Route de Meyrin-CERN: and the winner is...

Last night, CERN’s engagement with society took an important step forward with the unveiling of the winner of the architectural competition for the Route de Meyrin between CERN’s entrances A and B. The winning entry is a project entitled “Metaphoros”, entered by Studio Bürgi of Ticino.


Metaphoros was selected by a jury, of which I was a member, from an impressive range of proposals from around the world. It will be some time before construction gets underway, but anyone who’d like a forward look at how the gateway to CERN will look from 2014 can visit an exhibition in the Globe opening today and running until 28 January. The exhibition focuses on the winning entry, but also has a place for the runners-up, and for the Cosmic Rings of CERN proposal for buildings and landscaping around the Globe, which, subject to external funding, will merge seamlessly with Metaphoros as the next phase in the redevelopment of CERN’s public spaces. Over the long term, our vision is to develop the entire zone between entrances A and B into a vibrant new interface between CERN and society, incorporating a new Main Building with a 1000-seat auditorium that we’ll share with our neighbours.

Engagement with society is a vital part of CERN’s business, and our host region has a particularly important place for CERN. The Laboratory plays a significant role in the area, and developing our public spaces shows our commitment to being an active member of the community. The competition for the Route de Meyrin was organized in that spirit of engagement, as a collaboration between CERN and the Republic and Canton of Geneva, which will finance the project’s construction.  The competition also enjoyed the support of the Ville de Meyrin and the Swiss Confederation. It is being billed at the first step in the broader coordinated development of the region encompassing Geneva, Vaud and neighbouring France (the projet d’agglomération franco-valdo-genevois).

Locally, then, Metaphoros is a sign of CERN’s renewed will to open up to society and to share what we do with a much broader public. On a larger scale too, it is a perfect metaphor for our global vision of science as an integral part of society.

Rolf Heuer

The winner of the competition, Paolo Bürgi (3rd from the left), surrounded by his team of architects, Rolf Heuer (2nd from the right), and Pierre Feddersen (1st from the right), architect and head of the competition jury, during the award ceremony, on 19 January, in the Globe of Science and Innovation.