In the summer of 2007, ECAL – the Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne (Cantonal College of Art), Switzerland – moved to its new premises in a disused factory not far from Lausanne. The architecture is the work of Bernard Tschumi, an internationally active Franco-Swiss architect who has offices in Paris and New York and Bureau d’architecture Claude Fehlmann, Switzerland. Following five years of intensive preliminary work – involving consultation between the college, the authorities and the architect – it proved possible to realise the conversion project in just 18 months. From industrial production to creative intellectual work – that was the challenge the conversion presented. The former Iril stocking factory was encased in a new metal shell – both for the sake of thermal insulation, and to give the building a new look. New spatial references were created in the interior, with a big passageway on the ground floor that opens up prospects right across the building. Bernard Tschumi started his career in 1982 with the Parc de la Villette in Paris, a public space of 50 hectares in the northeast of the capital, comprising buildings, gardens and interlacing paths. Prior to this he had been working as an architectural theoretician and teacher. He now works all over the world and has won numerous prizes and tributes. More than 5000 square metres of the “Rollerwool 700” woollen carpet was laid in the auditoriums, offices and classrooms of the College. The dark melange of the floor gives the rooms tranquillity and depth, and the marvellous properties of the wool – which both deadens sound and balances humidity – serve to create a pleasant atmosphere. The office of the Director, Pierre Keller, has a “Feltro cut 104” – a finely striped felt carpet.
In the classrooms, the “Rollerwool” carpet is a suitable choice – for two reasons: it is durable, and has sound-deadening properties.