Text description provided by the architects. Aux Entrepôts is a new quarter in Renens in the Lausanne West region with angular, shimmering facades in green, yellow, aubergine, and red. HHF Architects winning entry for an invitational competition forms part of the new master plan Parc du Simplon. The Basel architects’ office has designed four three- and four-story buildings with varying square and rectangular typologies, all with vivid brick exteriors. The ruggedness and simplicity of the chosen bricks are evocative of the site’s industrial history, while the glazed surfaces of the bricks that measure 240 x 52 x 14 millimeters contribute to the lively atmosphere of the area.
Laid horizontally next to the wide windows with narrow frames, the bricks emphasize the glazing to create a band across the sharply cut exterior, whereas the vertical alignment on the remaining sections energizes the facade. This material’s inherent properties also make it maintenance-free, which together with social aspects including the bicycle storage next to the entrance are two of the reasons the project earned a DGNB certification.
Once you enter any of the buildings, you instantly know which one you are in, since the color concepts of the facade carry subtly through the interior spaces. Walls, floors, and stairs are uniformly grey, but the inner ceilings in semi-public spaces, such as the hallways and bicycle storage room, are painted green, yellow, aubergine, or red with a coverage rate of 20 percent. The paints are also applied on the underside of the spiraling concrete staircases, which together with the white-covered railings, creates a near-psychedelic effect towards the top floor window ceiling. The exterior hues are correspondingly applied on the windowsills, balcony fences, and retractable awnings.
The concept mixes different housing types and standards, from mini lofts designed for flexible use to family apartments to penthouse units with generous rooftop terraces. Facilities for the general public are teamed with the mini lofts, which are modeled on Dutch examples, to enliven the ground floor of the urban building ensemble: deep apartments with exceptional ceiling heights each combine a studio or workshop space with a living area, thus making them ideal for artists, students or young entrepreneurs who have the opportunity to open their first office here.
All four vibrant buildings contain a total of 70 dwelling units along with studios and retail space. The tenants of Aux Entrepôts moved in in June 2021, adding another layer of life to the area adjacent to the Renens Station.