New Congress Center – it's all systems go!

The Swiss Tech Convention Center

The Swiss Tech Convention Center

Work has begun on the north side of the campus to build a congress center that will be unique in Europe, as well as 500 student lodgings, shops and services.

In 2013, EPFL will open the world’s first fully-automated congress center, the Swiss Tech Convention Center. The resulting infrastructure, which will include ultra-modern equipment, will be flexible and modular, with the possibility of being divided into auditoriums with 330, 468, 1670, 2135 or 3000 places, using computer commands. In a few minutes, the amphitheater seating 2135 people will be easily convertible into a banqueting hall of 1890 m2. The gallery will have 865 places, and at garden level will feature around 15 breakout rooms. Solutions for the production of electricity using solar cells are being examined, and it’s intended to cover the shell that will act as the roof of the building with state-of-the-art solar sensors.

However, the north side of the campus will be undergoing other developments. The project designed by the Lausanne-based architects Richter Dahl Rocha & Associates SA includes the building of 172 studio apartments and 344 shared rooms for students, which will supplement the estudiantines. This development will ease to some extent the shortage of accommodation in the Lausanne region and help to keep in step with the growth of the campus. Shops, restaurants and services – doctors, a dentist and a hairdressing salon – will complete the infrastructure. This initiative is designed to respond to the increasing needs of the EPFL community to be able to benefit from high-quality services, making daily life on the campus easier. The planning of the area will enable the north side to link up smoothly with the rest of the campus. An additional pedestrian sidewalk is planned, as well as 306 underground parking places. Moreover, the congress center will be directly accessible from the suburban railroad (M1) stop, encouraging the use of public transport.

The project is the fruit of a public-private partnership (PPP) between the Swiss Confederation, EPFL, HRS Real Estate SA and Credit Suisse Asset Fund Management. It will be financed to a level of 225 million Swiss francs by two Credit Suisse funds: Credit Suisse Real Estate Fund LivingPlus and Credit Suisse Real Estate Fund Hospitality. The bank is already present as a tenant in the Innovation Area, where – at the end of 2011 – it will create an IT development center offering up to 250 jobs. Several partnerships of this kind have been created during the last few years by EPFL: in particular, with the creation of the Innovation Area, student accommodation, the Hotel Starling and the Rolex Learning Center.

The Swiss Tech Convention Center will be a significant asset for EPFL in particular, and more generally for the polytechnics, with the objective of attracting the most prestigious scientific congresses and conferences from around the world. It will foster exchanges between scientists, and will enable researchers working on the campus to benefit from an indispensable “tool” for showcasing their work. Not forgetting the students and local communities, which will be able to make use of a complex with both a social and cultural dimension.

- Views of the Convention Center -

Author: Frédéric Rauss

Source: EPFL