This isn’t your average project. Cabinet, an architecture practice led by Fanny Noël and Diogo Lopes, has designed a workplace for gardeners at the edge of a forest on the outskirts of Geneva. Adjacent to a newly cleared site for collective housing and agricultural fields, the form resembles a house due to its pitched roof and compact massing. The building includes one arced facade that faces away from the street; the full circle is completed with a ring of trees. The facade of pleated wooden boards is painted a subtle blue that resembles the Swiss sky, metaphorically “bringing it down” to earth: This could be the last house in the neighborhood, a hut at the edge of the woods.
Within, it’s eccentrically materialized and meticulously thought out to aid in the work of gardening. A tall lantern illuminates a central hall, and bands of skylights above the concrete roof beams brighten the utilitarian rooms. Clean sightlines lead the eye to thoughtful details, like custom handrails and tool storage, set within grids of terra-cotta blocks and ceramic tiles.
Providing both practical workspace as well as leisure and shaded spaces for residents, Gardeners House is a unique, open-ended question mark nestled in a new development that feels as if it had always been there. What could’ve been just another banal, suburban box is now something strange and dignified thanks to Cabinet’s imagination.