05 November 2017

Institute’s new student residence to be designed by Kengo Kuma

The Graduate Institute is building a new, 700-bed student residence which will complement the existing 250-bed Edgar and Danièle de Picciotto Student House. The building will form part of a new district at the top of route de Ferney which will also house the headquarters of Médecins sans frontières and accommodation for international civil servants. The neighbourhood will include housing, offices, shops and wooded areas, as well as a tram stop on the new line to Ferney-Voltaire.

The student residence will be set in 10,000 square metres of ground, with magnificent views towards Lake Geneva and Mont Blanc. Its construction has been made possible thanks to the extremely generous support of a private foundation in Geneva, which has contributed not just the land, where the Institute will have 99 years free building rights, but also the necessary capital to obtain bank financing.


An architectural competition was held during the summer, with 30 firms from around the world invited to participate. From 25 high-quality submissions, the jury selected six from the following offices: Kengo Kuma (Tokyo and Paris), Kéré Architecture (Berlin), Miralles Tagliabue (Barcelona), Pictet Architect (Geneva), Schmidt Hammer Lassen (Copenhagen) and Zaha Hadid Architects (London).

After interviewing the competitors, the jury selected Kengo Kuma's project, which won over thanks to its strength, sobriety and elegance. It offers a highly original concept which invites movement, meetings and exchange between residents via a walkway that follows the facade around an inner courtyard formed by two buildings connected by a footbridge. From the outside, the residence projects an equally spectacular image thanks to large, multi-floor openings on the superimposed, communal kitchens. The project is also distinguished by its freestanding roofs’ interesting use of open and accessible spaces, and its detailed consideration of solar protection and energy consumption. 


World-renowned architect Kengo Kuma has practices in Tokyo
and Paris and teaches at the University of Tokyo's Graduate
School of Architecture. His work is characterised by its
reinterpretation of Japanese tradition and by its efforts to integrate
nature with the city. Kengo Kuma's European portfolio includes
the Aix-en- Provence Conservatory of Music and Dance and EPFL’s 
"Under One Roof" building. He has notably been chosen to design
the main stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The new student residence is particularly important for the Institute. Following the recent construction of the Maison de la Paix and the Edgar and Danièle de Picciotto Student House, it marks the completion of the Campus de la Paix, extending from Mon Repos Park to the heights of Grand-Saconnex, providing the Institute with an infrastructure which will be the envy of many universities. The residence will generate revenues which allow the Institute to continue growing, regardless of limitations in public funding, and to fulfill its mission as a postgraduate institution training high-level international experts. Above all, by enabling excellent students from all over the world to study in Geneva, it will facilitate the recruitment of first-class professors, which further strengthen the range and quality of education available in the dynamic Lake Geneva region.