The complex was designed between 1929 and 1932 by the architect Alphonse Laverrière and has been listed in note 1 of the inventory of historic monuments since 1992.
The renovation and upgrading to safety standards of this emblematic building called for advanced skills in the field of renovation, transformation and sanitation.
It also required specific skills for the promotion (marketing) of complex surfaces located in difficult areas, architectural sensitivity to the construction methods and design of the 1930s, and finesse in site management given its central location.
This emblematic object of national renown structures the entire urban axis of central Lausanne and presents very complex characteristics.
Marketing management was also an integral part of the intervention to restore the appeal of the Bel-Air complex.
A cult building
The building's influence is powerful, as much by its assertive presence on Bel-Air as by its volume. The building, listed on the inventory of historical monuments, is a strong image not only of the district but also of the city of Lausanne.
However, the ageing building and the incoherent mix of tenants in the pedestal on the Rue des Terreaux side have had a negative impact on the emblematic perception of the Bel-Air complex. The shop windows were not highlighted and only the Terreaux facade maintained an activity in relation to the shops in the Bel-Air district.
The view from the route de Genève, in the Flon district, gave the feeling of being behind a neglected object and the Métropole room could not convey its identity. The use of the base was not adequate to the strong image created by the building.
The aim of the renovation project was therefore to return the tower to its prestigious base, in the image of a dynamic and moving sector, which interacts strongly with the different levels of the city and promises a positive influence for the Flon and Bel-Air districts, but also for the image of Lausanne.
Reconciling heritage conservation and modernity
The office mobilized up to 40 employees to carry out this major project within the schedule and budget defined with the owner.
In addition to the need to reconcile heritage conservation and modernity, one of the major challenges of the refurbishment was to manage the processes of renovation and bringing the building up to standard.
Wherever possible, the original building elements were maintained, renovated or restored.
Through this renovation, the office wished to restore the building to its former character, while allowing it to adapt to the current needs of a neighbourhood that has been evolving for several years.
The renovation and upgrading of this protected and almost century-old building required complex procedures to reach the execution phase. The intervention was structured in three stages: the Tower, the levels of the Terreaux and finally the basement.
The greatest challenge of the project was the management of the renovation and upgrading processes, but also the evaluation and restoration of the historical elements in collaboration with the Department of Historical Monuments of the Canton of Vaud.
We reviewed each surface area in order to define the elements that could be preserved or repaired and redefine the program floor by floor. The original building elements were maintained, renovated or restored wherever possible.
Make people discover our work
Within the framework of private and public information days, we have developed a set to be given to the visitors of the construction site of the Bel-Air Complex in Lausanne. Various brochures explaining the ins and outs of such a large-scale project highlight the know-how and special care taken in the renovation of one of the most emblematic listed buildings in the region.
In addition to the brochures, some visitors were given a sample of the original façade of the building that could not be renovated. Cut into an 8x8cm cube, the sample became a paving stone full of history. Simple object of contemplation or functional object (paper press), the paving stone is marked with the seal of the new identity of the Bel-Air Tower certifying its authenticity.
The CCHE computer graphics team has developed this virtual reality immersion in the administrative premises in 2015 in order to accompany the marketing of the gross leased areas by the lessor.