Designed for the city of Lausanne, Switzerland, the L-Tower is located in an area where both urban and natural landscape are strongly present. The project’s rectangular site parallels the train line, while at the same time Lake Geneva is only a little further away and the Jura mountains are visible on the horizon.

Architect: Jakob+MacFarlane
Client: Insula SA
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland
Surface area: 37.000 m2
Competition: 2021 


Structural and facade engineering: Bollinger & Grohmann | Wood structure engineering: Charpente Concept | MEP engineering: BG Ingénieurs Conseils SA | Environmental consultants: Inex | Landscape: Michel Desvigne Paysagiste

THE L-TOWER By Jakob+MacFarlane - Sheet1

The competition brief sought for an iconic, sustainable design comprising an 85m tall tower, as well as the renovation of two existing buildings, within an L-shaped buildable volume. Taking this as the point of departure, our team came up with a scheme that reflected the hybrid character of the surrounding context. Our proposal maintains the fragments of “found” landscape already present on the site, and lets the landscape continue further into the tower. Based on a 3-dimensional structural matrix, the building integrates a series of greenhouses and planted vertical patios opening onto the facades. The entire building thus becomes an instance of reconciliation between the urban and the natural.

Functionally, this matrix-based design enables a wide variety of programmes (housing, offices, retail and public spaces) and allows for combinations of different kinds of housing typologies, both standard and exceptional, as well as combinations of co-working and co-living programmes. The capacity to accommodate future change by facilitating potential adaptation to new uses is another important quality of the project.

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The pristine whiteness of porcelain-clad facades is attenuated by the warmness of exposed wooden structure and the exuberant presence of vegetation across the entire height of the building.

Special attention was paid to integrating the project with its urban context, including adaptation to the area’s varied topography, integration of pedestrian flows, openness of the lower floors towards the street, and introduction of smaller pavilions hosting cultural, retail, and leisure activities to increase the project’s interaction with the city.

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Carbon neutrality and maximised energy autonomy are key to the project. We proposed achieving this via:

– the choice of structural solutions (a combination of concrete and wooden structure),

– the choice of materials such as local wood and porcelain cladding,

– the use of renewable energy systems such as solar panels,

– the mostly white colour of facade materials allowing to reduce heat gain in summer,

– high presence of vegetation to mitigate heat islands and support biodiversity, as well as the use of bioclimatic greenhouses to facilitate passive climate control throughout the year.


A complex of solutions (design, structural, etc) have been proposed to ensure the project’s sustainability starting from the construction phase, including the shortened duration of construction works and reduced noise levels.


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