CERN in 2030

A competition will soon be launched to select the architect, urban planner or landscape designer to undertake the first phase of redevelopment of the parking area by the flagpoles, between Entrances A and B. This will be the first stage in a wider development project aimed at sprucing up the CERN site and enhancing its image. Work to create a pleasant and harmonious area at the CERN entrance will start in 2013 while preparatory work for other developments inside the CERN site has already begun…


CERN as it is today.

 By 2030, CERN will be a greener place, much like a university campus. The arrival of the tramway on 30 April will be an opportunity to forge ahead with the urban plan aimed at rejuvenating the CERN site and redefining how it is organised. "Nearly sixty years after CERN's first buildings went up, this plan will help transform the site and give it a welcoming, friendly face, a bit like a university campus," explains Thierry Chanard, urban planning specialist at GEA, a firm of architects based in Lausanne. The challenge from the technical viewpoint is that the Meyrin site is today so overrun by cars that green areas are becoming scarce." The arrival of the tramway at CERN's doorstep will create a new link with the rest of the Geneva Canton and experts reckon that the number of cars needing to access the area around the flagpoles or enter the CERN site will be in steep decline.

Proactive measures could also be taken to reduce automobile traffic on the CERN site, for example by offering environment-friendly transportation options such as bicycles or pedestrian walkways, by grouping together specific areas dedicated to cars or by introducing a new, regular shuttle service. "You can't help noticing that many private cars remain stationary for days on end, taking up valuable space. Extending the car-pool scheme would also be an appropriate way of reducing CERN's current fleet of 800 vehicles. In this way you could replace parking areas that have been freed up or are surplus to requirements with landscaped areas," says Thierry Chanard. 

Here's what CERN might look like in 2030.

By redeveloping its site, CERN will be projecting a whole new image to its staff and users as well as to the outside world, which is particularly important given its highly visible location astride the French-Swiss border. Sadly, apart from the Globe of Science and Innovation, there isn't much to turn the heads of people passing along the road next to CERN. Furthermore, the route de Meyrin constitutes a real physical barrier between the Reception Building (33) and the Globe. "The arrival of the tram will of course increase the flow of visitors but at the same time it will inevitably widen this divide. The new layout plan will help harmonise the areas on both sides of the road and thus increase the Laboratory's overall visibility," Thierry Chanard underlines.

The international competition for the redevelopment of the area between the Globe of Science and Innovation and the flagpole car park is being launched by the Direction générale d’aménagement du territoire du canton de Genève in collaboration with the GS Department. "This first project will set the urban plan into motion and trigger a number of other measures aimed at revamping CERN's image," concludes Thomas Petterson, Head of the General Infrastructure Services (GS) Department. From Wednesday, March 9, a part of the parking area by the flagpoles will be unavailable. While waiting on the outcome of the competition, some adjustments will be made to prepare for the arrival of the tram. CERN and the Canton of Geneva have worked together to establish of a temporary installation (sponsored by the Canton) to improve mobility and the aesthetics of the entrance of the CERN Meyrin road between CERN and the Globe. If you want to know more about this temporary installation, check out the upcoming issues of the Bulletin. 

Details about the competition

The competition will be launched at the end of April 2011 and the results will be announced at the end of the year by a jury comprising urban architect Pierre Fedderson and, representing CERN, Director-General Rolf Heuer, Thomas Petterson and Isabelle Mardirossian, Leader of the GS Department's Integrated Services Group. The winner designated by the competition jury will then be entrusted by the Director-General with the first phase of the redevelopment of this area (2013-2014). The other, unsuccessful bids will nonetheless be put on display at the Globe of Science and Innovation towards the end of the year.


by Laëtitia Pedroso