This detached house, located at 54 Route de Frontenex, is part of a preserved area of historic urban fabric. Built in 1868, it comprises three residential floors above a semi-basement ground floor used for industrial purposes, as well as two low annexes set at right angles to the house, forming a courtyard, and a garden at the rear.
The property was acquired by the City of Geneva in 1951 and has undergone various transformations. In 2014, a call for tenders was launched for the installation of a crèche. This does not affect the main building’s currently residential upper floors.
The chosen project adapts itself to the existing structures of the building, which is protected due to its heritage character. No trace of any contemporary intervention is therefore visible on the exterior. The creation of a single entrance from the courtyard to the nursery, with its central distribution zone, is one of the project’s guiding principles. Inside, special attention has been given to improving intersectoral connections, optimising the poorly-lit, vaulted roof space and strengthening the links with the garden.
In terms of programmatic organisation, the distribution of the different age groups and the quality of the children’s spaces are key aspects of this project. The best solution from those envisaged results in the children being distributed throughout the volumes. The zone for toddlers radiates around a central core on the parkland side on the first floor, with direct access to the sheltered garden away from the Route de Frontenex. The older, more mobile children, who go out on regular trips, remain in touch with the more urban courtyard space.
The vaulted lower floor space is used as a welcome area and dining room for the children, with large windows looking out onto the courtyard. A spacious games room has been created high up under the vaulted roof, thus defining a new role for this magnificent space.