Library of Art and Archaeology & Gallery of Graphic Art, Geneva
Location Geneva, Switzerland
Date 2006-2010

Invitation to tender

Gross floor area 2'500 m²

Design of the glass partitionsATELIER XL

Caroline Wüthrich
Guillaume Clivaz
Yafiza Zorro


Walter Mair

The building at No. 5, Promenade du Pin, designed in the 19th century for a prominent Genevan family, houses the Gallery of Graphic Art and the Art and Archaeology Library.

The building’s facades were restored at an earlier date. The aim of the project was to restructure the different activities and enhance the interior spaces that had suffered due to ageing and various major interventions between 1940 and 1970.

The staircase was restored by the construction of an artificial moulding system imitating molasse stone. The new solid oak landing doors are a reinterpretation of the frames, mouldings and panels of 19th century joinery. A new suspended chandelier was installed by the architects in the stairwell.

The redesigned library is much lighter and more comfortable for users. The reading desks evoke book spines, while the lighting reinterprets the legendary banker’s lamp with its opal green shade. The media library, separated from the administrative areas by large screen-printed glass panels, is a bright, white space with computer screens aligned on a long central table.

Four structural reinforced concrete columns from the 1940’s transformations have been clad in a Perspex membrane and equipped with artificial lighting. All the fluid systems, usually hidden by suspended ceilings, have been installed as visible ducting.