The new Vidy Theatre Pavilion’s design draws on years of research by the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Digital Fabrication’s principal investigator Prof. Dr. Yves Weinand and his research team at the Laboratory of Timber Construction (IBOIS) at EPF Lausanne (EPFL). Several researchers of the NCCR Digital Fabrication made substantial contributions to this innovative building project which officially opened its doors on September 11.

The new Pavilion has replaced the tent that long served as a rehearsal hall and auditorium for the Vidy Theatre. Its inauguration on 11 September marked a new beginning for this pillar of Lausanne’s culture and cap off a significant technology transfer from the IBOIS laboratory.

Innovative Timber Structure Informed by Construction Method
Stepping over the Pavilion’s threshold, the eyes immediately move from the walls to the ceiling, sweeping over the 33 wood panels painted black. Pieces of wood spanning 21 meters highlight the building’s exposed structure. Inside, the wood panels fit together like a 3D puzzle. For over ten years, Weinand and his team have blended architecture and civil engineering to build ecological, primarily wooden structures with unique architectural styles that are informed by the selected construction method. The Vidy Pavilion’s wood panels were assembled using tenon joints, a novel method developed by the IBOIS laboratory. Fewer metal joints and less glue were needed to build the Pavilion thanks to the use of wood-wood connections. This approach also cuts down the potential cost of sorting metal screws from wood in the case the building would be dismantled or recycled.

Research Put Into Architectural Application
As highlighted by Weinand, the construction of the Pavilion was a unique opportunity for the IBOIS laboratory to bring its research out of the laboratory environment into architectural application: “The Vidy Pavilion allowed us to put our digital panel-cutting models, our method for manufacturing wood-wood joints, and our double-layered folded plate structure, developed as part of the NCCR Digital Fabrication, into practice. We also tested the rotational stiffness of the wood panels and then applied and checked calculations developed in an EPFL dissertation to determine their accuracy”.

As part of the official inauguration of the new Pavilion, the Vidy Theatre invites everyone interested to come and visit an exhibition about the construction of the Pavilion. The exhibition “Un nouveau Pavillion en bois” is open until September 23, 2017 and features photographies, videos and large-scale prototypes of the unique building project.

The full media release about the project can be found in the EPFL news.

Vincent Baudriller, Julien Gamerro, Matthieu Jaccard, Christopher Robeller and Yves Weinand, Le pavillon en bois du Théâtre de Vidy, Presses polytechniques et universitaires romandes, edited by Yves Weinand, 5 September 2017.

Text adapted from EPFL news.
Image credits: Ilka Kramer