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Generous exterior fittings to accompany two economical housing buildings

ID card
  • Name of the project: Quartier Concorde sector F

  • Location city/canton: Geneva

  • Type of project: urban piece

  • Project start date: 2016

  • Delivery date: 2022

  • Surface area of ​​the AMEX project: 7,767m2

  • SIA phases: 31 - 53

  • Architect representative: ass architects associés SA

  • Partner company: BEP

The mission

✔️ Support urban densification by guaranteeing the quality of life of residents.

✔️ Preserve as many existing trees as possible and a shared garden area.

✔️ Offer generous outdoor amenities for apartment residents and local residents.

The brief

This project is located in the heart of Geneva, in the rapidly changing urban Concorde district. Faced with the growing demand for housing, the HBM Émile Dupont Foundation wanted to densify its residential stock. Entirely pedestrian, the plot initially housed eight buildings built in the 1950s, accompanied by large green spaces and shared gardens.

In response to a competition, we were commissioned with ASS Architectes Associés SA to redefine this residential area. The mission had to respond to two strong wishes of the Foundation: increase the number of housing while preserving leisure spaces to guarantee the quality of life of residents.

Green spaces, vegetable gardens and games for a vibrant housing stock

To the north, a public square connects the housing complex with the neighborhood. This area has places for bicycles, ecopoints for waste collection, and the “fault”, a path which crosses the plot to connect Chemin des Sports to Chemin des Ouches. At the rear, along the Voie Verte bordering the CFF tracks, we have preserved the existing tree line. To the north-east, along Chemin des Sports, the pedestrian walkway, raised above street level, is punctuated by an alignment of lime trees and containers planted with perennials and grasses. On the Chemin des Ouches side, a magnificent Acer pseudoplatanus welcomes visitors. A rest area with picnic tables is installed below to take advantage of its shade.

The tree palette is mainly native around the perimeter, and becomes increasingly horticultural inside the plot. Along the residential buildings, decorative gardens planted with horticultural species and ornamental apple and plum trees serve as a buffer space between the private terraces of the housing and the public garden. Sandblasted concrete walkways and smooth white concrete furniture elements echo the architecture.

We also planned a play area for multi-age children and shared gardens raised in wooden containers. These two areas were left on hold and subsequently carried out by BEP, after consultation with the residents.

A large green space on the ground to accommodate all uses

The project's approach, which allowed us to stand out during the competition, is based on the creation of a large central green space. The two residential towers, positioned in an L shape in the North and East part, leave the South free to install an area of ​​grass and plantations. The idea is to offer children and families a space to freely play ball, rackets, or other sporting activities. This strategic positioning also makes it possible to offer crossing housing where all the living rooms open onto the park. The layout of the basement is limited to the footprint of the building to leave as much open ground as possible. An asset both to facilitate the infiltration of rainwater and to encourage the planting of plants and thus create a green environment for residents.

Focus on: green facades

Our greatest success on this project? The greening of the facades on eight floors! To achieve this feat, we set up a system of staggered containers every two floors with climbing plants supported via ropes. The selected horticultural species offer either fairly atypical foliage or flowering to brighten up and soften the facade. Despite some initial concerns regarding exposure to the sun, the vegetation ultimately developed well over the seasons, becoming one of the major distinctive elements of this project.

    A green residential neighborhood project followed from A to Z

    From the first image of the competition to commissioning, including authorization requests, we supported the project owner on this project from start to finish. The project, although large in scale, was managed efficiently thanks to a good team and good understanding between the different stakeholders. Delivered in the summer of 2022, the project was very well received by residents and the Foundation. The latter also made us return in December 2022 to plant three 10 meter high pines at the entrance to the plot, as was initially outlined in the competition visual.
    “As a landscape architect, participating in the execution strengthened my understanding of the different trades and the realities of the site”