Not afraid to show its feminine side, Group 8's mixed-use building in Geneva, Switzerland keeps cool by letting down its giant, magenta motorized fabric blinds. Combined with uber-glazed glass, these spectacular shades keep the Coral House's energy costs and carbon footprint low while livening up half a city block. The 58 residential units and two floors of commercial space also boast geothermal heating and cooling, as well as superior sturdiness and ventilation.
The exterior and roof are heavily insulated to meet the requirements of the Minergie energy label while coated aluminum, thermal breaks, and a third layer of glass covered with mechanized coral-colored shades render the courtyard windows especially ‘breathable.’ These details also give the building some sense of having an exterior, even though the client specifically asked the Swiss architectural firm to skip the balconies.
Further stemming energy costs, heating and cooling is derived from a geothermal system. Geothermal boreholes circulate water throughout the concrete flooring, while temperature is regulated in a dispenser located in the building’s lobby. Air quality is monitored at a central location, where it is filtered, dusted, heated, and moisturized as needed before being sent to the various units. Stale air is also received at a central location where energy is recovered by a heat exchanger and then dispelled.
Just because the Coral House is pretty in pink doesn’t mean that it isn’t sturdy. It meets stringent seismic codes, giving each of the building’s 58 housing units and two floors of commercial space ample security. E
all images via Régis Golay, FEDERAL studio.