Caran d’Ache Factory
Located in the outskirts of Geneva, the site will anchor a new district, Eco Parc, where Caran d'Ache, a world pioneer in the manufacturing of color pencils, will be one of its first residents. The intent is to build a factory with excellent working conditions that also reflects the joyful image of the Caran d'Ache brand. The program of the building is neither complicated nor simple, due to the complex planning regulations of the site. Our goal: to reinstate the dimension of pleasure through architecture.
Simultaneously minimalist and colorful, the factory is organized in three separate parts. The first is for production, the factory itself. A rectangular loop on two levels, suspended above the ground in Phase I, provides both flexibility and natural light. Administration is located on the roof and easily accessible, encouraging interaction between "blue-collar" and "white-collar" workers. The second part is product arrival, departure, and storage, located at the northern entrance to the site. Third, a welcoming hexagonal volume provides space for the Visitors Center, a place for learning about Caran d'Ache's history and how its pencils are made. Each of these parts has its own constructive and functional identity, but belongs to the same family. The circulation is absolutely rational but encourages convivial encounters.
The phasing of construction and the parking space required specific invention on the part of the architects. The challenge was to offer a solution that worked from Phase I while retaining both functionality and visual identity in Phase II. more
Three innovative and provocative architectural concepts are proposed:
1) "What it does": The phasing constraints of the program are turned into an advantage: The suspended production volume allows the ground floor, containing the patio and part of the car park, to remain unencumbered in Phase I. The construction of the second phase at this location does not affect the production located above. This elegant phasing solution makes it possible to keep a large part of the site planted like a garden, while meeting the density requirements of Eco Parc regulations.
2) "What it looks like": The use of color is fundamental, because Caran d'Ache's whole history celebrates the pleasure of color and creation. The color also opposes the frequently puritanical and historically color-averse nature of Swiss architecture. Finally, we feel that architecture should stimulate the pleasure of the senses. The building envelope is made of transparent glazing or opaque insulation, while the structure for Phase II is wood, which is five times lighter than concrete.
3) The Visitors Center is conceived of as a signal for the pleasure of workers and visitors alike. Made entirely of wood, with a colored glass envelope, the Visitors Center is arranged on three main levels which communicate through a spectacular staircase-ramp and a panoramic lift. Its configuration is a hexagon, referring to the Caran d'Ache pencil, with its superimposed Swiss cross.... back
International Invited Competition, 2021
SIZE (first phase)
300,000 sq. feet (28.000 m2)
Lead Designer: Bernard Tschumi. Key personnel: Joel Rutten, Sonia Grobelny, Valeria Paez Cala, Wenjun Yu, Laura Valenza back