Green Gorgon

by veryagudo

Lausanne, Switzerland, 2005

Architect: R&Sie (n) – Paris
Creative team: François Roche, Stephanie Lavaux, Jean Navarro with Philippe Parreno


Mathieu Lehanneur, Guscetti and Tournier, VP & Green, Klaus Daniels, Michel Boulcourt

Key dimensions: 7,000 m2.
Customer: City of Lausanne
Cost: 40 € million

Museum of the town of Lausanne. Particularly heterogeneous collection (various dating and source), whose nature hesitates between a “cabinet of curiosity” and a freak museum. The scale of this collection in fact thus one of the “strange” museums more, out of time, or the contemporary art infiltrates as by error of casting.

1) Recognition of the “natural” fake of the place (polder developed on the lake)

2) Development of a strategy heterotopic, tentacular, uncertain, organic.

3) Scenarios of confusion between various natures – built natures (facade in hydro-aeroponiques, biodynamic green hairs) and urban, spontaneous, haunted natures, in order to generate a hybrid landscape, non-identifiable.

4) Using the photosynthesis of all green façades to recycle and clean waste water.

5) Introduction of this knotty geometry into indoor morphology of the exhibition rooms. A place where perdition, looseness is plausible, where the tangled up ambulation becomes the support of a collection which is not it less. Complexity is a tool of reprogramming and deprogramming, folding and unfolding.

6) Individual positioning by portable GPS, coupled to an informational PAD. The visitor use this i-compass to move and get more details (sound and video) on each art piece.

The nMBA is the emanation of a lakeside biotope. A reflection in water of branches and undulating gnarled forms was the image that served as the projet’s starting point. A strange and enchanting dream, Ophelia’s hair, or one of Grimm’s fairytales that takes place in the middle of a forest. 

All at once, you are attracted to it and afraid of it…

The nMBA is a place of illusions; it exists where “the wild”, “weeds”, “urbanized” and “artificial” nature converge. They intermingle with each other and form a maze, a curiosity show, a landscaped building, ”The Garden of Forking Paths” to reference a novel by Jorge Luis Borges.

Time is stretched, paths multiply and the museum unfolds. Like the Winchester Mystery house where walls can be crossed, secret straircases appear and hidden doors reveal forgotten rooms. People could loose themselves, or better they could play the game to loose themselves, using the “Bips” the GPS as compass to redefine their comportment to a non panoptical space.

It’s designed as a “heterotopian” location (Michel Foucault).

The Museum
Interlaced like rhizome, progressing like a bed of coral and entangled like stick insects, it forms a phasmida.

The project’s geometric disposition favors the collection’s diversity, and permits its arrangement and rearrangement. Most importantly, this three-dimensional “maze” is a structural-link to accommodate the museum’s diverse timetables. Numerous ”ficelles” create a hidden circuit that is slanted and hovering between different levels and time frames.

The museum’s morphology is based on playful representation. It’s simultaneously toboggan, a haunted house and an ice palace where one loses all notions of space. It’s a curiosity that relates the popular dimension of the site to an amusement park. But the nMBA is also a working tool: a tool for mediation, sensation and discovery that will serve arrangements, transfers and the “swaddling and unswaddling” of cognitive reality and discursivity.

Nature or Natures…
More a landscape than an urbanism; more a forest than architecture. A project that plays with its natures.

-”Weeds” that become the local woods that are then populated with animals, like an amphibian world that has been emancipated from water, having appeared freely and spontaneously.

-”Urban nature” of alignments, squares, parks and gardens, of a living organism subjugated to an urban system’s various compositions.

-”Artificial nature” of the green epidermis that envelopes a building, a sort of biodynamic skin (vertical vegetal partitions on independently micro-irrigated substrate). Beyond the fusion/confusion that it generates with the natural environment, it offers the advantage of filtering city dust and purifying the atmosphere like a new architectural material.

-“Haunted nature” (evil spells, charms and childlike fears) gardens that are accessible even when the museum is closed.

The acknowledgement of these different natures will provide ways to weave the territory’s various states together (ie. fairgrounds, swimming pools, lakes, forests).