The Geneva municipality wins the 2022 Wakker heritage prize

The Les Vergers ecological housing estate, which can accommodate up to 3,000 inhabitants, was planned in close consultation with the community. © Schweizer Heimatschutz / Keystone / Gaétan Bally

Meyrin, home to the European nuclear research center CERN, had a long-term vision to prioritize social cohesion and biodiversity in its plans to accommodate a booming population, the Swiss Heritage Society said on Thursday.

This content was published on January 13, 2022 – 11:44

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The Company praised the former agricultural village bordering the city of Geneva for its transformation into a “large, lively and pleasant community […] within two generations”. The population of Meyrin has increased by 1,200% since 1950.

Host of CERN and part of Geneva airport, the town is now home to 26,000 inhabitants of 140 different nationalities.


The New City, built in the 1960s as the first satellite city in Switzerland to meet a growing demand for housing. © Keystone / Christian Beutler

Over time, municipal planners adapted existing buildings to modern needs and favored public meeting places in rejuvenation plans. One example is the New City, built in the 1960s as Switzerland’s first satellite town to meet growing demand for housing. The complex has undergone sensitive and sustainable renovations that highlight its original urban design.

The Company also recognized the new development of ecological housing The orchardsExternal link, created in direct consultation with the community to accommodate up to 3,000 inhabitants. Development is guided by three pillars of sustainability: social cohesion, respect for the environment and economic efficiency.


The Swiss Heritage Society also praised Meyrin for preserving its historic center while meeting the needs of its growing population. © Keystone / Gaétan Bally

“By his actions, [Meyrin] showed how a municipality can assume its responsibilities towards its population and the environment,” the Society said.

Founded in 1905, the Swiss Heritage Society focuses on “the preservation of significant monuments, the development of the structural environment and the promotion of good architectural design”. In 2022, it celebrates the 50and birthday the wakker prizeExternal linkawarded each year to a municipality or organization for achievements in quality urban development.