An urban palace in historicist Gothic and Renaissance styles, Maison Mercier highlights the role the entrepreneur Jean-Jacques Mercier (1826-1903) played in the economic and urban fabric of Lausanne at the turn of the 20th century. Built on a talus base on the north ridge of the Montbenon moraine, it is part of the new economic and business centre of Saint-François, towering above the Lausanne-Ouchy funicular station and Le Flon warehouses, businesses run by the Mercier family.
The modern, luxurious building – see its sumptuous lobby – houses administration and business offices, meeting rooms, a sports hall and private homes. It was built in 1898-1900 by Francis Isoz (1856-1910), the architect in charge of the majority of the works undertaken at that time which gave a new face to the city (the Cantonal bank in Saint-François, the Crédit Foncier building in Chauderon, the Château d’Ouchy Hotel and the Bel-Air freight station – now FNAC).
The first five floors form the base of the building, stretching right down to the platform of Le Flon, and are partially concealed by the surrounding buildings. A further six floors rise up above ostentatiously, tracing an asymmetrical silhouette in the sky with its height emphasised by a number of oriel windows and gables.
Described as a skyscraper when it was first erected, the building is still used for business and administrative purposes today.