EPFL architecture students have designed lightweight structures made from recycled wood and earth for three public spaces in Geneva: Parc Rigot; the entrance to Parc des Feuillantines; and the gardens of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum.
Since this summer, Genevans have had new places to relax in the shade near Place des Nations, at the heart of the city’s international district. The wood and earth structures were built earlier this year during a group project involving 220 first-year architecture students at EPFL. The new intake of students who started the School in September will update and expand these structures.
The project is part of an initiative led by the Design Studio on the Conception of Space (ALICE) at EPFL’s School of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering (ENAC). The initiative was introduced eight years ago and Geneva has hosted the students’ creations for the past four years. Budding architects get a unique opportunity to combine theory and practice by working on a project from end to end - from the initial design through to full-scale construction - over the course of a year. The students gain unparalleled insights into the challenges that come with working as a team, such as learning to let things go and adapting to change.
The three structures in International Geneva were built under the initiative’s Résonance cycle - a new, 3-year cycle that focuses on building materials and their reuse. It was introduced by professors Dieter Dietz and Daniel Zamarbide and architect Teresa Cheung, following their previous cycles on the built environment. All structures in this cycle will be made from wood and rammed earth, with the wood sourced from either demolished buildings or local sawmills, and the earth from nearby construction sites.
In the past, students had been tasked with designing and building pavilions and larger structures. Now, these have given way to smaller, scattered installations that can be adapted to keep pace with evolving needs and practices for public spaces.
Climate change and... forests - 01.12