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A neighborhood in the making

A beating heart between tradition and modernity

The site known as ‘Le Jardin’, in the heart of the Quartier des Nations, is dedicated to offering a unique experience. In 2021, the Seraina Investment Foundation, owner of the land, initiated a transitional urban planning concept while simultaneously launching discussions on a development project. From the outset, Seraina aimed to involve citizens and all stakeholders in a co-creation process. As a result, this area, previously closed to the public, is now open for relaxation, sharing, cultural discovery, and urban gardening, encouraging a wealth of initiatives and fostering harmonious coexistence between the people of Geneva and the international community.

 

Unlike traditional projects that focus on constructing a built element on a plot of land, the owner’s approach here has been to identify, promote, and test possible uses for the site before proceeding to the building project phase, integrating these uses.

 

From its agricultural past to a futuristic vision of well-integrated urban planning serving the residents, we will offer a series of articles and testimonials that immerse you in different aspects of the site. These stories will illustrate how this project has shaped and will continue to shape Geneva’s future while celebrating its rich heritage.

Follow us on this journey through history, landscape, international diplomacy, urban innovation, and ecology to discover how this magnificent site will embody the perfect synthesis of tradition and modernity.

To kick off this series, we invite you to delve into the history of these Geneva lands.

The ‘Jardin des Nations’ district in Geneva: an area in perpetual evolution

In the heart of Geneva, the ‘Jardin’ district stands as a symbol of the city’s constant evolution. In the past, this area was a vast expanse of farmland, reflecting the simplicity and rusticity of life in Geneva. In the 18th century, it was home to cattle, vines, meadows, orchards, and ploughed crops, all serving to feed the people of Geneva. As the city grew, the area underwent significant transformations, embodying Geneva’s dynamism and adaptability.

Territorial evolution from the 18th century to today

 

The transformation of agricultural estates into living spaces

 

Today, the area bears little resemblance to its pastoral past. Over the centuries, every paving stone laid and structure erected has marked a new era. What was once a simple, functional space has evolved into a crossroads of international Geneva, perfectly illustrating the marriage between tradition and modernity. The construction of the International Labour Office (ILO) between 1970 and 1974, now a listed building, is one of the district’s landmarks. Designed by Swiss architect Georges Épitaux and inaugurated in 1975, the building is a remarkable example of the modern architecture of its time.

 

Georges Épitaux said, “I wanted this building to reflect the values of the International Labour Organisation, with a design that favours transparency and openness, symbolising the organisation’s commitment to social justice and international dialogue.”

This vibrant place is not just a physical space but a window into the history of Geneva. The buildings and green spaces here tell the story of the city’s metamorphoses, from a farming village to a global city. Every corner of the district is imbued with the spirit of the eras it has passed through, offering visitors and residents a unique perspective on Geneva’s past, present, and future.

We invite you to discover how the Jardin des Nations has transformed to meet the needs of an ever-evolving city, while remaining a place for meetings and exchanges, reflecting the open and innovative spirit of Geneva.

Next episode: The Grand Paysage, a unifying element

 

 

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Jardin des Nations is always interested in developing new new projects and activities that may interest you.

Please contact us if you would like to share ideas and suggestions of what you would like to see or experience!

contact@jardin-des-nations.ch