Inventing the future: A new neighbourhood for Geneva in the heart of the Nations Quarter

by Amin

The Cité Internationale, located off the Route de Morillons will change the atmosphere, perception and dynamic of a quarter known primarily as a place of work and learning where the world comes together to address global issues. 

The new development will create a mixed neighbourhood comprising of Terra & Casa’s 88 residential apartments, Medecins Sans Frontiers' global operational HQ, and the Graduate Institute’s 700 bed student accommodation; designed by Kengo Kuma, destined to become one of Geneva’s most iconic and innovative buildings. In the center of the neighbourhood will be a landscaped, car free public square fronted by commercial arcades and a playground for kids. Across the road, the World Council of Churches is developing the Green Village (apartments, work spaces and an apart-hotel), designed to adhere to WWF’s One Planet Living certification, a first for Geneva. On the doorstep of the Global Health Campus, the World Health Organisation, International Labour Organisation, International Organisation for Migration, International Committee of the Red Cross, and Ecolint, amongst others; and with a new tram stop being planned as part of the Nations-Ferney tram extension, the Cité International will become an integral part of a new, very public gateway to the Nations Quarter, and a centrality for the surrounding areas of Petit and Grand Saconnex. The Promenade de la Paix, a landscaping project being elaborated by the Canton of Geneva will provide a high quality pedestrian green route connecting the parks between Grand-Saconnex, Cité Internationale, Place des Nations and Sécheron train station where Léman Express services are every 15 minutes.

The neighbourhood represents a space of opportunity to rethink and remake the way we live, the way we work and the way we interact with each other. It won't happen by itself. Land owners have shown the will and have invested into putting in place the framework. The quality of what will follow will be determined by how the neighbourhood is co-created with its users.

Despite the hardships induced by the pandemic, we must keep in mind that we are living through a remarkable moment of change conducive to new ideas and to revisiting old ones. How do we respond to social, economic, health and technological challenges? How can locality and rich experiences become a catalyst to reconnect to core human values like community and creativity? Here we have a chance to co-create a local neighbourhood within the context of a uniquely international district that is relevant to the daily lives of every human on the planet.

We are proud to be working with the Terra and Casa Foundation to think about how the commercial arcades in the Cité International can contribute to the vibrancy of the neighbourhood and surrounding areas of Petit and Grand Saconnex. Ready for tenants in Autumn 2021, we are seeking entrepreneurs with creative projects through an open call for projects.

With the intention of showcasing the Cité Internationale at the Automnales, we were commissioned by the project partners to develop a series of 5 posters. To reflect the spirit of diversity rooted in identity of internationalism in Geneva, we decided for each poster to be produced by a different illustrator with the objective of capturing the potential for vibrancy and community around local activities taking place on international and national days.