A place to (re)invent. Eighteen buildings, tens of thousands of square meters of housing, three thousand five hundred inhabitants planned, commerce and a large public park: the new district of La Chapelle is a major urban challenge on the scale of the canton of Geneva.
Above and below: the same attention. The esplanade is almost 250 meters long and about 20 meters wide, crossing the (future) district from side to side. Logically placed in the lower part of the site, the two covered ramps set the tone: in a well-framed treatment, a flexible and undulating formal language is inscribed. A permanent play of taut curves and pleasant roundings is found in the various elements that dot and punctuate the esplanade, whether it be the four kiosks at the exits of the underground parking garage, the urban furniture (benches and shelters in particular) or the extraction stacks. The main materiality is tinted raw concrete, the railings are in galvanized steel, the floor in traditional asphalt. The integration of lighting in the flat roof slabs or under the benches, the grouping of waste sorting points allow to limit the presence of parasitic objects in the perimeter (garbage cans, street lamps or others). This sober and soft atmosphere is also perceived in the underground parking. At each exit kiosk, just behind the elevator, there is a large well that opens onto the three levels built into the infrastructure. These patios, with their rounded corners, are planted with vegetation and diffuse daylight down to the top basement level, providing natural ventilation for the entire parking lot. For users, they are above all a bulwark against the feeling of unease that this type of underground space sometimes creates. The esplanade, which is long and necessarily limited in size, could easily have disappeared behind the expressive variety of the various large buildings being built around it. Thanks to bold stylistic options and a rigorous general concept, the project nevertheless succeeds in asserting its singular identity at the heart of the site. A masterful landscaping and engineering work with multiple constraints (security, fire), it responds above all to its primary vocation: that of being at the service of a neighborhood still in the making.