Today marked the official groundbreaking ceremony for ‘Vortex’, the spectacular new student housing complex which will serve first as the Youth Olympic Village of the Youth Olympic Games in January of 2020. Based in the heart of the University of Lausanne’s campus, Vortex is a perfect example of the efficient use of an Olympic project for host city development, as it will provide a lasting legacy for higher education in the region.

Vortex is a true architectural challenge: a ring shaped building reaching 27m in height and a circumference of 430m, with a total surface area of 36,700m². Around an inside courtyard of 4,000m² the building will be made of one single 2.8km long spiral-shaped ramp which will be the access all apartments. When it is officially handed to the University in the autumn of 2020, Vortex will be the home of 1’000 students, professors and university guests.

What makes Vortex truly ‘Olympic’ is that six months before this handover to the University, the building will be at the heart of the Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Games, playing host to 1,700 athletes and officials as the Youth Olympic Village. For the local authorities, the Youth Olympic Games project has accelerated the discussion and the planning around the project, allowing it to take shape faster than originally planned. A great example of how an Olympic project can contribute to the smart infra-structural development of a region.

Today during the ceremony, 100 children from the local schools aged between nine and ten sang and competed in a symbolic race along the circumference of the future building wearing Olympic colored t-shirts, adding a fitting Olympic touch to the ceremony.

Patrick Baumann, President of the Lausanne 2020 Organising Committee, said: “Vortex represents the best of what Olympic projects can do to a host city: help develop infrastructure that is very much needed and that can be used long after the Games. Not only are we very grateful to the local partners that have managed to get together and bring this project to life, but we are also very proud to be such a good case study of a smart Olympic legacy.”

Ian Logan, CEO of the Lausanne 2020 Organising Committee added: “This project is a true, practical application of Agenda 2020 and its three overarching themes of sustainability, credibility and youth. This development shows that, when approached in the right way, a Games masterplan can make real sense for a host region. To have such a good case study in the heart of the University campus for our next generation of students is wonderful - we couldn’t dream of a better message to start our story.”

Vortex will be built for 156 million Swiss Francs and will be financed by the State of Vaud’s Pension Fund.