20 September 2010

Ode to ‘La Tulipe’


Buildings ∕ Place Making

Guest writer Lorenzo Poglia is a neuroscientist from Geneva, and co-author of the paper “Ultrastructural Modifications of Spine and Synapse Morphology by SAP97”. Here he sends us the second of two architectural dispatches from his home town. The first is here.

La Tulipe is a unique concrete trunk from which vertical slim branches frame a cube of tinted glass windows. It’s also a medical research center built in 1975-76 and conceived by Jack V. Bertoli.

Its angle-based, furtive geometric construction is such a brilliant architecture that none of the bypassing commuters notice the building. Indeed, its light framework embraces windows that brilliantly reflect its mediocre surroundings. Its typically 1970’s, unequally evanescing, rosy-blue windows reinforce its vivid character and gives me the impetus to declaim a romantic poem to the white rats working in the building. Even the plain metallic structure of the entry shines like the promise of fantastic scientific advances.

May I offer you une Tulip? While UniDufour needs a crown of subtle vegetation to cover its feet, La Tulipe offers a massive concrete base that stands as the wise tree in front of a nascent forest sprouting behind it. “Big is beautiful!”
Whilst UniDufour longs for legitimacy, La Tulipe softly imposes its architecture to the vicinity.