Karamuk Kuo Architekten: Sports Sciences Institute - best architects 19

Karamuk Kuo Architekten

Sports Sciences Institute

best architects 19

education buildings


Lausanne / Switzerland


Laurian Ghinitoiu


The Sports Sciences Institute is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Reticent on the exterior, it integrates itself into the bucolic campus of the University of Lausanne while harbouring a rich interior world. The building unites four autonomous organisations in a single structure, with offices, classrooms, auditoriums, a cafeteria, and physical testing labs. When designing buildings that are 35 to 40 meters in depth, the typical response is to either fill the dark centre with a massive core or to make a void. This project confronts the problem with a third alternative: imagining the centre as both the infrastructural core as well as the collective experience. The building is thus conceived as two interdependent halves: a hyper-rational and lightweight ring of workspaces, and a porous mass of service and collective spaces inside the ring that serves as the structural bracing. The outer ring adopts the conventions of the office grid based on a modular façade, addressing the wide range of workspaces demanded in the brief and allowing for future reconfiguration. The porous core is a dynamic realm of exchange. A series of stacked concrete volumes encloses the services at each level – vertical cores, archives, and physical testing labs. At the same time, it forms a landscape of terraces for informal activities and collaborative work. At times intimate and at times sweepingly grand, the spaces of the atrium become the backdrop for collective life in the building.