HOUSE 2 assembled in Malley

© 2017 EPFL

© 2017 EPFL

HOUSE 2, the temporary house designed and built by EPFL architecture students, is back from Zurich and headed for Malley. It will help liven up the largest vacant site in western Lausanne, which has been scheduled for development.

Measuring 50 meters long, nine meters wide, and six meters tall, HOUSE 2 is made of nearly 22 kilometers of wood held together by 20,000 bolts, weighs 22 tons, and comprises 14 modular rooms. The temporary house was dreamed up, designed, and built by first-year architecture students at EPFL, and assembled in the district of Zurich West where it stayed for nearly a month. Now, three of its modules – the bar, the exhibition area, and the cinema – will be assembled in Malley, at one of the largest undeveloped sites in western Switzerland, at the invitation of the intermunicipal urban development group Stratégie et développement de l’Ouest lausannois (SDOL).

Located beside the La Galicienne refreshment stand near the Prilly-Malley train station, the three modules will be open to the public throughout the summer and are expected to liven up the site and set the stage for its future transformation. In addition, a number of events are planned there through the middle of October as part of REPLAY, a joint project between Renens, Prilly, Lausanne, the Canton of Vaud and the Swiss Federal Railways.

From late May to mid-June, HOUSE 2 was on display in Zurich, installed under a railway bridge, near a few office buildings and a tram stop. During the day, passersby looking to escape the sun could relax in the house’s shade, and children out for a walk could cross it from one side to the other. Students at the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) next door would have their lunch there and lounge in the hammocks they put up. In the evening, conferences, outdoor movies and concerts livened up the usually deserted area.

Opening up the space

“This type of temporary house shows that urban growth and densification are positive things,” says architect, project leader and EPFL professor Dieter Dietz. “We see that opening up the space, where a wide range of activities can take place, makes the area more lively and dynamic. We're infusing life in a place where there was none.” In Zurich, the project was brought under ZHdK's research program, Counter City, which uses design to reinforce the positive message of urbanization.

For students, HOUSE 2 has served as an intensive course on becoming an architect. Divided into groups of 15 to 20, they were given just three months to design one of the rooms in the house. Each room had to fit seamlessly with the surroundings in Zurich and be distinct from the neighboring rooms. In addition, every aspect of the room needed to match the rest both aesthetically and structurally. The students then had two weeks to assemble HOUSE 2 in Zurich after a few days’ on-site practice at EPFL.

HOUSE 1, 2 and 3

The project has already caught the attention of a number of architecture journals (see press kit). Last year, students completed the first version of the project, initially erecting HOUSE 1 at EPFL and then at the National School of Architecture of Versailles, where the rooms were designed for campus living. HOUSE 1 is now in the running to receive a Swiss Design Award in October 2017. HOUSE 2 will be disassembled in the fall, and the wood will be set aside to build HOUSE 3 in 2018.

EPFL press kit (photos, videos, international press review)

HOUSE 2: Students build a house by hand, EPFL News, 18 April 2017

Author: Sandrine Perroud

Source: EPFL