Lausanne Cathedral benches

A new technology is used on oak slab benches, assembled using only wood-wood connections.

The pews, built with locally-sourced oak wood panels, have an innovative design that does not require either glue or screws. They are assembled using a joinery technique known as snap-fit.

The new benches will be placed in the Cathedral’s nave and transepts, replacing the rush-seated chairs that date from 1912. 

The back plate is designed to be easily switched, allowing to change the audience direction without the need of repositioning the benches. 

The benches are designed to be easily dismantled and reassembled, allowing them to be moved or stored flat, thus reducing transport and storage space.

The panels chosen (oak tri-folds of thicknesses ranging from 20 to 26mm) are made of a homogeneous material offering excellent resistance, and are entirely pre-cut using a CNC (numerically controlled cutting) machine with a precision of 0.01mm.

The wood will be sourced from Canton-owned forests in Concise, Etagnières and Cossonay, thus promoting local manufacture and short supply chains.

The research can be further explored in the following  publication:

Integral mechnical attachment for timber folded plate structures, IBOIS, Christopher Robeller 

Location :
Lausanne, Switzerland
Client :
Canton of Vaud, Switzerland
Design :
Yves Weinand Architectes (Lausanne), Thierry Didot + GAB Manufacture SA
Technological transfer :
Laboratory for Timber Constructions, IBOIS, EPFL
Status :