The much-awaited Plateforme10 arts district in Lausanne, Switzerland, was finally completed this summer with the opening of the new structure housing both the Photo Elysée (the Cantonal Museum for Photography) and mudac (Cantonal Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts). Designed by the Portuguese firm Aires Mateus and featuring a bold design, the new building, along with the neighboring (and also recently opened) Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts (project by Barozzi Veiga), are the core elements of the new arts district developed at the site of the former railway repair site next to Lausanne’s main train station.
The ambitious project aims to revitalize the city’s center with an appealing set of world class cultural institutions while also celebrating the location’s rich rail history, both buildings offering generous vistas towards the busy tracks. But as much as the striking architecture and the art offerings found inside them (the complex will hold two of Switzerland’s most important art collections: the Toms Pauli and Félix Valloton foundations. They will be a major draw to the area, the public esplanade between the buildings, the negative space so to speak, promises to be just as relevant a part of the project.
There is an active thoroughfare for locals on skateboards, bicycles and scooters, and the building is bordered to the North side by a restored arcade now housing restaurants, cafes, and shops. Since its opening, the expansive esplanade has already demonstrate its thriving spirit this summer with open air movie screenings (in partnership with the Locarno Film Festival) and more recently, on August 1st, hosting Switzerland’s president Ignazio Cassis as part of the celebrations of The Swiss National Day
By Paul Clemence, photographer, writer, author