Project By

Dylan Perkinson | Mun Yi Cheng |

SCI-Arc - David Ruy

The Large Hadron Collider is arguably one of the greatest undertakings in human history. This beast is scientific instrument blown up to the scale of infrastructure. It is quite literally one of the biggest structures in the world. It is housed in a tunnel a circumference of 17 miles and is buried an average of 300 feet underground, straddling the border between Switzerland and France. Experiments with the LHC have proven equally mind blowing, and having dealt with very curious problems of time and space. It has recreated conditions shortly after the Big Bang. Latest experiments confirmed quantum spookiness, in which particles “decide” on their state based on what happens to them in the future.

After its 20 year run, the collider will be retired in 2018. As architects-in-residence at CERN, we showcase to you today a masterplan for how LHC sites can be developed into centers that combine scientific learning with touristic entertainment. This masterplan helps CERN move forward, solidifying its legacy as a site of historical and scientific significance. We focus today on the ATLAS site, which is part of the Geneva campus, and home to the ATLAS particle detector.

One of the most remarkable aspects of the LHC is how it exemplifies EU trans-boundary cooperation. We celebrate this by redeveloping of important but formally uninteresting buildings around ATLAS in the vernacular Swiss style. A visitor center provides you with the story behind the LHC as well as key facts and figures. However there is no better way to learn than to see with one’s own eyes. Knowledge is experientially solidified through a cable car ride that offer glimpses of the accelerator pipes and finally entering the actual tunnel of the Large Hadron Collider. Cable car rides are integral parts of many Swiss touristic destinations, and we are certain that this experiential aspect will be very popular with the visiting public.

Sites similar to ATLAS can be found all along the circumference of the LHC, and they all provide great opportunities for learning within different rural and urban contexts. We have identified several of these to be worked on in phases, once the ATLAS proposal has proven successful and popular.