3XN and Itten+Brechbühl selected to design the new 250,000m2 biophilic ‘Ecotope’ as an expansion of the EPFL campus in Lausanne


Lausanne, Switzerland

“Our design takes on the challenge posed by the EPFL Innovation Park to create a place that will have a positive impact on society for years to come,” explains Jan Ammundsen, 3XN Senior Partner-in-Charge. 

 Innovation Ecotope by 3XN A/S and Itten+Brechbühl

“Ecotope will be a campus that facilitates and generates disruptive innovative solutions by being the interface between EPFL and society at large.”

3XN and Itten+Brechbühl’s proposal for the new EPFL Innovation Park (EIP) has been selected as the design for the Ecotope, which will expand the University’s existing Science Park and Innovation Square to a new site west of the main EPFL campus.

The 3XN and IB’s joint proposal was selected out of four invited proposals.

The Innovation Ecotope is part of the strategic masterplan of ultimately 250,000m2, geared towards crafting a social, sustainable, and active site for technology, industry, and innovation linked to the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

 Innovation Ecotope by 3XN A/S and Itten+Brechbühl

Located to the west of the university’s main campus, the Ecotope will be a vibrant and innovative marketplace for ideas—an evolution of the “innovation park” that will be an “ecosystem in which policymakers, researchers, investors, executives, students, and citizens can come together for open dialogue or debate.”

The concept of the project not only brings together leaders in business, science, and technology but also puts a high priority on access to green spaces and biophilic principles.

Setting a high priority on access to green spaces and biophilic principles, a green pedestrian route linking Ecotope to the EIP and other zones of the EPFL campus will bring nature into the heart of the site, and extend it outwards toward the main pedestrian axis. 

 Innovation Ecotope by 3XN A/S and Itten+Brechbühl

The design of the master plan and its main building are developed around six key principles: biophilia, serendipity, modularity, sustainability, strong identity, and comfort; all linked to ensure flexibility and adaptability to the changing needs of the future.

The main building is located on the site’s southeastern corner, serving as a gateway and social hub for the Ecotope campus. Labs and offices will be situated across the building’s perimeter, punctuated by twin atria which will also become hubs for innovation and collaboration. 

Since 1991, EPFL, one of the world’s leading public research institutions, has housed a space dedicated for innovation: the EPFL Innovation Park (EIP).

The demand for strategic research partnerships has increased, bringing with it an opportunity to rethink what innovation looks like at the school. 

The Innovation Ecotope comes as a solution to businesses interested in innovation, whether it is startups or established companies, who need a place to meet daily. 

The proposed design is part of the strategic 250,000 sqm masterplan, aimed at creating a social, sustainable, and active site for the technology industry found at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

Project: Innovation Ecotope
Architects: 3XN A/S and Itten+Brechbühl AG
Client: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

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