Lausanne in 1900
Hôtel des Postes (Central Post Office)
With its central position and imposing size, the Hôtel des Postes dominates the Place Saint-François. It was built in 1896-1900 as part of a project to develop the southern side of the square. The existing buildings alongside the church were demolished to make way for road traffic and new tramlines. A number of business and administration buildings were constructed, radically modifying the nature of the area.
The Central Post Office building houses the head offices of the Post Office and Customs Service for the various administrative divisions. It is one of a series of post offices constructed in the same period in Switzerland’s major cities and constitutes, after the Federal Court in Montbenon, a second federal facility of great importance in Lausanne.
The winner of the planning competition was Eugène Jost (1865-1946), an architect educated at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and designer of prestigious palaces in Montreux and Lausanne. While he used advanced techniques such as reinforced concrete for the structure, he opted for an eclectic encasement influenced to a great extent by Renaissance styles, and reminiscent of the castles along the Loire: white stone, a high roof with chimneys and skylights, and Mannerist ornamentation.
The building still belongs to the Post Office today.