Photo Elysée and mudac opened in June 2022 in Lausanne’s Plateforme 10 arts district: a new museum of applied arts, design and photography

photo elysée losanna

The new building has been designed by Portuguese architecture firm Aires Mateus. Photo Elysée and mudac join the Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts (mcb-a) designed by Barozzi/Veiga to complete the transformation of a former disused railway site into a new Arts District: Plateforme 10. The City of Lausanne and the Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) actively participated in the redevelopment project.

Discover the Swiss Pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennale 2021, a project by Mario Botta

photo elysée losanna

This new building, which houses the Cantonal Museum of Photography (Photo Elysée) and the Cantonal Museum of Contemporary Design and Applied Arts (mudac), offers the two museum institutions a space that lives up to their ambitions.

Aires Mateus’ “One Museum, Two Museums” project, the winner of a competition announced in 2015, is based on two solid volumes enclosing an empty space that creates random geometric shapes. A central staircase connects the entrance hall on the ground floor with the exhibition rooms of Photo Elysée on the lower floor and with those of mudac on the upper floor.

photo elysée losanna

Natural light and the fluidity of spaces – indoor and outdoor, high and low – are two key elements of this design. Aires Mateus establishes a strong link between the two museums and designs the interior spaces as an extension of the outdoor public space.

“We wanted visitors, no matter where they stand in the foyer, to always be in plain view, with the impression of being outside. Our aim was to trigger a particular spatial sensation. For us, this was the architecture’s main role,” says Manuel Aires Mateus. [Txt Arianna Callocchia – Photo: Matthieu Gafsou and Cyril Zingaro – Gammuto Sàrl]