A unique building in the old town, the Ancien Manège has recently undergone renovation work. Having been converted into a public facility and renamed the “Manège en Ville”, the building now houses several complementary institutions under one roof. This cohabitation, largely devoted to children, is a first in the City of Geneva.
The facility is the result of the mobilisation of the local citizens and a participatory process lasting more than six years between the architects who won the competition, the neighbourhood associations, the future users of the building and the municipal services.
Built in 1829 by the architect François Brolliet and easily recognisable by its semi-circular facade, the Ancien Manège was originally used as a site for horse riding. It was converted into a car park in 1950 and remains one of the few buildings of its type in Switzerland, dating back to the Restoration.
For a number of decades, this building, purchased by the City from the State in 2015, was the subject of considerable debate. The City Centre district, and the Old Town in particular, had very few venues that could be made available to the local associations and residents. The increasing need for early childhood and extracurricular facilities also meant a need for new equipment in order to satisfy the demand.
Shared spaces for a new neighbourhood dynamic
Intended for people of all ages, albeit with a strong focus on children and families, the premises are shared and are intended as mixed activity areas.
The Manège en Ville is home to four separate entities spread across three floors:
A play area and a parent-children area can be found in the St-Léger side of the building. The play area is open to children aged 15 months to 5 years for half-days. The parent-children area welcomes children accompanied by their parents on a walk-in basis, with the parents remaining on site.
The ludothèque can be found on the other side of the building adjacent to rue Jean-Daniel Colladon, allowing the Centre and Old Town ludothèque to be housed in larger, lighter and more suitable premises.
Upstairs, the large multi-purpose room houses a school canteen seating 80. Finally, the community centre can be found on the top floor, opening onto the pubic area above the rotunda. The service areas, kitchen and offices are housed in the towers.
The Manège en Ville is also home to the Centre and Old Town Residents’ Association as well as the Parents’ Association.
An original form of governance
This multi association site will call on an original, shared governance model designed to promote dialogue and neighbourhood initiatives, foster synergies and establish ties between the neighbourhood associations, residents and public services.
Between renovation and heritage conservation
The project developed by the architects at ESTAR has highlighted the previous functions of the building, prioritising soft renovation without doing away with the successive architectural layers. The choice of materials used reflects a delicate balance between the needs of the users and the requirements of heritage conservation.
The renovation also provided an opportunity to improve the energy performance of the building while maintaining its heritage aspects. The thermal envelope now enjoys a performance equal to that of a Minergie renovated building.
La rénovation de l'Ancien Manège en images
La galerie, associée à cet article, contient 27 photos.
Article modifié le 18.10.2021 à 15:27