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Logements bois Hermance 01

  Very High Energy Performance intergenerational housing, underground public parking and outdoor facilities  
in Hermance(Geneva - Switzerland) - 2nd Prize

The challenge for the medieval village of Hermance lies in the ability to meet societal and environmental needs, while ensuring the transmission of its exceptional built and unbuilt heritage. The establishment of a new district must be an opportunity to integrate services, to welcome new inhabitants and to operate a real staging of the discovery of Hermance. Thus two issues emerge: 1- How to create a housing district, integrated into the life of the village, while assuming the responsibility for enhancing the heritage. 2- How to create an intergenerational neighborhood full of serenity and manage the tourist or commuter flows that cross it?

The methodology of our proposal is based on a simple principle: Before designing the new volumes of the housing program, it is necessary to define the void. Thus, to meet the challenges mentioned above, two major outdoor spaces must be qualified:

1  -  The creation of a "Glacis" at the foot of the Saint-Georges church in order to highlight the frontal character of the surrounding walls and buildings above them. This goes through a visual "depollution", around the walls and the proposal of a strong identity: An orchard with a lake view. It is in this bucolic context that the pedestrian flows towards the car park or the bus stop are organized. On the other hand, this terraced orchard is an invitation to take a break and discover Hermance from above. Thought of as an expansion of the road to Hermance, the glacis sublimates the sequence of arrival in Hermance from Geneva.

2  -  The creation of a Common Garden, thought of as an expansion of the Chemin des Murets. It offers a calm and natural setting for the development of daily life. The existing houses are included in the composition. It aims to create a link between the inhabitants. The common room and the terraces, in particular, open wide onto this garden. However, it does not assume a distributive function for dwellings. Its treatment is therefore more natural, as if the edge of the nearby forest had gained ground. The inhabitants take advantage of the qualities of an edge: A living ground, shade, its fauna, etc.  Thus the heart of the new district exists. And it is linked to the religious and administrative heart of the town by the Chemin des Murets.

In the case of this site, there is no desire to extend the urban morphology of the town, by reinterpreting its codes. Its enhancement goes rather through the contrast, which existed between compact town and fields and which persists when the fine agricultural plots are grouped together to form Domains. 

The domain model seems appropriate to us to qualify this site which will maintain its uniqueness. The fragmentation of large plots, under the impetus of the villa zone, is thus avoided. The constructions are placed in the site which alternates dense arborization and meadow. Its limits are sometimes materialized by the existing low walls or by the vegetation. It is a choice to favor the non-built to define and organize the outdoor spaces. The limits of our domain are therefore permeable, it is an "Open Domain".


Architect: A&F architects

Structural Engineer:Boss & Ass. Consulting Engineers

Landscape architect :Monnier Landscape Architecture

Pictures:Luce Workshop

A&F architects collaborators: Mehdi Aouabed,

Audrey Humbert.

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