Architects: meier + associés architectes
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Project Year: 2006
Collaborators: S Braun, M de Dompierre, I Iussi, M Jaques, AI Pepermans, M Perret
Project Area: 5,070 sqm
Photographs: Jean-Michel Landecy
This corner building at the northern gateway to Geneva resolves the problem of superimposing two very different schemes with a nine-classroom private school on the first three floors, and apartments on the other four. Corridors situated above the courtyard have been used to minimise vertical traffic, which has been reduced to a single stairwell. The school corridors are superimposed by the entrances to the apartments, most of which are duplex.
The private school is entered via the covered playground, which extends into the courtyard. The ground floor houses the reception area and a large multipurpose space. On the upper floors, the classrooms face the two roads and are interconnected by sliding partition walls. The open teaching practiced here encourages a degree of transparency between corridors and classrooms. The classrooms are enhanced with a color scheme that adds a playful touch to traffic areas.
The duplex apartments on the fourth floor are of a traditional type, with living spaces at the entrance level. Those on the sixth floor are arranged in the opposite way, with the bedrooms adjoining the corridor, leaving the living spaces free to benefit from the attic terrace. The other apartments are simplex, and arranged to make best use of the available space, whilst maximizing orientation and views over the urban landscape. Traffic areas are finished in the same yellow color as the school to give the courtyard facade a unified look.
This dual-purpose development required a static load solution capable of transferring the load for the apartment dimension, a 6.4-meter grid, to a load for the classroom dimension – eight metres. The structural solution to this was found in the form of a deep beam of the height of one floor. All facades have a perforated metal finish over the same brick red color present in the surrounding urban area. The facade on the street side is clad in glass and screen-printed to resemble perforated metal, thereby repeating the facade finish on the courtyard side.