Vertical extension in Avenue Wendt 29-31, Geneva
Location Geneva, Switzerland
Date 2018-

Won tender

Gross floor area 1'100 m²

Grégoire Martin
Deborah Suter
Mara Sciarini
Ana Sá
Matteo Ciccarelli
Solange Piccard
Alice Sorg
Auguste Pachoud

This two-floor vertical extension project on Avenue Wendt is located next to a pair of neighboring buildings that also recently added on floors. From a volume perspective, this facilitated the extension’s integration and acceptance. Our architectural expression and vision, however, was not congruous with a solution aimed at architectural continuity.

The existing structure from the 1950s, a nondescript building with several awkward elements, was crowned by an eave that protected and completed the facades. The neighboring project decided to renovate the entire facade, destroying the eaves in order to blend the addition into a new finish in exterior plaster. This choice made it impossible to anchor the project in a pre-existing quality common to both buildings. Our project starts from the idea of exploiting the depth of the preserved eaves to offer large continuous balconies showcasing extraordinary views of the Alps and the Jura mountains. The building is crowned without lengthening it by repeating the eaves twice, creating the effect of horizontal strata.

The architectural style of the addition directly reflects the choice to use a light structure made entirely of wood. The wooden floors and their external extension remain visible, as do the beams that support them. The emphasis is on the rhythm and control of the various bare elements of the facade. The panel cladding, French windows and loggias form two intermediate layers with a more intensely colored wood that stands out from the original structure. Like a large cabin on the roof, our project aspires to offer another universe, detached from urban banality. This construction resonates curiously with a chalet just a few steps away – a questioning of the city that keeps going at all costs, at a time when the climate crisis requires us to seriously question the world of construction.

The housing typologies proposed in this project are adapted to their environment. The living spaces are oriented towards the street and the urban space of the city, while the sleeping spaces are oriented towards the courtyard and the green space behind the building.