Plaine de Plainpalais

Atelier Descombes Rampini: The Plaine de Plainpalais is an island resulting of the merging of old meanders of the Arve River, at its confluence with the Lac Leman (Lake Geneva). Its lozenge-shape is a persistence of its old state. Open space at the foot of the old town fortifications, at the edge of the ancient marshy plains, it has been embraced in the urban fabric, during the faubourgs extension. Trees have being gradually planted on its boundaries, and for centuries the plain has hosted numerous activities: celebrations, markets, games, funfairs, promenades and various events. Deeply transformed during the 19th century and altered by successive interventions, the Plaine area has been entirely re-planned in order to successfully meet the challenge of hosting large events while being a major public open space in the heart on the city. The 70’000 square-meters flat surface project has developed following three realisation stages which has included a full refection of the ground by applying crushed granite from Beaujolais and a setup of technical infrastructures for the use of the circus, fairground people or big events who are likely to settle on the central part.

Large transversal alleys axed on the main streets of the neighbourhood allow to walk comfortably through the plain. On its central north end, triangles resulting from the axes host a skate park, children playgrounds and a boule field surrounded by generously planted areas. This plant cover is renewed end enhanced on all its peripheral area by a triple range of trees of various species, under which take place the daily market activities. It shapes a large mall under shade trees, with benches, fountains and lightings, bringing back quality to this unique place. On its north end, the Harry Marc Park (inaugurated in September 2015) has been thought as a huge garden, with literally meadows of cosmos flowers growing here and there and a circular bench around a fountain to rest in as fresh place.

Data

Architecture:
Team: Circus:
Atelier Descombes Rampini SA, architects & landscape architects
M. Carlos Lopez, architect – urban-planner
CKNR, civil engineers
LEA Les Eclairagistes Associés, lighting

Specialists:
Motorsänger, playground
Carmen Perrin, artist, sand play area & fountains
Constructo, skate-park

Location: Plaine de Plainpalais, Geneva, Switzerland
Total cost: 41’790’000 chf ($40M)
Area: 7ha

Chronology:
2008: Test-phase (floor covering)
2009-2010: Phase 1 (South-central part)
2011-2012: Phase 2 (North-central part)
2013-2015: North end (Harry Marc Park)
Running: Phase 3 (Peripheral area planted with trees)

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