Grant Associates has been appointed alongside Swiss architects CCHE Architecture et Design SA to design a new international academy in Switzerland for GEMS Education, the largest operator of private schools in the world.
GEMS World Academy in Etoy will be the most modern international school in Switzerland, offering world-class educational and sporting facilities when it opens to the first students in September 2013.
Grant Associates is responsible for designing the landscape masterplan for the 3.68 hectare site from the initial concept stages through to completion. The aim is to deliver a hard working and efficient learning environment that is multi-functional and beautiful which will allow pupils and teachers freedom of movement, accessibility and inclusion.
Designing a World Class Learning Environment
GEMS has developed a reputation for using design and architecture in imaginative ways to create individual and enriching learning environments. GEMS World Academy-Etoy will feature a unique World Language Learning center and IT technology, radio and TV studios, a music technology laboratory and a Discovery World library.
Grant Associates’ landscape design strategy integrates landscapes for play and education with working landscapes and will include sensory teaching gardens, free-play areas, productive orchard gardens and quality sports facilities. A matrix of wildflower meadow, structured coppice thickets and a naturalised hedgerow also reinterpret the local landscape character of the nearby shores of Lake Geneva to enhance the ecological biodiversity of the site.
As part of the tree planting on the site, a collection of ‘World Oaks’ is proposed, consisting of different species of oak with origins from around the world celebrating the international background of GEMS education and its students.
Keith French, director, Grant Associates said:
“Our approach explores the important relationship between the internal environment and the outdoor world. The landscape responds to the unique context of the school and takes advantage of the views towards Lake Geneva and the surrounding Alpine mountains. Inspired by the strong lines in the landscape that are formed by the adjacent field patterns and colourful vineyards of the local area, the proposed landscape design is organised around elegant alignments of pleached Lime trees, formal hedgerows and espalier fruit trees.”
Grant Associates brings a significant background in landscape architecture for education to the project, including work for the award winning Merchants’ Academy, Bristol; John Madjeski Academy, Reading; Bridge Learning Campus, Bristol; St Paul’s School, London; Isaac Newton Academy, London; University of Ulster, Northern Ireland; and the University of Bath.
This latest win for Grant Associates comes on the back of a successful year which has seen the landscape architecture firm win global acclaim for its Gardens by the Bay project in Singapore, including World Building of the Year at the Word Architecture Festival in October.
About GEMS Education
GEMS Education has a global network of award winning schools. With over 50 years of experience in education, GEMS provides a high quality holistic education to over 110,000 students from 151 countries. It employs over 11,000 education professionals, specialists and staff from around the world.
The GEMS approach to learning focuses not only on academic excellence but also in helping students develop their character and creativity, so that they achieve their full potential as human beings. The GEMS Education school model is unique in the world because it offers a broad range of curricula across a range of tuition fees making private education more accessible to the broader community. GEMS Education has offices in the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, India and Singapore.