New auditorium for CERN

Since September 2009 the PH and GS Departments have been working very closely together on the renovation project for Building 222. The building is now being transformed into an auditorium with a seating capacity of 200. Work began on 15 November 2009 and will be completed just in time for the first conferences.


The conference room in B222 a few days ago.

After 20 years as premises for the filtering and purification of CERN's drinking water and three years as a hall for the reception tests and testing of electronic equipment for the LHC experiments, Building 222 is about to get another new lease of life.

Only the Main Auditorium and the Globe have seating capacities in excess of 200 at CERN. “The problem of the lack of conference rooms with such a seating capacity was raised at the end of 2008 by the PH Department, which proposed this idea. The project was entrusted to the GS Department in 2009,” explains Barthélemy Gossuin, an engineer in the GS Department who is in charge of the project.

After renovation, the building should be used as a conference venue for at least five years. “ Given its strategic location in the hostels area, Building 222 could ultimately be replaced by another building,” suggests Barthélemy. The challenge was to renovate the building at the lowest possible cost.” However, the renovation meets current standards. The walls and the ceilings are being insulated and an efficient ventilation system is being installed to reduce energy consumption for heating. To supplement the studies carried out by the GS Department, two consultants were commissioned for this project, an interior designer and an acoustics expert.

The technical requirements of the CERN personnel have evolved, necessitating ever more sophisticated equipment, especially in the audiovisual field. “The auditorium has been designed to meet their requirements”, underlines Sébastien Auerbach, who is in charge of conference room equipment for the PH Department. All the equipment needed to ensure the smooth running of conferences is being installed. There are two screens, one for video conferences and the other for presentations. The auditorium will be adaptable to conference requirements, with three movable lecterns and one fixed lectern. There will also be floor sockets so that users can plug in their portable computers.“

To ensure that the building integrates harmoniously into CERN's environment, Fabienne Marcastel, who is a graphics designer, has taken particular care over the visual characteristics of the auditorium. The building will be inaugurated on 1st July and the first conference will take place that day.

A building can have several lives

Building 222, built in 1977, was originally a filtration plant treating all the water used by CERN. At that time, the water was supplied by Services Industriels de Genève (SIG) and by pumping stations operated by CERN.

In the early 2000's, SIG started to operate a new plant which provides CERN with filtered water directly from Lake Geneva via a dedicated pipe line.

As a result, Building 222 became redundant and was transformed via the addition of a new wooden floor to create a storage and test facility for LHC experimental electronics.

Further to the completion of the LHC project, the building became available once again and given its excellent location on the Meyrin campus and lack of large conference rooms, it was decided to convert it into a 200-seat auditorium.



by Laëtitia Pedroso