PAV Geneva


Bordered on one side by the Arve river and on the other by the hills of Lancy, the future district of "Praille Acacias Vernets" - the PAV - benefits from a remarkable geographical context; at the same time, the district is in the heart of the metropolitan area of Geneva.

Today, the PAV is a mixed-use zone with large industrial areas containing local industries and services as well as more urbanized districts. Due to the city’s unique location on the French border and its need to expand, the PAV is one of Geneva’s most important urban projects and is projected to become a dense, central, and mixed-use district by 2050.

On the basis of an existing Master Plan by ENF Architects from Zurich, our team developed a comprehensive vision and guidelines for all future public spaces and a new mobility concept for the PAV area. The strategy can be summarized in three parts: re-territorializing the PAV by finding a balance between the current chaos and new structuring elements; exploiting the transformation by producing interventions on the site that stimulate urban activities; and generating a new identity through the reinforcement of the existing identity (this by, among other things, establishing a large, emblematic public space). One important idea of our intervention is to progressively mutate the district by re-appropriating existing open spaces – used today as parking lots, open storages, streets or railway tracks. Keeping unbuilt areas completely open for any type of public usage becomes a means of structuring and guiding the development of future built areas.

The result doesn't consist of a rigid plan but of six structuring elements framing the area and enabling a clearer reading of the site:

The "Route des Jeunes" transforms a highway into an active urban boulevard with all types of urban activities, connecting the future district to the metropolitan infrastructure and creating an entry gate to the city center.

The "Green Cross" exposes previously underground rivers, links the surrounding forests and parks to the site with a new series of public parks, and creates a vegetated crossing in the future "Etoile" business district of the PAV.

The "Ring" links a series of pocket parks to a ring avenue, along which are lined public infrastructure and programs. The street level consists of one large shared space with new bus lines and all types of non-motorized traffic.

The "Voie Verte" links a popular forested leisure zone to the PAV district, enables localized interactions with the Arve river, and creates new vegetated connections to the city center of Geneva.

The "Ballade des Crêtes" offers a continuous walk around the new district, punctuated by panoramic viewing points and direct connections to the PAV.

Last but not least, the "Art in PAV" initiative proposes to reinforce the existing neighborhood identity by rehabilitating remarkable industrial buildings and infusing them with cultural programs. Various temporary cultural activities and events are being organized, which stimulate urban activities and bring people to previously unknown areas.