- Client: Fondation Aquatis, Boas Construction SA, Grisoni Zaugg SA
- Team Lausanne: Acques Richter, Ignacio Dahl Rocha, Manuel Perez, Nuno Santos Pareira, Nicolas Braem, Audran Valloggia, Adrien Barakat, Carine Nilson, Mathieu Gendron, Marco Turin
- Sanitary Engineer: H. Schumacher
- Scenography: AAB Atelier Artistique de Béton
- Structural Engineering: INGENI SA
- Aquarium Vivarium: 7'900 m2
- Hotel * * * | 143 Rooms: 8'800 m2
- Parking: 1200 parking places
- Sanitary Engineer: H. Schumacher SA
- City: Lausanne
- Country: Switzerland
Text description provided by the architects. Designed by the Richter Dahl Rocha & Associés firm of architects, the Aquatis Complex is part of the Biopôle, a science park centred on life sciences, developing fast in the northern area of Lausanne. It is a strategic location, where the orbital motorway around the city intersects with the new M2 Lausanne Metro line, opened in 2008. The development consists of an area with a car park and Park & Ride, where there is a hotel and the “Cité de l’Eau Douce” Aquarium/Vivarium, linked by a central mall that offers access both to the “Lausanne-Vennes” metro station and to the car park. Each building has its own identity, but is part of a coherent whole.
The 1200-place car park forms the structural basis of the project. Its unusual shape follows the built-up area of the site. It also follows the contours of the terrain, and has wide open views to the southern side on all three levels. It belongs to the city of Lausanne, and opened in September 2010.
The hotel, with its 143 3* superior rooms, has a restaurant, a wellness area, and several conference rooms. Its special “L” shape forms the boundary of the hub’s central area, and shows it off to best advantage. This space is the heart of the project – it houses the aquarium, the building that is emblematic of this freshwater complex. Its organic, circular shape gives it a unique identity, reflecting its teaching and cultural missions.
While the silk-screened glass façades of the hotel reflect the colours of the surrounding area and the vagaries of the weather, those of the aquarium shimmer as the wind moves them. One hundred thousand aluminium discs are suspended from this façade, but they remain mobile due to their fixings. The effect caused by the wind looks like fish scales shining in the sun, or like waves on a body of water. There is water there at ground level, between the two buildings, in an outdoor pool which adds to this reflected play of light. It also contributes to the leisure aspect of the area, aimed at families.
More than two million litres of fresh water, twenty different ecosystems, 10,000 fish and more than one hundred reptiles (transferred from the old vivarium in Lausanne) will offer the visitor rich and varied surroundings in the first two storeys of the building. The ground floor is devoted largely to technology, essential to the functioning of the aquariums and the care of the creatures. The rest of the ground floor provides a reception area for visitors, an entrance hall, shop, cloakroom and restaurant, with wide open views to the south with a terrace that looks out over the outdoor pool. Teaching areas on the first floor enable school parties to be accommodated, extending the educational aspect to the visit.
Environmental and sustainable development aspects:
Part of the construction of the complex was the physical design of the building and the energy systems to provide an implementation fulfilling all the criteria for a rational useof energy, working towards sustainable development. The recommended materials fall within this approach. The components of the “exterior skin” of the buildings have also been upgraded, to improve both thermal performance and investment costs. In the same way, the link to the Services Industriels de la Ville de Lausanne (City of Lausanne Industrial Services) remote heating network, which uses the incineration of household waste, enables the use of renewable energy, with low greenhouse gas emissions. The production of cold needed for air-conditioning the whole complex is achieved by high-performance equipment, functioning with environmentally-neutral fluids and optimising heat recovery. Central management of the two buildings in the hub optimises the synergies of the two types of user, while ensuring very reliable functioning of the technical equipment as well as increased energy efficiency.