Student House, Geneva
Location Geneva, Switzerland
Date 2008 – 2012

MEP (parallel study selection process), winning project

Gross floor area approx. 13000 m2

Frédéric Crausaz
Leonhard Kanapin
Ubaldo Martella
Grégoire Martin
Cristina Moldes
Boris Pflugfelder
Stéphane Koularmanis


Radek Brunecky

Situated at the entrance to Geneva, parallel with the railway lines, the Student House for IHEID (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies) appears to hover in the air like a stack of enclosed platforms that rise up in a staccato and diminuendo way.

The building takes the form of a slim, lightly curving block that follows the trajectory of the railway lines. The alternating angles of the end facades reflect this curvature, as does the very slight fold on the lakeside that integrates this large volume into the urban context.

On its peripheries, the building has private balconies on the east side and wide external walkways on the west. Due to this arrangement, all the apartments are dual-aspect. The bedrooms face east, and so are quiet, benefiting from the morning sun and the view of the lake and the Alps. The kitchens and living rooms look out onto the walkways. Like the decks of an ocean liner, overlooking the fascinating spectacle of the passing trains, these galleries provide open air meeting spaces. They are equipped with concrete parapets, which act as acoustic barriers. The height of these gradually diminishes according to the angle of incidence of the train noise. The higher one looks, the visually lighter the facade’s appearance becomes. On the east side, the building opens onto a view of the bay of Geneva, and at its base has a semi-private garden along a public path that connects the Avenue de France with the Sécheron walkway.