2021 seems to be the year for a fresh new start and its calendar is already lined up with a series of great events we were forced to forego this past year. Among them, the Olympics of Tokyo (originally planned for 2020 and postponed until 2021) are already shaping up to be the most important Olympic Games of all time. While waiting for the Olympic torch to leave Fukushima on March 25, the world of architecture follows the construction sites that will transform the face of Tokyo, beginning from the already complete Olympic Stadium designed by Kengo Kuma. In the meantime, the rest of the world is busy constructing their own sporting venues with the hopes of filling them as soon as possible. This is exactly the case here at the Centre sportif de la Tuilière, a new stadium in the city of Lausanne, Switzerland. As architects of the Swiss school have so often accustomed us, the building in question is located far from the urban fabric of the city, where its exposed concrete contrasts with the natural greenery in the open countryside.
The home of FC Lausanne-Sport is signed off by MLZD and Sollberger Bögli Architects, flaunting a design that recounts the function it hosts. From the outside, the stadium is presented like a tray capped by giant black beams with four folded angles along the sides — an ingenious solution that helps adapt the building’s design to the reduced dimensions of the site. The designers then created a form that would both distinguish the project and respond to diverse necessities, including the structural aspect: the four corners work by traction on the upper beams of the stadium, lending rigidity to external walls.
While the exterior is imposing, the design of its interiors was kept extremely minimal, allowing both the field and players to take their place center stage. After passing through the entrance, large covered spaces distribute the crowd, which is led to the stands through stairs placed in the corners. No architectural detail distracts from the competition and each element precisely follows the stadium’s inclination. A large roof covers fans and is placed relatively low, further amplifying the roar of the crowd. In the highest section, the parts that compose the building are lightened and enclosed with a gallery in glass — a material that interrupts the monotony of the concrete from outside.
While the beams and concrete stands characterize the elevations of three sides, a large glass wall to the west illuminates the main seating area, served by a cloakroom, press area and VIP spaces arranged across three floors. Fragmented in folds of glass, the western elevation appears as a light curtain wall, suspending the hard monumentality that has characterized architecture until now.