Vincent Callebaut Architectures
Geneva, Switzerland
Project Year


Vincent Callebaut Architectures as Architects

As the Genevan cantonal politics opens finally on a « future without frontiers », the « Landscript » project integrates itself in a logic of laboratory to make denser before 2020 a marginal area of 220 hectares maximum, dedicated until now exclusively to industrial activities. “A minimum of free spaces for a maximum of dual spaces”, this is the objective of the project that doubles the intentions of the programme by accommodating more that 100,000 new inhabitants as well as all the new equipments necessary through an CUS density average of 4 (i.e. 4 m² of brut floor surface area for 1 m² of ground, public and private areas included)!

It deals with a urban recycling phenomenon at high density, typical problem of our European post-industrial revolution which have to transform the old periphery into a new transfunctional central space. In this context, we have deliberately integrated the project in a global evolution of the Lemanic territory and of the two elements marking the mountains and the water. The landscape superimposes itself on the industrial and train infrastructures remained intact and thus rebuilds itself truly on the city.


Landscript proposes an evolution scenario on the fifteen next years which is based on a new auto cloning phenomenon of the landscape. Indeed, the concept of the project comes from the territorial genes in order to restore an equilibrated ecosystem between the built magma and a rediscovered biodiversity. These territorial genes are in fact the historical features of character which marked the landscape and serve as lock to draw the strength lines of the new urban scenography.

A maximum of vegetation: The site, located in a alluvial plain and bordered by a moraine coming from the retreat of the glacier, lost all its territorial history. This is a good example of invasion of the landscape by the concrete cover of the industrial city. There is no more vegetation now inside the site ! Just a timbered cord which accompanies the wood slope separation of the Bâtie au Bachet and Pinchat. It is precisely from this timbered cord that Landscript begins to reweave an effervescent and auto reproductive planted web for a lasting growth .The 3 territories concerning the train (CFF and côteau de Lancy), the industry (Praille and Acacias) and both activities (Vernets and Noisettes quarter) find progressively an overall cohesion. New transversal ways to the viaduct from the Jeunes freeway heal by planted fastens the deep and axial wound coming from the road and train network

A maximum of water: For more than 15 000 years, the site has been forged and modelled by the power of the water and the glacial moraine. During its evolution, the old big delta formed by the three rivers has been covered by two of its three confluences of Rhône, Aire and Drize. The water, essential element of the Genevan landscape, does not irrigate anymore the territory in surface. Just Arve at the North limit of the site, whose border line has been corrected and encountered important floods, remains however a natural infrastructure with a strong identity. Landsript proposes to restore these aquatic flows open-cast which interlace themselves between the viaducts of the Jeunes freeway, outlining thus the main South entry in the city of Geneva. These two reopened rivers are the new main lines of an artificial landscapes which will be occupied by the next 100 000 new inhabitants and the equipments dedicated to them. Aire and Drive arrive on Arve, at the head of the lake whose contours are redrawn in order to welcome the historical project of the river harbour linked to the buckle of the railroad so as to create a true multimodal pole of entertainment in the centre of the city.


Landscript represents the third step of the worldwide urban evolution. Indeed, after having built the city on the landscape, the landscape rebuilt itself on the city ! In this perspective, all the buildings are considered as abstractions of the geographies and distortions of ecosystems. Sometimes cocoons, atolls or inhabited mountains, they absorb the activities which did not know how to impregnate themselves of the landscape.

A maximum of dual programs: Each artificial landscape has a degree of variable duality so as to assure a maximum of viable density. In the centre of the project, the inhabited mountains are set up directly on the Jeunes freeway which takes currently away all the possibilities of a continuous nature. At the foot of these mega building, Aire and Drize connect a new network of lagoons to the river harbour and to the main line that Arve constitutes. It is a new geography genetically modified of water and mountains that integrates all the programmation of the public equipments (schools, crèches, universities, theatres, museums, shopping malls) by mixing them to the housings and to the secondary and tertiary activities.

A maximum of auto sufficiency: These architectures, with organic silhouettes merging with the natural landscape, are auto sufficient in the view of the current research to the long lasting development. That is the reason why they product their own energy (by biogas, photovoltaic cells and wind mill energy), recycle their waste (by bio burning and bacterial beds) and their used waters by natural filtration in purification stations and lagoons. It is with these images and these dreams we want to begin to reconsider the future of the city. We would like to be able to say, Geneva city of lakes, Geneva, city of mountains, Geneva city of forests, Geneva city of rivers !

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