Gustave & Léonard Hentsch Park

Hüsler & associés: Different stories and period are crossing in the Gustave & Léonard Hentsch Park. The one of the Hentsch bankers of course, the one which concerns the football club Servette FC (1930-2003) and the two Geneva industry flagships (Tavaro SA producing Elna sewing machines and car industry Picard, Pictet & Cie). The opening of the new stadium in Geneva was the starting point of the transformations of those five hectares. The Hentsch family, majority shareholder and owner of the Hippomène Foundation proposed the creation of the public park for the district in exchange of the right to build the area, and to give it to the city. The inauguration was July 15th, 2015.

A new District Park

This new public space is protected from high noise emissions generated by adjacent transport axes (Av. Chatelaine and Railway to Geneva Airport) by two artificial mounds up to five meters. In the west, a new social housing unit marks the boundary of the space with 200 meters long and 8 floors. The central pathway connects Avenue Chatelaine and its public transports stops to the first section of the “Voie Verte” (a soft mobility axe connecting Annemasse to Geneva along the railroad). This main axis become a square living up to the entrance of the Espace Hippomène. The old Elna factory is transformed into a cultural centre. A long reflecting pool separates the private terrace from the public path. At the heart of this new development, the central lawn of 0.7 hectares is an allusion to the old turf of the stadium. The “Grande Boucle” is a pathway linking the nearby district and giving access to the playground area and water features. Those water elements are constituted of five concrete terraces and equipped with 50 nozzles. It provide refreshing water games for the delight of young and old.

Vegetation and materialisation

Metamorphosis of the stands at the time, the northern hill wall-seats are spread out to the central lawn in the shade of birch and pine groups. It allows to apprehend the whole Park. On the south side, the slope created in front of the railroad permit the creation of compensation areas planted with groves of native shrubs. Different species of trees, sometimes in combination, colonize the lawn from the periphery of the Park and offers shaded relaxation areas. Those groves, according to the season, accentuate certain aspects of the Park, along the “Grande Boucle”. Groups of sophoras and gymnocladus and light foliage trees are livening up the facade of the building. The imposing metasequoias underline the lowest point of the Park, while cherry trees and maple groves drape with flowers and autumn colors at the South of the Espace Hippomène. Pathways and squares have been made in sandblasted concrete, as well as water–deck and wall-seats.

Games and sports

The sports and leisure spaces are the heart of the project and tend to complete the existing adjacent public spaces. The new equipment are gathered by theme to allow the various users of the district as well as the different age groups to meet there. The playground space (1500 sqm) is spread over three levels. The south limit is created by a mound incorporating parking exits, public toilets, and a wooded picnic area. At the top a pergola covered by a wisteria and equipped with a long bench invites to a petanque game.

Data

Landscape architect: Hüsler & associés, Lausanne, Switzerland
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Competition: 2010
Design: 2010-2012
Construction: 2013-2015
Area: 3.8 ha
Budget: 12 Mio CHF
Collaboration: Richter Dahl Rocha architects
Client: PIC-PIC Promotion SA represented by CBRE

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