The Interwar Years
Built in 1931-34 by architects Charles Trivelli and Joseph Austermayer, the Galeries Sainte-Luce building is a striking example of modernist architecture in Lausanne. Located in the heart of the shopping district, above the railway station, it comprises six floors of apartments, two of which are lofts with stairs. The large base of the building, used for retail purposes, levels out the slope upon which it is built and comprises a cinema.
The exterior envelope is soberly decorated, with no embellishments. The building has been integrated into the surrounding urban fabric thanks to an angled corner, the entrance to the cinema, on Rue du Petit-Chêne. An awning and concrete pillars cased in glass clearly express the modern style of the building, without being monumental.
The north entrance leads to the interior court – a striking circular atrium that provides access to the various floors of the building. It is bordered by a large awning and has a huge, loud basin fountain as its centrepiece. The embellishments are in Art Deco style, including portholes, lights, sculpted reliefs and ornamental tiles. Five impressive glass towers containing the stairs and lifts rise up above the court.