Treed tower set to rise west of Lausanne

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Malcolm Curtis - [email protected]
Treed tower set to rise west of Lausanne
Image: Stefano Boeri Architetti

A design for a “forested” 35-storey apartment and office tower covered with trees and shrubbery on terraces at every level has been selected for a suburb west of Lausanne, following a competition.


The “Terraces des Cèdres” building proposed by Milan architect Stefano Boeri was unanimously picked by a jury for a redevelopment project in Chavannes-près-Renens, officials said on Tuesday.

The 117-metre-tall tower will include six floors for offices and 29 floors for 195 residential units, ranging from two to five rooms.

It is expected to house around 400 people in a mix of rental apartments and condominiums for sale.

The top floor is reserved for a panoramic restaurant or café, according to the promoters Bernard Nicod and Avni Orlatti, who are investing a reported 200 million francs in the project.

“This tower is exceptional because it is innovative in the way of living high above ground,” Claude Daetwyler, the chairman of the jury and the head of municipal planning for Chavannes-près-Chavanne, the ATS news agency reported.

Oak trees, maples and cedars are planned for the building with a system designed by an Italian landscape expert to store rainwater for self-watering of the trees and plants, Daetwyler said.

The design was unanimously accepted from seven proposals from architect firms in Switzerland, Italy, Spain and the US, including celebrated Ticino architect Mario Botta, whose entry came second.

In an interview with 24heures, the Lausanne newspaper, winning architect Boeri called his project “a living symbol of a new relationship between the urban sphere and the natural sphere”.

The building is similar to ones he designed in Milan called "Vertical Forest" because of their extensive greenery.

The trees in the Terraces de Cèdres building will produce oxygen and reduce CO2 while absorbing pollutants, he said.

“Lausanne is among the most avant-garde cities with regard to this kind of experimentation.”

In fact, residents in the Vaud capital have voted against a couple of tall towers proposed for neighbourhoods with low-level buildings.

In Chavannes-près-Renens, residents bucked the trend by approving by 61 percent the 117-metre tower before a specific design had been selected.

Developers hope to receive a building permit next year with construction expected to start by the end of 2016 or the beginning of 2017.

The tower is part of a new neighbourhood planned for the past 20 years.

Called Les Cèdres, it is to house up to 1,500 people north of the campuses of the University of Lausanne and the Federal Institute for Technology at Lausanne (EPFL).  



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