An Optical Game of Deception: Entrance Hall by A&F Architectes in Yverdon
Client: Kanton Waadt/SIPaL/Schweizer Eidgenossenschaft
Architects: A&F architectes
Structural planning: Aurelio Muttoni & Miguel Fernandez
Location: Route de Cheseaux 1, 1401 Yverdon-les-Bains (CH)
HEIG-VD, otherwise known as the School of Management and Engineering in the Swiss canton of Waadt, is located in a building complex built in 1972 just outside Yverdon. Its terraced structure follows the sloping lot above Lake Neuchâtel. Fortunately, the powerfully brutalist architecture and its dominant concrete skeleton were preserved in the recently completed refurbishment project. Nonetheless, the complex lacked a striking entrance that would have made better use of the open terraces in front of the building. A&F Architectes of Geneva have now created this entrance. Like an enormous, bowed shield, the coffered exposed-concrete wall rises by the road. Its gesture may seem forbidding, but it continues the design language of the main auditorium that emerges from the rest of the complex and stands just behind the wall.
Stepping into the entrance patio presents an entirely new, somewhat confusing picture: here, the exposed-concrete walls are smooth, and a blue disk lies over the building’s contours like a projection. Actually, this is a coating of paint with which the architects have revived the centuries-old artistic tradition of anamorphosis. Only when seen from the entrance gate do the blue surfaces form a circle; from all other angles, they produce an ensemble of coloured areas placed seemingly at random.