The Rolex Learning Centre

The Rolex LC

Welcome to my latest playground, The Rolex Learning Centre. The Rolex is a new age building complex situated on the edge of the EPFL campus. The EPFL is one of Europe’s most respected technology - science development universities and it sits beside the University of Lausanne (UNIL) overlooking Lake Geneva and the French Alps. When Rolex were invited to be involved with this new idea of what learning comprises a part of their brief to the globe wide architectural competition was that the building would be open to both students of EPFL and the public seven days a week until midnight. And here I am enjoying the fruits of Rolex’s generosity.
I suggest you check out the URL below of the winning architects vision for the design. Even though the reality of this space is such an individual experience, I find their description is a major part of that actuality. Our friends Ruth and Giles turned Jo and I on to this amazing place. I was hooked after watching the video from the Rolex Learning Centre website. The next day Harvey and I found our way here and have been coming two days a week since. (I think Harvey even sneaked an extra day in last week)
This is what the Rolex offers the public. Open seven days a week from 07:00 hours until midnight. Underground parking for 1 chf an hour, a cafe, a cafeteria and an a-la-carte restaurant (for Rolex watch owners). They supply tables with power, quiet study areas and noisy ones, coloured bean bag zones (where you can stack the bags like a mountain and even snog on them in your study breaks if you have a snogging partner). You can reserve glass enclosed, sound-proof conference spaces (no cost), visit the library (500,000 books and documents) to read and research using their free internet connection and pay for copies of information to be printed.
The coffee is average (served in plastic cups), the cafe food not too bad, but the cafeteria meals are excellent value (A$7-14 but if you like your steak medium ask for it to be well done) and you can take food back to your work space to eat. The Rolex is a great place to think and write (like I’m doing now). It is a very visual experience. People (ranging from the fashionistas to the typical bohemian student type and of course tourists) from all parts of the globe passing through circular glass pods, reflections of skylines and buildings, zen gardens and daydreams and even Antipodeans like Harvey and I, blending in with Quicksilver and Caloundra Surf gear, bridging the generations while using the vast canvas that changes around us to fill the white spaces on the page of our current fiction manuscripts.
There is also an audible dimension to this place. It is almost a linear hum punctuated by a nearby foreign language conversation, the swishing of jeans and clonking of leather heels and then an occasional peel of distant laughter, which all filters onto the soundtrack of the pages before me (Apple Pages document that is).  
For me, what is more useful, is the underneath of it all. That ethereal aspect of informal air that connects and invisibly fills the spaces within and beyond the glass. It reminds me of what the Buddha called ‘the one’. Here, the chemistry of science and creativity, of individually focused minds reveling in new ideas, all somewhere connected to that one universal thought that has always been and remains active, expanding our universe at the rate of five billion miles every eight seconds. This is my experience at least. As a dreamer, a writer, who is now treading new ground, where there is more inspiration than perspiration. I am finding I am being zapped in all directions and challenged out of a mediocrity that I once thought was situated on the cutting edge of nirvana. Then again if you are a evolutionist you might have a totally different experience sitting where I am. 
For me The Rolex is now my creation space for a couple of days a week. The participants in this educational experience are somehow a part of the thread that becomes the letters that fill the ‘blanc’ (white) spaces on the pages of ‘The Frozen Immigrant’, with twenty-first century ink. When you good folk visit Jo and I in Switzerland, this is one of the must see Lausanne experiences we will bring you to. Until then enjoy your visit to The Rolex Learning Centre via the video on the site below.
The sound proof rooms

Harvey and Ruth

Beanbag heaven

A study in B & W

A quiet zone

Underneath 1

Underneath 2

Beanbag bridge

Beam me up


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