The site is in the old Industrial District near Lake Geneva. Its history goes back to 1892, linked to the emergence of electricity in Geneva. At its full built out in the 50’s the site had a strong, block-like character, consisting of large scale simple industrial buildings with a dense urban character. Some of these buildings were landmarked and had to be kept and adapted to new uses, restoring them to their original configuration or changing their facades.
The very irregular site and the rich mix of uses for offices, headquarter functions, laboratories, restaurants and cafes, shops, meeting points, auditorium, conference center, library, fitness and daycare, allowed us to create a lively campus of buildings, which are varied, yet of a common and continuous language. A network of open, covered or convertible spaces is threaded through this campus, like a public diagram of streets and places.
They all lead to the central Forum with its operable roof and large pivoting doors which blur the boundaries between inside and outside. The connectivity at the ground is continued with bridges at the upper levels connected by open stairs and glazed elevators. The landscaping, which transitions seamless from the exterior to the interior reinforces the goal of Connectivity and Place.
This concept was generated by the goal of Ernesto Bertarelli, then Chairman of Serono, to make this complex not only a place for administrative or research activities, but also a place to meet and to enjoy. This challenge to create a complex that is humane and spirited respects and preserves the Old and contrasts it with the New and is on the Cutting Edge.
This attitude is furthered by a mediatectonic installation by ag4 in the entry atrium, which adapts to the architecture and creates a living image of the Merck-Serono identity.