Geneva: a building designed for tomorrow's work

15 december 2020 - Like the Prime Tower in the west of Zurich, the Alto Pont-Rouge - which construction has just begun - is one of the largest projects of the Swiss Prime Site Immobilien Group. Adjacent to the Léman Express railway station, the complex is designed to facilitate the transition to a new organisation of work by combining multiple advantages such as location, modernity, modularity and attractive rents. An overview.

Geneva: a building designed for tomorrow's work

Two kilometres from the city centre, Pont-Rouge is on the way to becoming Geneva's new urban centre. The last piece of this complex will soon become a reality: the Alto block, designed by Brodbeck Roulet Architectes Associés. The building consists of four volumes of different heights, which give the area a human scale. While fitting in with the architectural line of the Pont-Rouge district, the complex stands out advantageously thanks to a reinterpretation of the façades, allowing a significant amount of light to enter the interior spaces. A shopping mall, large areas - such as the central atrium and the lower roof terraces - contribute to the exclusive character of the building. The 340 m2 to 2730 m2 floors offer a wide range of possibilities for open-plan or partitioned office layouts. The rental space (28,000 m2 in total) will be available from 2023, but can already be reserved.

Functionality and well-being

In recent months, home office practice has reached its limits: it is becoming essential to rethink office spaces by making them as attractive as possible. Companies are moving towards modular, spacious workplaces that are adapted to their current needs. Swiss Prime Site Immobilien supports tenants in the customised furnishing of generous office space in response to these trends. As Jean Megow, Head of Region West and member of the Executive Board of Swiss Prime Site Immobilien, points out: "In Alto Pont-Rouge, we offer high-quality interiors that combine flexibility, health and safety. Companies will be able to optimise their rental costs through a more efficient use of the occupied surface area, as well as more advantageous rents than those obtained in the centre of Geneva. They will also benefit from a strategic position in a signature building in the heart of this new business centre. 

The challenge is also to implement optimal conditions for the well-being of the employees. In this respect, various parameters come into play, such as the presence of natural light in the premises or the installation of relaxation and meeting areas. Swiss Prime Site Immobilien takes care of these aspects: "Access to the offices will mainly be via a major entrance leading to an atrium on the first floor of the Alto building. This central area, with a skylight, distributes the administrative areas to the floors. In the heart of a very mineral district, generous terraces will provide two 'hanging' gardens on the 6th and 10th floors, reserved for users of the building. They will serve as a link between the different parts of the building," says Jean Megow.

In addition, and in the current situation, ultra-connectivity is more important than ever. With the practice of alternating teleworking, being able to move easily from home to work and vice versa is an undeniable advantage. A location close to railway stations is therefore a major advantage for commuters. The Alto project is ideally located at the centre of all mobility: employees will be able to reach their office by train, tram, bus, motor vehicle or bicycle.

In addition, modal transfer will be promoted, including the possibility of leaving one's bicycle in the large bicycle park at the foot of the station.

Promoting sustainable construction

Swiss Prime Site Immobilien has set itself the goal of constructing its buildings in accordance with the Swiss Sustainable Building Standard (SNBS). This standard can be applied to existing, refurbished or new residential or office properties. The tools, standards and guidelines that have proved their worth in Switzerland (SIA, Minergie, KBOB, EcoBau, etc.) have been integrated to some extent into the SNBS standard. The SNBS standard allows an examination of the various phases of the process, from site selection, project development and execution to commissioning. The SNBS focuses on efficiency and results. The façades and common areas of the Alto building will meet these requirements. This commitment is fully in line with the federal government's Energy Strategy 2050 and contributes to the objectives of the "2000 Watt Society". It is also in line with the Swiss Prime Site Group's own goal of reducing CO2 emissions, which calls for investments of more than CHF 650 million by 2050 in energy renovations and efficient heating systems. Alto Pont-Rouge integrates social and environmental criteria right from the design stage and throughout its entire life cycle. These include ensuring the health, safety and comfort of users, efficient management of resources, reducing environmental impact, promoting social cohesion and regional development. In this way, Alto aims to set an example and demonstrates that it is possible to build according to a global vision integrating the multiple dimensions of sustainable development.

by Véronique Stein

Article published in the Magazine from December 2020 - January 2021