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Results of the architecture competition concerning the redevelopment of the public areas in the north-western section of Cornavin station

The “Girard aux Grottes” project submitted by Monnier Architecture du Paysage in Lausanne won first place and first prize in the architecture competition organised by the City of Geneva for the redevelopment of the public areas in the north-western section of Cornavin station.

Espaces publics Cornavin

With the underground extension of Cornavin station, approximately 100,000 travellers are expected to pass through every day by 2030. In the firm belief that the quality of urban areas largely depends on the quality of public areas, the City of Geneva has decided to prioritise a fully-fledged project for these areas by organising a competition concerning the north-western section of Cornavin station.

Winning project: urban and spatial continuity

The jury unanimously opted for the “Girard aux Grottes” project by Monnier Architecture du Paysage. The chosen project fosters urban and spatial continuity by taking a uniform approach to the ground while creating contrasting breathable spaces which are very green.

Four squares including two new ones – Place de la Pépinière and Place des Gares – and two existing ones – Place Montbrillant and Place du Reculet – will form an urban continuity scattered with trees, thereby entirely revamping the rear of the station. Large areas will be freed for the purposes of soft mobility services.

Plants will provide a useful means of structuring and punctuating the area while serving as an ideal location for more peaceful activities. The choice of two vast canopies at each end of the project will provide both the district and the station users with a beneficial breath of fresh air, which is absolutely indispensable in the city.

A minimalist seam joining the district of les Grottes and the new Cornavin station

These new developments will make it possible to create an urban seam joining two areas, each with a strong character but serving diametrically opposite purposes: the happening, working class district of les Grottes, essentially consisting of apartment buildings, small shops and very active micro-structures, and Cornavin railway station, which will soon be transformed into a transport megastructure of national importance over the course of the coming decade.

The large scale of the future station will become visible thanks to a minimalist approach to the area expressed in two simple ways: leaving the trains visible through a glazed wall and indicating the three access points to the station by taking a uniform approach to the central section and the two side sections.

This “economy of action” is perfectly in line with the perspectives of sustainability and resource optimisation typical of contemporary projects.

Monnier Architecture du Paysage architect and landscaping firm has joined forces with Giorgis&Rodriguez Architectes, the mobility engineers at Transitec, the civil engineers at Edms and the lighting designers at Lumière Electrique to translate their vision of these new developments located at the rear of Cornavin station.

The full jury’s report is available via this link.


Anaïs Balabazan

Déléguée à l'information et à la communication - Département de l'aménagement, des constructions et de la mobilité

Tél. +41 22 418 20 53


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Article modifié le 17.08.2023 à 10:46