HOUSE 1: a collaborative installation at EPFL campus in Lausanne

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HOUSE 1: a collaborative installation at EPFL campus in Lausanne
© Dylan Perrenoud

HOUSE 1 is an architectural installation based on an experimental format for collaborative design and construction by ALICE (Atelier de la Conception de l’Espace) – an international group of young architects and researchers, scientists, and doctoral candidates from the EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), led by the Director Dieter Dietz.

HOUSE 1: a collaborative installation at EPFL campus in Lausanne
© Dylan Perrenoud

Built initially as proto-structure (primary construction) during a 5-day workshop in April, HOUSE 1 is a 11m x 11m x 11m balloon-frame timber construct holding the ‘genetic code’ for future developments. The project involved over 200 students, who worked in groups under the close guidance of 12 studio directors and the wood engineer Rémy Meylan.

HOUSE 1: a collaborative installation at EPFL campus in Lausanne
© Dylan Perrenoud

In succession, each team was asked to design and realize a ROOM (a space intended for HABITATION), or a TRANSITIONAL SPACE providing CONNECTIVITY (porch, stairs, doorway).

HOUSE 1: a collaborative installation at EPFL campus in Lausanne
© Alessandra Ortelli

The boundaries that divide studio projects are blurry zones of negotiation over space, culture, and ideas. Accordingly, each project is strongly influenced by the others as it enters a multilayered discourse with its surroundings. The spatial experience of HOUSE 1 is therefore not that of a homogenous architecture; rather, it is an unfolding evolution of a space that invokes questions, contains possibilities, and is open for interpretation.

HOUSE 1: a collaborative installation at EPFL campus in Lausanne
© Dylan Perrenoud

Alexa den Hartog, one of the 12 studio directors responsible for making HOUSE 1 a feasible project, characterizes the proto-structure and its process of inhabitation as a “restricted physical and temporal – ever changing – landscape that only slowly solidified”. To quote Dieter Dietz, HOUSE 1 reveals its final form “not as something that is done from the top down but something we share.”

HOUSE 1: a collaborative installation at EPFL campus in Lausanne
© Dylan Perrenoud
HOUSE 1: a collaborative installation at EPFL campus in Lausanne
© Dylan Perrenoud

After four months of frenetic work and strong engagement, the project has been recently completed and is now open to visitors on the EPFL campus next to the Rolex Learning Center.

Project Details:

Location: Lausanne, Switzerland
Dimensions: 11 x 11 x 11 meters
Weight: 5 tons
Planning: 3 months preparations, 1 month construction
Architects: École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne – ALICE Studio (Atelier de la Conception de l’Espace)
Team: ALICE Studio – 1st year students (2016), Dieter Dietz, Daniel Zamarbide, Raffael Baur, Edouard Cabay, Laurent Chassot, Nicolas Durr, Margherita Del Grosso, Alexa den Hartog Stéphane Grandgirard, Patricia Guaita, Agathe Mignon, Andrea Pellacani, Laura Perez Lupi, Anne-Chantal Rufer, Wynd van der Woude with Thibaud Smith
Lead engineer timber construction: Rémy Meylan, architect & wood engineer Whood x Mug