An emblematic building of Geneva
MEG was built by Graber Pulver Architekten AG of Zurich in collaboration with Weber + Brönnimann AG, a civil engineering firm. MEG offers a bold, modern and elegant architectural design. It was awarded the 2014 Real Estate Prize in the "public buildings" category by Bilan magazine. The MEG extension and renovation project was the subject of an architectural competition organized in 2008 by the City of Geneva. The concept of the Zurich office of Graber Pulver Architekten was chosen because it presented good prospects for integration into the neighborhood. Designed as a pagoda, the building is distinguished by the metal cladding that covers the reinforced concrete supporting structure. The roof, with its anodized aluminum mosaic, evokes the weaving of traditional basketry, the rhombuses symbolizing life and sharing. On the first floor are the reception hall and the MEG Café. The first floor is dedicated to the restoration and cultural mediation workshops. The second floor houses the Marie Madeleine Lancoux Library, the Ciné de poche and the Bocal, located under the Museum's steeply pitched roof. A mezzanine floor houses the Music Room and a work space. Illuminated by the openings in the roof, the space, immaculately white, has the appearance of a chapel.
A building that is only the tip of the iceberg
The Zurich architects chose to preserve the esplanade by exploiting the underground space. The building represents only 1/3 of the total available surface (7000 m2). It is therefore underground that the Museum is spread out, and this, on two levels. The first basement, which is accessed by a grand staircase, houses the Foyer, the Auditorium, two conference rooms, and technical rooms. The real architectural feat is in the second basement: the ceiling slab is not supported by any pillars, but is suspended from the beamed walls of the upper level. This is where the exhibition rooms are located, devoid of natural light and designed as a black box. With a surface area of 2,000 m2, they have modular walls offering a multitude of scenographic possibilities. At present, the space is separated into two parts of equal size, one hosting the permanent exhibition and the other the temporary exhibition.
A garden where mineral and vegetal elements meet
The esplanade leading to the entrance of the Museum has been transformed into a pleasure garden. Designed by Hager Partner AG, the landscaping has been designed with a focus on both mineral and vegetal elements. Flowerbeds, plants and shrubs line the winding paths, as well as water features. Benches and a pergola embellish this place which offers an enchanted interlude to the inhabitants of the district.
The old building renovated
The old Museum building was also renovated to house staff offices, workshops and technical equipment, and the Ethnomusicology Workshops (ADEM).
Reduced energy impact
MEG was designed to meet the strategic and environmental objectives of the City of Geneva, which has set itself the goal of being "100% renewable by 2050". The energy performance of the Museum is equivalent to the Minergie standard. The heating needs of the existing building are provided by a central boiler room that includes three air/water heat pumps, supplemented by a gas boiler. With a renewable energy coverage of 75%, this project has achieved the energy transition of MEG.