eliminate the need for overhead ducts in the main library floor.

Our proposition for UNIL is conceived to bridge historical dichotomies between the natural and the manmade, the orthogonal and the fractal, and the individual and the collective.

© 2016 NO ARCHITECTURE, PLLC PROJECT: Library, café, conference, office TYPE: Competition SIZE: 13,900 m² (149,618 ft²) CLIENT: UNIL COLLABORATORS: Buro Happold LOCATION: Lausanne, Switzerland STATUS: Concept VALUE: 73 million CHF KEY PERSON: Andrew Heid, Jie Xie TEAM: Daniel Bayne, Yawen Jin, Jean Lien, Jialin Yuan, Daniel Zuvia

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