Timber Pavilion of the Vidy-Lausanne Theatre


Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

Client: Théâtre Vidy-Lausanne

Architect: Yves Weinand Architectes sàrl, Lausanne, Atelier Cube SA Lausanne

Timber Engineering: Bureau d’Etudes Weinand, Liège (BE)

Technology Transfer: Laboratory for Timber Construction, IBOIS, EPFL, Prof. Yves Weinand with Dr. Christopher Robeller, Julien Gamerro (NCCR Digital Fabrication funded contributors)



Vidy theater is defined as an open space for everybody and dedicated to contemporary creation, a meeting place between art and peoples. The theater, located in a building designed and built by architect Max Bill for the National Exhibition in 1964, enjoys an exceptional location on the edge of Lake Geneva. Creation Centre of French theater in the heart of French-speaking Switzerland, the Vidy theater in the unique location of the Vaud capital, at the crossroads of Europe, is an open place in the world where dialogue of Latin theatrical crops and Germanic art is possible.

The theater currently has three permanent buildings and a temporary room, located under a tent set up in the adjoining park. This heated tent can’t stay here in this state. With the Lausanne City permission, a lasting solution, in the form of a thermally insulated pavilion is necessary.

Technology Transfert

The construction of Vidy theater pavilion which can be taken apart, designed in the IBOIS (Laboratory of Timber Constructions of EPFL) provides the implementation of unprecedented support structure exclusively made of wood panels. Its double folded plate structure holds its mechanical performance from the rigidity of the joints. The panels are joined by innovative wood-wood connections.


The objective is to develop and implement the knowledge gained in the laboratory of timber constructions of the EPFL-IBOIS. These innovative wood-wood connections will be applied to the scale of a building for the first time. The wood-timber connectors peculiarity is that they are an integral part of the panels. This construction therefore requires a customized prefabrication: connectors are cut in the factory together with the panels in a single operation. Once assembled, these wood panels ensure alone the building structure, and minimize metal connectors for such structure.


(clic on the image above to watch the video)
This video shows the design, production and construction of the Vidy Theater. It is the first double-layered timber folded plate structure, achieving a column-free span of up to 20 meters with a plate thickness of only 45 millimeters. The CLT plates are connected with newly developed double through tenon joints (DTTJ), allowing for a rapid, precise and simple assembly.

Inaugurated in September 2017, the pavilion can accommodate 250 seated people.

These innovative wood-wood connections has been applied to the scale of a building for the first time !

Crédit photos: Ilka Kramer