Located on the southern slope of the Swiss plateau, the urban fabric of Lausanne is built around an elevation difference of 500 meters. Winding streets, steep stairways and small alleys create a unique set of urban conditions and provide dramatic vistas over characteristic surrounding landscapes such as Lake Geneva and the Alps. At the same time, the dense urban fabric provides little room for introduction of green spaces and gardens, causing people to loose connections to the natural environment. In addition, Lausanne faces challenges related to stormwater management, urban heat island effects and loss of biodiversity. To realize a livable city there is an urgent need for spaces to store water in winter and at the same time decrease rising temperatures in the city in summer.
Taking advantage of the height difference between the alley and the elevated green space south of the site, the project, titled Oasis Urbaine, is proposing a waterfall connected to a series of vegetated water containers made from recycled plastic. The portable system is easy to assemble and can be configured in various ways to fit in to a variety of urban conditions. The linear position of the containers amplifies the narrow condition of the alley while extending into the sidewalk to attract visitors from the street. Different water and soils depths in the containers provide micro-habitats for a variety of shade loving water plants. Sound and reflection of light will not only attract people but also insects, butterflies and birds. As such, Oasis Urbaine incorporates poetic gestures, ecological principles and innovative.