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An exclusive garden where the slope is transformed into a landscape experimentation area

ID card
  • Project name: Nant D’Argent

  • Location city/canton: Cologny, canton of Geneva

  • Type of project: Private garden

  • Project start date: 2015

  • Delivery date: 2023

  • Surface area of ​​the plot: 1,400 m2

  • AIS Stages: 21 - 53

  • Architects: JP Niederhauser Architecte SA, Gulian Run SA

  • Partner company: Nicollier Group SA, Martin Paysage

The mission

✔️ Take advantage of the slope of the land to offer a lodge garden on the landscape.

✔️ Think outside the box to dare to experiment with innovative concepts.

✔️ Harmonize the slender lines of the building with the organic curves of the plant.

The brief

This project is located in the commune of Cologny, belonging to the canton of Geneva. With a view of the lake and the Jura mountains, the plot benefits from a magnificent panorama of the surrounding landscape.

The architectural project, very daring and original, is made up of a set of cantilevered parallelepiped volumes. The building and the garden are integrated into the slope to emphasize the topography which becomes a strength of the project.

The owner, an art and architecture aficionado, is very involved in the decision-making process. For the exterior designs, he gave us carte blanche to experiment with ideas, materials and new technologies. Resulting from creative emulation between the different agents, this project is indisputably unique.

An exclusive private garden, a field of experimentation

The garden offers organic shapes on the periphery, then more structured as it approaches the building. The plant species planted blur the plot boundaries and fulfill aesthetic functions as a privacy screen. More in the center of the composition, the glacis of grass provides access to the isolated “folies” punctuating the garden.

Around the central foot of the building, exterior living spaces with contemporary shapes are articulated: lounge, swimming pool with movable floor, pool with water features. More remote, relaxing atmospheres dotted the rest of the garden with the use of old-fashioned materials and textures. This improbable marriage of shapes creates a playful and experimental contrast.

Inside the house, a patio provides light to the lower floors. It is covered with an 8 meter high green wall accompanied by a waterfall. A real interior garden bringing light and freshness to the heart of the house.

The tree palette combines ornamental trees such as niwakis, real plant sculptures, with native trees such as Scots pines. These have a magnificent tortuous orange bark and a perched crown which, judiciously placed, allows privacy from certain rooms of the villa.  

At the foot of these trees, the very eclectic palette of perennial plants offers a diversity of colors, flowers and foliage to celebrate each season. Our role, as a landscape architect, is to coordinate all these dimensions to guarantee harmony.

    Take advantage of the slope to enjoy the landscape

    The plot has the particularity of having access to the bottom of the property and to the top, with a drop of more than 10 meters. The challenge is to organize, structure and prioritize uses. The idea of ​​the project is to create a stroll around the house where you can sometimes observe the landscape, stop on a plot or continue on your way. A walk to see and feel.

    We played with the slope to transform the garden into a lodge on the landscape. Throughout the route, the topography is highlighted with the evocation of contour lines by supports. Metal corten steel battens and porcelain stoneware scales sculpt the embankment and constitute platforms to accommodate the different uses of the garden. These plots have been designed as modular spaces that can be used according to desires and needs.

    Focus on: water amenities  

    The swimming pool with a movable floor is raised to the same level as the rest of the paving to enlarge the porcelain stoneware checkerboard making up the terrace. At the other end, the glass pool features nine jets of water springing from a submerged cubic composition. A digital water printer, controlled via an application, animates this pool using interactive images formed by water droplets.

    The design for the installation of water features on the main terrace is the result of a six-handed collaboration between the client, the architects and us, the landscape architect. The execution and meticulous work around the sound of water were then entrusted to specialists.

    This area is representative of the project: a work of balance between the different plans with the distant landscape, the garden and the architecture. And collaborative work between the owner and his agents.

    New technologies at the service of inventiveness

    From the beginning of the project, the owner wanted to work in three dimensions. On a plot with complex topography like here, working with a digital model allows us to verify certain hypotheses very quickly. For example, look at the views from inside the building to determine which species of tree will be high enough to hide views. Thanks to shared 3D, we were able to better understand the volume needed in the garden.

    We are currently working with BIM for additional studies aimed at designing a custom pergola. Through the virtual reality headset, we explore all possible scenarios to maximize shading and enhance the landscape view. This technology supplants all traditional calculation methods to guarantee the relevance of the concept before work even begins.

    “Thanks to new technologies, we find solutions and ultimately shapes that are completely different from those that would have been achieved if we had used traditional drawing methods. »