by Malcolm Curtis|The Local, Switzerland|October 18, 2012
Less than three years after the Rolex Learning Center of the Federal Technical Institute of Technology at Lausanne (EPFL) opened, officials have been forced to replace all the building’s exterior paving at a cost of 1.5 million francs.
The audacious 110-million-franc building, designed by the Japanese architect firm SANAA, features undulating concrete walls and Swiss-cheese type holes to accommodate interior courtyards.
Exposed to the elements, those courtyards and and connecting walkways were covered with a material consisting of gravel-type pellets and resin designed to wick away moisture.
However, the paving wore quickly from foot traffic in certain areas leaving marked depressions that became a hazard, causing some users to fall down, Le Temps newspaper revealed in a report.
EPFL decided to replace the 12,000 square metres of exterior paving with new paving stones, a process that after several months of work is almost complete, the newspaper said.
The technical university sought advice from a committee of experts to find the source of the fault.
“It’s not at the level of the contracting authority,” Francis-Luc Perret, EPFL’s vice-president of planning and logistics, told Le Temps.
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