Grant Associates works on new Swiss school

Grant Associates works on new Swiss school

The GEMS World Academy in Etoy will be the most modern international school in Switzerland, ‘offering world-class educational and sporting facilities’ when it opens to the first students in September 2013.

Grant Associates is responsible for designing the landscape masterplan for the 3.68-hectare site, from the initial concept stages through to completion. Its aim is ‘to deliver a hard working and efficient learning environment that is multi-functional and beautiful which will allow pupils and teachers freedom of movement, accessibility and inclusion’.

Grant Associates’ landscape design strategy ‘integrates landscapes for play and education with working landscapes’ and will include sensory teaching gardens, free-play areas, productive orchard gardens and quality sports facilities.

A matrix of wildflower meadow, structured coppice thickets and a naturalised hedgerow will reinterpret the local landscape character of the nearby shores of Lake Geneva, to enhance the ecological biodiversity of the site. 

A collection of different species of oak from around the world will ‘celebrate’ the international background of GEMS education and its students.

Keith French, director, Grant Associates, says that his practice’s approach explores the important relationship between the internal environment and the outdoor world: ‘The landscape responds to the unique context of the school and takes advantage of the views towards Lake Geneva and the surrounding Alpine mountains. 

‘Inspired by the strong lines in the landscape that are formed by the adjacent field patterns and colourful vineyards of the local area, the proposed landscape design is organised around elegant alignments of pleached lime trees, formal hedgerows and espalier fruit trees.’


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