/Lausanne arts district launches on former train shed site

Lausanne arts district launches on former train shed site

A new arts district opens next weekend in the Swiss city of Lausanne, on the site of the city’s former train sheds. After a decade of planning and development, Plateforme 10 includes the relocation of three of the Lausanne’s top museums to form a new cultural hub.

The first to open will be Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts (MCBA), on 5 October. The other two – Musée de l’Elysée (photography) and Mudac (contemporary design and applied arts) – will follow by the end of 2021.

Lausanne is on the north bank of Lake Geneva.

Lausanne is on the north bank of Lake Geneva. Photograph: Regis Colombo/diapo.ch

Construction of the new 22,000 sq metre Plateforme 10 complex began in 2016 and has regenerated the site where the train sheds once stood, next to the central station with its nine platforms. The museums will be free to enter, and the site will also house a library, restaurants, shops and chill-out areas.

The CHF180m (£147m) project was funded by the City of Lausanne, Swiss Railways, foundations and individual donations. MCBA was designed by Riba-award-winning Estudio Barozzi/Veiga – the team behind Tanztheater Zurich and The Art Institute of Chicago. The relocation has involved moving its collection of over 11,000 artworks from the Palais de Rumine, its home since 1904.

The new MCBA site almost triples the exhibition space, and will include a permanent exhibition of around 300 works, alongside nine temporary shows each year.

The MCBA Plateforme 10 building pictured nearing completion.

The MCBA Plateforme 10 building pictured nearing completion. It will be the first building to open. Photograph: Matthieu Gafsou

It will also house the Toms Pauli Foundation (a collection of ancient tapestries and modern textiles) and the Félix Vallotton Foundation (works by the Lausanne-born artist).

The original plan was to build the museums next to a park or closer to Lake Geneva. However, Lausanne train station itself is undergoing a 10-year expansion programme, and is set to become a major transport hub for the region and the country. By 2025, the underground passage connecting platforms will offer a direct link to Plateforme 10.

An interior from the MCBA

An interior from the MCBA. Photograph: Matthieu Gafsou

It is hoped that the new arts district will attract around 200,000 visitors a year. “It’s culture near mobility. If our programme is good enough, we may be able to convince commuters to visit us and take a later train,” Chantal Prod’Hom, Mudac director and Plateforme 10 president, said in a recent interview.

“As far as I know, there is currently no comparable cultural development under way – either in Switzerland or elsewhere in Europe. It’s really a huge project, and is firstly for the people of Lausanne – and then for Switzerland and Europe, and even further.”

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