Make Architects has completed earlier this year the new HSBC Private Headquarters in Geneva. Located on a prime-lake front setting on Geneva’s historic Quai des Bergues, the new 16,300 m² building united five of the bank’s offices. The new location delivers workplace for 650 staff members, premium client meeting and dining facilities, and a trading floor – all with stunning views of the River Rhone, Lake Geneva and the Old Town.
The project requirements involved the restoration of 7 historic, structurally independent buildings into one new building. The new design brings together two basement levels, a ground floor level, and seven floors. The buildings are all connected through a newly formed single atrium that runs up the building and links together the main elements of the project scheme. The standout piece is the live wall that runs up the entire atrium, creating a stunning first impression.
The architects were keen on retaining important historical elements of the existing site, paying homage to the city’s heritage.
The opportunity to revive the historic buildings rather than demolish them, and the need to integrate modern functions, required an architectural language of careful consideration and a balance of constraints with opportunities.
– Florian Frotscher – Make partner and project lead architect
The buildings have been unified through a regular roof geometry that runs across the two upper floors, cladded in traditional tiles. The roof also features fully glazed dormer units, a first for Geneva. A natural stone ground floor façade replaces the previous 1960s glass fronts and the addition of metal canopies creates a contemporary interpretation of the traditional canopy theme and complements the roofline of the new dormer windows.
The interior design carries over the concept of balance. The necessity for confidentiality in the bank, put the architects in the position to come up with a design that both interlink the staff and client facilities, while keeping them apart. Light, natural oak was predominantly used in open-plan staff areas, while darker American walnut was consistently used in reception areas, meeting rooms and private dining areas. Private entrance and elevators were incorporated to offer complete privacy to clients.
A sense of enclosure has been achieved in each of the meeting and dining rooms where the internal wall finish curves at the junction of roof and wall. This is reflected in the horizontal joinery ‘strata’ elements running along the corridor walls and spilling into each of the meeting and dining rooms; its form becomes a contemporary re-interpretation of traditional wood panelling, and incorporates shelving, storage and digital displays.
Sustainable measures were implemented to keep in line with Swiss energy regulations, through the innovative use of lake water to cool the building. All main spaces were designed and built with locally-sourced natural materials.
HSBC Quai des Bergues was completed in collaboration with local architects Itten Brechbühl SA in spring 2014. It becomes Make’s second HSBC project following the successful delivery of HSBC Private Bank’s Back Office at Blandonnet in 2010.
*All images and information courtesy of Make.