The “Avenue de France” administrative building is sat on a site which imposes several constraints. It was built on a site bordering the CFF (national) railway lines, limited on its northern end by the Avenue de France and adjacent to a pre-existing building. The site’s topography also imposes varying conditions namely: the railway tracks to be found at the lowest point, the level of the access to the underground parking, the level of the Avenue de France over-passing the railway and the general level of the existing adjacent buildings. It is worth noting that before construction of the building the site had long been considered as ‘unsuitable’ for development.
With the above in mind, the project layout necessitated specific spatial and visual strategies, reinforced by a particular approach to both volumetric analysis and facade designs. The issues raised by the site’s complexity were elegantly resolved in a minimalist form. In fully integrating itself with the existing buildings, the “L”-shaped volume responds to the contextual aspects by adopting the scale of the adjacent building, thus creating a single fused structure and an internal courtyard at the same time.
The result is a glass prism, which presents itself as a glazed backdrop to the railway platforms, and as the embodiment of one side of the main gateway to the International Organizations ‘quarter’ in Geneva by echoing House of Peace forming the other side of this gateway along the Avenue de France the next few years.