The bank building on Place de Bel-Air stands in one of the most significant locations in the city of Geneva in terms of geography and history. A free-standing ( corner ) building, the Hotel des Trois-Rois, was first erected on this site in 1760. The building constructed for Credit Suisse in 1897 was replaced in 1930 with a new building designed by architect Maurice Turrettini and engineer Robert Maillard. Despite being regarded as a building meriting conservation, several conversions have massively altered the appearance of the original structure. It is now going to be transformed into a prestigious head office for all customer business activities, providing more space for consulting meetings and more workspaces.
The potential of the prominent location gives rise to the idea of the solitary monolith. A new main façade is being created facing the Place de Bel-Air. The emphasis on the vertical lends the building a quiet presence. With its bold structural framework, the impact of the building relies on only a few materials, which emphasizes its timeless character and monumental nature. Distracting elements are removed to reveal the valuable historical substance once again. In the interior, the spatially liberated atrium forms an imposing, generously-dimensioned open central space. The grid structure refers to the building’s external appearance. A clear typology creates organizational efficiency. A cascade of oriel bays with a crystalline appearance projects into the open space of the atrium, contrasting with the minimalistic severity of the grid structure. The bays can be used for informal meetings on the different floors. In a typological simplification, the floor plan is cleaned up and the internal atrium developed into the key orientation element. A colonnade-like encircling corridor is created on each floor.
The external appearance is characterized by a discrete tectonic structure. The composite columns of concrete and sandstone are connected with an encircling architrave-like beam and stand out as a key motif. Slightly recessed elements emphasize the floor lines. The building’s openings are fully glazed, with inconspicuous recessed frames. The massive canopies provide a visual accent to the high-ceilinged ground floor level. An additional plinth is dispensed with. The original top-floor window openings are an historical reference to the earlier formulation. The entrance foyer extends across the entire width of the building facing the Passage de la Monnaie and with its colossal access staircase refers to the size of the central atrium.