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Holy Swiss cheese, Batman! Gotham is moving to Geneva!

Malcolm Curtis · 1 Mar 2012, 11:19

Published: 01 Mar 2012 12:02 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Mar 2012 11:19 GMT+01:00

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A Lausanne architecture firm has won a commission to design a megaproject dubbed “Gotham” in Geneva to create offices for 5,000 workers, as well as shops and up to 600 housing units.

Officials unveiled the winning proposal by Pont 12 Architectes S.A. on Wednesday for a location near the future Lancy-Pont-Rouge regional train station.

The blueprint calls for the construction of five towers, each with holes or niches in the façade.

The big city look of the project helps explain its name – an evocation of the mythical haunt of Batman, the superhero character.

Swiss Federal Railways (CFF) is spearheading the development with backing from the canton of Geneva and the municipality of Lancy.

The real estate arm of CFF wants to build 130,000 square metres of commercial floor space, including 9,300 square metres for retail outlets.

An additional 550 to 600 housing units and a school are to follow in a second phase.

The first phase is being targeted for completion by 2014.

The cantonal architect Francesco Della Casa, who presided over the jury that selected the winning design, praised the high quality of entries that came from architects across Europe.

Gotham is designed to create a gateway to Geneva from the south-west as part of a larger project designed to transform surplus railyards for commercial and residential use.

It will also be served by the CEVA (Cornavin-Eaux-Vives-Annemasse) rail line, a 14-kilometre loop to connect Geneva’s main train station with one across the border in Annemasse, France.

The aim of the link, to be completed in five or six years, is to reduce traffic congestion in Geneva’s city centre.

"Holy Swiss cheese, Batman!" Robin wonders how to combat the rats, at 1:42.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

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