The site comprises an ensemble of five historical buildings owned by UBS which are bounded by rue de la Confédération, rue du Commerce, rue du Rhône, and the historic Passage des Lions in the prestigious neighbourhood of Les Rues-Basses in Geneva. In January 2009, UBS launched a competition for projects to transform these structures in order to bring them up to contemporary standards of use, functionality, safety, and energy efficiency. The block comprises the Passage des Lions, designed by Adrien Peyrot and completed in 1911, a unique example of this kind of structure in Geneva, which was landmarked by the Commission Cantonale pour la Conservation des Monuments Historiques et la Protection des Sites; two buildings belonging to an ensemble dating from the early twentieth century; and two buildings along rue du Commerce. The first of these, an example of a palais bancaire built in a quarter of Geneva traditionally dedicated to commercial and banking activities, was designed by Gustave Peyrot and Albert Bourrit, and built between 1939 and 1942 on the site of a mixed-used structure occupied since 1920 by UBS, which had already undergone significant internal transformations. The second one had little architectural or heritage value.
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