Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Aquatis | Aquarium-Vivarium in Lausanne, Switzerland by Richter Dahl Rocha & Partner Architects
April 17th, 2018 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Richter Dahl Rocha & Partner Architects
Designed by the Richter Dahl Rocha & Associés Architects, the Aquatis complex is part of the Biopôle, a science-based science park in the north of Lausanne. The place is strategic, at the crossroads of the motorway bypass of the city with the new M2 line of the Lausanne metro, inaugurated in 2008. The set consists of a parking-relay on which are placed a hotel and the aquarium -vivarium City of fresh water, connected by a central mall that connects with the metro station «Lausanne-Vennes», and with the car park. Each building has its own identity, but contributes to the coherence of the whole.
The 1,200-seat car park is the structural basis of the project. Its atypical form marries the building’s perimeter. It also fits perfectly in the uneven terrain, offering a wide clearance to the south on its 3 levels. Property of the city of Lausanne, it was inaugurated in September 2010.
The hotel, with its 143 rooms of category 3 * superior, has a restaurant, a wellness area, and several conference rooms. Its singular shape in «L» delimits and highlights the central space of the platform. This space is the heart of the project, it hosts the aquarium, emblematic building of this city of fresh water. Its circular, organic shape gives it a unique identity and reflects its educational and cultural mission.
While the hotel’s screen-printed glass facades reflect the colors of the place and the vagaries of time, those of the aquarium sparkle with the wind. 100,000 aluminum discs hang from this facade, but remain mobile thanks to their fastening system. The effect produced by the wind sometimes evokes fish scales under the sun’s rays, sometimes waves on a body of water. The presence of water is found on the ground, between the two buildings, in an outdoor pool that only enriches this game of reflections. He also participates in the playful side of the place, oriented towards a family audience.
More than two million liters of fresh water, twenty different ecosystems, 10,000 fish and more than a hundred reptiles (transferred from the former vivarium of Lausanne) will offer the visitor a rich and varied route on the first 2 floors of the building. The ground floor is devoted to a large part to the technique, essential to the operation of aquariums and the care of animals. The rest of the ground floor is dedicated to welcoming visitors, lobby, shop, cloakroom, and restaurant, generously open to the south with a terrace overlooking the outside water. Pedagogical spaces on the first floor can accommodate classes, didactic extension of the visit.
Environmental aspect and sustainable development
As part of the construction of the complex, the concept of building physics and energy systems leads to a realization that fully meets the criteria of rational use of energy and going in the direction of sustainable development. The recommended materials are part of this process. The components of the «outer skin» of the buildings have also been optimized, both from the point of view of thermal performance and investment costs. Similarly, the connection to the district heating network of the Industrial Services of the City of Lausanne, which is based on the incineration of household waste, allows the use of a renewable energy, low greenhouse gas emissions. The cold production required for the entire complex is performed by high-performance equipment operating with environmentally neutral fluids and optimizing heat recovery. Centralized management of the two buildings of the platform optimizes the synergies of two types of users while ensuring a high reliability of operation of the technical equipment as well as an increased energy efficiency.
Richter Dahl Rocha architectes began in 1993 when Jacques Richter and Ignacio Dahl Rocha took over the previous generation’s practice of Richter et Gut. Their partnership followed a ten years friendship initiated in the USA while obtaining a Masters degree from Yale University.
Kenneth Ross (with the office from the very beginning) together with Christian Leibbrandt (who joined them soon after) lead architectural project teams. Manuel Perez (who joined the practice in 2005) leads the Construction Management team.
The practice believes in an architecture rooted in the social and urban context, detached from fashion and inspired by the historical and cultural context. Combining creativity and professionalism and covering all areas of architectural, urban and interior design services, this last area in particular being the responsibility of RDR design SA, opened in 2000.
All phases of the design process are covered, from preliminary studies through to construction and site management, where exacting the highest standards has become an integral part of their reputation.
RDR arquitectos opened in 2005, is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and works in close collaboration with the Lausanne office. Aimed at facilitating a rich personal and cultural exchange whilst promoting a technological and know-how transfer between the two entities.