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A Futuristic Hogwarts for Rich Weirdos

A flying saucer is really the perfect place for packing in pasty rich kids.

Bernard Tschumi Architects won a competition to design a performing arts center for an exclusive prep school this month. Entirely befitting a school made up of the malformed spawn of the astronomically rich, the place looks like a flying saucer.

The new building at the Institut Le Rosey—finishing school to the likes of the king of Belgium, the Aga Khan, the progeny of Liz Taylor, and many, many others whose parents have more money than God and a tiny gene pool—is a low-slung, shiny steel dome destined for the shores of Lake Geneva. The shape is meant as some sort of eco-friendly thermal shield, though to us, it has a vague martial quality; you half expect Gort to march out at any moment and start fire-beaming the Rothschilds.

According to the school's clearly out-of-date Wikipedia entry, Carnal Hall (named for the school's founder, not students? pubescent yearnings), was supposed to be designed by the architect Paul Noritaka Tange, son of the great Kenzo Tange and himself a Rosean. Not sure what happened there. Our guess: The design was scrapped because it was kinda? blah—not at all what you'd erect for the crownheads of Europe.

In any case, Tschumi is probably a better choice. The former dean of Columbia's architecture school, he is best known, in recent years, for designing the controversial New Acropolis Museum in Athens. If he can navigate a political minefield that cuts to the bone of who owns ancient history, surely he'll be fine answering to persnickety boarding-school types. Plus, the man knows from school buildings. Check his portfolio here. And see more Co.Design coverage of intergalactic architecture here and here.

[Images courtesy of Bernard Tschumi Architects]

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  • Anon

    I would like to turn the focus to the title. "Rich weirdos"? I'm not sure what you're so cross about love, but calm down. You're welcome. 

  • JF

    Suzanne, this article is terrible and ignorant at the very best. You should stick to design rather than journalism. I would have assumed that a designer/architect would have found the building an interesting addition to their field, but you have failed to report the details of the building and instead have focused on its users.

  • Vladimir Makeienko

    Dear Suzanne Labarre,

    I am also an alumnus of Le Rosey, yet quite fresh. Same as my fellow 'ancien' I would like to say, that your utmost ignorant perception of this school is unprofessional and judgmental and your insults are low and unjustified, to say the least.

    I truly agree that creating an untrue stereotype about a group of people after one encounter with a person, who might not actually even belong to this group (referring to you being bullied by a rich kid, who is most likely by far not rich enough to go to Roesy) is clearly a sign of  narrow-mindedness and absence of spirit (which every Rosey student has plenty of, as well as a broad mind).

    I also believe that this site was supposed to be respectable design review and not a cheap 'boulevard press' page, which makes the article above simply out of place.

    From a personal point of view, Rosey is a great school full of great people with an amazingly diverse and rich cultural background. The experience it gives is one that will be with you for the rest of your life and is unlike any other.

    In future, I would like to ask that you pay more attention to the research on the topic of your articles, otherwise they turn out to be funny (not from a good side), at best and utterly unprofessional, to say the least.

    Your sincerely,
    Vladimir Makeienko,
    A former Roseyan, who is yet another receiver of undue insults

  • Cliff Kuang

    Clearly, humor was not a value instilled at the school. But thanks for reading guys.

  • LV

    Hi Cliff,

    Perhaps the "humor" employed in this poorly aimed polemic is too far above or below the Rosey frequency of what is comical. In my experience (being the key word) your targeted weirdos are at their best when laughing at themselves, and they do it well. Since we are clearly comfortable dealing in personal opinions, you have taken an interesting subject and jabbed at it with a dull pencil to get attention. Your editor's caricature is more pretentious and less witty than most Roseans and that is the only "weird" and humorous aspect of this feature. 

    A faithful reader and Rosey Alum

  • Haters Wilbhatin

    Dear Suzanne Labarre,

    I am an alumnus of Institut Le Rosey that you resent so much. Please note that despite the fact the school only takes in a small quantity of students each year, we still do have a close knit alumni community, many of them active on the internet. I understand that income inequality draws hatred out of many normally sane and polite human beings, but I would ask you to fume in silence. Contrary to common belief, rich people are humans too, probably more so since we are more prone to offer humanitarian aid to our fellow man and you rarely find an article on the internet criticizing the poor, but you may find a large number of them berating the rich. If you have had unfortunate dealings with the rich then I truly feel sorry for you. Please note that the kid in high school who bullied you probably wasn't rich enough. Once your income exceeds a certain level it isn't worth bragging about or throwing around as a weight. Also note that princes and princesses only take up a small proportion of the student population, and their statuses mean for naught to us students who treat them as our equals and friends. I happen to have the good fortune to personally meet with the Aga Khan during his visit to the school. He is a humble man with great vision and does not deserved you cheap insults. In addition, from a scientific point of view, the Rosey alumni probably has a much larger gene pool than your family does due to its very international composition. We would also like to comment on your use of the word "pasty", commonly used to describe very white skin complexion. You should know that much of us students are not Caucasian, and therefore not "pasty". As a professional writer I believe you should be more considerate with word use.

    In terms of the actual building itself, I will not have the privilege of experiencing it first hand, but I assure you mankind has designed much weirder structures all in the name of Art. As a writer for a designer website I believe you should be quite familiar with them. It certainly is a departure from the traditional meat-grinder style school building that most people are used to, and you no doubt have resided in. Just because you spent your insecure childhood in grey, inhuman buildings doesn't mean all children have to. The Carnal hall will serve its purpose and unless proven otherwise you, an outsider, have no place to judge it.

    My parents could only barely afford the school fees at this place but still insisted that I receive a good education. I am currently very pleased with their decision to do so because it raised me to be a well-mannered and courteous figure as my compatriots and I are, and not the hateful, psychologically traumatized, plain rude individual you yourself are. Please note that our alumni network spreads wide geographically and many are in your area. It would please us no end for you to arrange a meeting with one of them so as to correct your biased and ill-informed views. Now please take your fuming hatred and ill-conceived article to some darker corner of the internet where it is more at home, like 4chan, in order not to sully the good name of the others who reside at this site.

    Sincerely yours,
    A Receiver of Undue Insults

  • Nicolette Beyrard

    Your site features some interesting projects. Pity that you should feel necessary to introduce cheap comments such as "malformed spawn of the astronomically rich" or "more money than God and a tiny gene pool". These bear no relation to the topic and do no credit to you professionalism.

  • Ekaterina Pershina

    Suzanne Labarre, I have no idea to wich point do you have to be ignorant to call the most prestigious school in the world - prep school for malformed rich kidds? But obiously you do not do your reserch before releasing articles...and just for the future, if you do want to have some sort of credibility on the market and look slightly professional...think twice before writing something like that. Because one day you will have to write for one or many of the "malformed kidds" and by now its all over the fb with your name on it....not a good advertisement!
    I am shoked how you even dared to say something like that!!!!!

  • kathykate

    "...malformed spawn of the astronomically rich..."
    my favorite line of the article.. site... web. LOVE IT.