Le Vaud’s new community hall is a multipurpose public infrastructure designed to serve and bring together the entire village community. Hosting sports activities, shows, and community events, it supplements existing school facilities while opening up new possibilities for the village and its surrounding communities. The hall’s entrance is sited on the road connecting the village church and the school entrance.

A forecourt of exposed concrete marks the venue’s entrance, a connecting link bordered by the sports field, the church cemetery and the existing schoolyard. With this baseline as its anchor, the building’s transparent structure follows the downward slope of the terrain. To the north, the ridges of the Jura Mountains can be seen; to the south, the site offers idyllic views over Mont Blanc and the Alpine landscape. The double-pitched façades are also the main load-bearing structure. This leaves the internal space entirely unobstructed: free to expand and contract following the outline of the outer walls.

This building has its own very unique history. On 4 July 2016, one month before its opening, it was entirely destroyed by fire. Following an interval of recovery and mourning, the reconstruction process provided an opportunity to revisit and further refine every last detail of the construction. This architectural disaster and the rebirth that came after it, are the subject of a forthcoming book and a photographic project.

Large glazed openings set within wooden triangles, which filter daylight. By night, the openings subtly reveal the building’s interior, while creating an effect reminiscent of a native American teepee. By contrast, the north and south façades are fully transparent—flooding the hall with natural light. The entrance is protected by a large overhang, which shields the forecourt from adverse weather conditions. A similar overhang to the south ensures effective solar protection. While the external form is designed to both blend with its built environment and serve as a distinctive landmark, the interior conforms to the restrictive, standardized specifications of regulations covering sports facilities. A freestanding unit in the reception area hosts the building’s communication and information functions, as well as a bar. The main hall is entirely clearspan, ensuring that it is capable of hosting a wide variety of events.

Taking inspiration from its surroundings, the community hall has been built with timber from local forests and standard metal cladding typically used by farms in the area. Sandblasted concrete, the material used for the adjacent school, has also been used.


Project architects: LOCALARCHITECTURE, Lausanne

Giulia Altarelli, Elsa Jejcic, Laurent Saurer, Manuel Bieler, Antoine Robert-Grandpierre

Wood engineer: Ratio Bois SARL, Ecublens

Wood species: silver fir

Civil engineer: 2M Ingéniérie Civile SA, Yverdon-les-bains

CVS engineer: Weinmann-Energies SA, Echallens

Lighting: Etienne Gillabert, Paris Aebischer & Bovigny, Lausanne

Geometric engineer: Bovard & Nickl SA, Nyon

Photography: Matthieu Gafsou

Location: Grand’rue 4, CH-1261 Le Vaud, Switzerland

Client: Commune de Le Vaud

Conception and realization: 2014-2018

Built area (footprint): 1,209 sqm

Volume: 9,207 m3


Photo © Matthieu Gafsou


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