These photographs show the best architecture at Lake Geneva

This is my second post for Newly Swissed and I would like to show you some of the beautiful buildings on the shores of Lake Geneva. The region spanning from Geneva to Lausanne and Montreux offers many architecture gems, including my personal favorite, the Ulysse building. Its presence completely changes between daylight and night.

Just outside Vevey is the Villa "Le Lac", designed by Le Corbusier for his parents and built from 1923 to 1924.

The mansion is surprisingly small and no space is left unused. (One of the walls even perfectly fits the shape of the bathtub.) Villa "Le Lac" has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2016. Visiting hours are relatively limited, so you will need to check them in advance.

Architecture at Lake Geneva - Copyright Dominik Gehl

The tower of the Lausanne cathedral allows for one of the best views over Lausanne.

On the left, you can see the St. Francois church, then the Ouchy sector close to the lake. The right side of the photo allows a view towards the Flon district with its many car free shopping streets.

Architecture at Lake Geneva - Copyright Dominik Gehl

The Lausanne cathedral was consecrated in 1275 in the presence of Pope Gregory X and became a protestant cathedral in 1536.

Did you know that Lausanne still continues the tradition of the cathedral watch? While no longer serving a practical purpose, the cathedral watch still announces the hours from 10 PM to 2 AM every day of the year.

Architecture at Lake Geneva - Copyright Dominik Gehl

In 1931, despite heavy criticism, the architect Alphonse Laverrière builds the first skyscraper in Switzerland, the Bel-Air tower.

Some of the criticism is due to its size - there were fears that it would be higher than the cathedral. Other critics felt that it had a similarity with Wall Street buildings, associating it with the economic crash that had just happened at the time.

Architecture at Lake Geneva - Copyright Dominik Gehl

Between 1931 and 1934, the architects Charles Trivelli and Joseph Austermayer were responsible for the construction of the Galeries Sainte-Luce.

This remarkable modernist building is close to the Lausanne train station. The northern entrance gives access to this spectacular round atrium.

Architecture at Lake Geneva - Copyright Dominik Gehl

Lausanne's communal administration is located at Chauderon and its buildings were constructed between 1970 and 1974.

The French architect Jean Prouvé was responsible for the exterior design, marked by its purity. The copper colored reflecting windows appear to be portholes in the more than 700 metal panels covering the buildings.

Architecture at Lake Geneva - Copyright Dominik Gehl

Directly opposite to the communal administration buildings, the architect Aurelio Galfetti designed the Ulysse building which was finished in 1994.

Its round design with the opening on one side is the reason for its nickname: "Keyhole Building"...

Architecture at Lake Geneva - Copyright Dominik Gehl

Lausanne’s new aquarium, the AQUATIS, also has a very distinctive architecture with its reflecting scales.

I took this photograph of AQUATIS during sunset with viewa towards the Jura mountain range.

Architecture at Lake Geneva - Copyright Dominik Gehl

For those interested in modern architecture, the UNIL and EPFL campuses are a must.

Located slightly west of downtown Lausanne, you can discover lots of architecture and design in this hotspot. The UNIL Anthropole was built between 1984 and 1987 by architects Mario Bevilacqua, Jacques Dumas and Jean-Luc Thibaud:

Architecture at Lake Geneva - Copyright Dominik Gehl

The UNIL Geopolis was finished in 2012:

Architecture at Lake Geneva - Copyright Dominik Gehl

Here is the underpass at the EPFL metro station:

Architecture at Lake Geneva - Copyright Dominik Gehl

At the EPFL computer science building, have a look down the staircase! It inspired the logo of the Scala programming language...

Architecture at Lake Geneva - Copyright Dominik Gehl

The EPFL mechanics building was recently finished in 2016 by Dominique Perrault Architecture:

Architecture at Lake Geneva - Copyright Dominik Gehl

The EPFL innovation park, building A:

Architecture at Lake Geneva - Copyright Dominik Gehl

Following Lake Geneva still further west, we arrive at Geneva.

With its Secheron district, Geneva has an entire neighborhood featuring modern architecture. Below is Geneva's "Secheron" train station which opened in 2002.

Architecture at Lake Geneva - Copyright Dominik Gehl

The JTI building by SOM architects was completed in 2015:

Architecture at Lake Geneva - Copyright Dominik Gehl

And last but not least, the P+R Etoile parking garage is proof that architecture gems can sometimes be hidden in plain sight! This is the view looking down its exit staircase:

Architecture at Lake Geneva - Copyright Dominik Gehl

(All photographs copyright Dominik Gehl.)

Bonus: Did you know that Geneva has a sort of Smurf enclave called Schtroumpf? Well, it does, and here is what it looks like.

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Dominik Gehl

Based in Lausanne, Dominik Gehl is a software engineer by day. His hobbies include traveling the world, reading and photography. Oh, and he loves coffee and tea. All images © Dominik Gehl.
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