Lakeside Pavilion in Geneva

The lakeside promenade in Geneva has many different functions. As well as being an area for strolling, it is the home of a yacht club and a place where boats moor and people can angle. It thus offers valuable leisure facilities. Over the years, however, structural problems have arisen, such as increasing car traffic on the roads along the lake shore and the hete­rogeneous nature of the buildings in this area. The present prototype for a pavilion is the outcome of a competition held in 2001 by the city of Geneva in a bid to create uniform service facilities. The location and the choice of materials were two important aspects of this. The orientation of the pavilion at right angles to the lake and its form, which resembles a boathouse, differ from those of the developments to the rear. The perpendicular alignment to the shore stresses the relationship between the housing neighbourhoods of Eaux Vives and Pâquis on the one hand and the promenade on the other, since visual links exist in the gaps between buildings. Sheltered areas are also created, screened from traffic. The modular construction of the pavilion allows for variations on a basic type with different uses. In addition to the 10-metre-long bistro shown here, a kiosk with a length of 5 m and public toilets 3.5 m long can be created. The structure has a rigid steel frame. Flaps can be opened by gas-pressure cylinders to afford a view of the interior, which can be laid out individually to meet the needs of users. The pavilion has extensive opening areas on three sides, and during the day its appearance is determined by the function. At night, on the other hand, it forms a uniform object within the public space. The outer skin consists of sheet-bronze cladding, the patina of which helps to mask the wear and tear caused by everyday use, transport and the elements. This material was also chosen in reference to the many bronze sculptures to be found in the city. Delivered to site and erected in the spring, the pavilion is dismantled and removed again by lorry in the autumn to make place for the repairs that have to be carried out to boats drawn on land in the winter.
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