Plage des Eaux-Vives, Geneva, Switzerland, 2020

Stainless steel nets and ropes encase two lake buildings

Surfaces covered with Webnet give the steel buildings on Lake Geneva a special openness. The technically sophisticated steel architecture integrates Jakob nets and ropes as discreet facade and railing elements.

Concept and implementation:

On the lakeshore of Geneva, the architects Didier Jolimay and Andrea Lebel built two steel buildings on piles. Their architecture uses stainless steel ropes and nets from Jakob Rope Systems to cover large areas and to delineate interior and exterior spaces. The combination of steel construction, ropes and net surfaces allows for a transparent and translucent architectural style.

The first building, a fishing house (Bâtiment pêcheurs), creates rooms for the work of Geneva's professional fishermen. A single-story building with a canopy projecting far into the water. The steel construction with integrated net elements (Webnet without sleeves) on the outer walls allows views – but spatially separates the working world of the fishermen from the public on the lakeshore.

The second steel building (Bâtiment môle) is a restaurant on a large and open platform. For this building, the architects used Webnet over large areas as a facade element. The covered surfaces thus remain light and permeable. The same effect and function is achieved by the tensioned ropes that run along the terrace and form an extremely discreet barrier to the water. For the architects, maximum transparency over large areas was an important detail of their planning.

The steel and the rope and net structures are the connecting structural elements of both buildings. Seen from a distance, the buildings fit harmoniously into the surrounding lake and shore landscape. Approaching the steel structures, both buildings allow views in and out. The filigree stainless steel nets and cables function as separating structures between the outside and the inside, as an airy building envelope along which even plants climb, and as a parapet that protects against falling into the water while remaining surprisingly light and discreet.

The architecture of the two buildings was awarded a prize (Hare in silver) in 2020 by the Swiss magazine Hochparterre.

Details and geometry:

Bâtiment môle (restaurant):

  • Webnet without sleeves (20260-0150-080), mesh size 80 mm, rope Ø 1.5 mm, area approx. 162 m²
  • Ropes for greening: Ø 4 mm (10820-0400), length approx. 215 m
  • Ropes for railings: Ø 5 mm (10820-0500), length approx. 980 m

Bâtiment pêuchers (fishing house):

  • Webnet without sleeves (20260-0300-050), mesh size 50 mm, rope Ø 3 mm, area approx. 190 m²

Jakob products and services:

  • Delivery and assembly of stainless steel ropes and Webnet elements
  • In advance, practical tests for the installation of the railing ropes for the determination of the prestressing forces