An Art Depot in Lausanne

John Hill
24. October 2019
Photo: Simon Menges

The new Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts (MCBA) opened in Lausanne, Switzerland, on October 5. The building designed by Barcelona's Barozzi / Veiga sits next to railway yards and actually reuses part of a former train shed.

Cyril Schmidiger has the in-depth story on the building at Swiss-Architects (in German), but suffice to say here that it was an overly long process that involved numerous building sites, fierce opposition from locals, and delays every step of the way. The building that opened a few weeks ago is located on land donated by Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), land that is large enough for two other museums — Musée de l'Elysée and Musée de design et d'arts appliqués contemporains (MUDAC) — to make the move to this part of town and create a cultural hub next to the railway tracks.

MCBA is the first of the three museums to open at the so-called Platform 10 site. (Photo: Simon Menges)
The site plan shows how the rectilinear museum backs up against the tracks; the bump is the old railway shed incorporated into the new building.
The first floor plan makes it clear how the old shed determined the primary vertical circulation for the building, with galleries flanking both sides of the atrium and stairs.
This photo is a reverse of the photo at top, in which the arched window looks toward the adjacent railway tracks. (Photo: Simon Menges)
Elsewhere in the museum, one of the few windows in the museum frames another side of the tracks. (Photo: Simon Menges)

A time lapse of the buildings 2.5-year construction in one minute:

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