Carouge in five sectors

Our city is divided into five sectors, each with its own particularity and history.

 

Quartiers de Carouge

Carouge Centre

This sector, comprising Old Carouge and the Towers zone, is undoubtedly the most touristic part of the City.

Attached in 1754 to the kingdom of Sardinia by the Treaty of Turin, the market town of Carouge received from King Victor-Amédée III the title of ‘royal city’ in 1786. Preoccupied by the chaotic development of Carouge and seeking to compete with Geneva on the economic level, the Sardinian authorities decided to create a new city. No fewer than six Piedmont architects succeeded each other between 1772 and 1783 in drawing up a regulatory plan. It was the « Robilant plan », adjusted by Giuseppe Viana, that served as the framework for its construction, while the principles of the templates and facades were established by Lorenzo Giardino.

Accordingly, Carouge took the shape of a grid plan superimposed on the path of the pre-existing main street (Rue Ancienne and Rue Vautier). The ancient Sardinian city, numbering a little over four hundred houses, was characterised by its low buildings. The layout of the buildings created private islands sheltering small gardens. On the street side the alignment of the facades with cornices of varying heights, and the articulated rhythm of the openings, confer a particular style on Old Carouge. On the courtyard side, the facades are generally equipped with balconies with wooden passageways overlooking private gardens. This typology of frame building with human dimensions exudes a Mediterranean atmosphere.

Since 1950, an ad hoc law has preserved the specificity of Old Carouge in line with a heritage protection zone, comprising in particular the streets of Rue Ancienne, Vautier and Jacques-Dalphin.  The most important historical monuments in this sector are the church of Sainte-Croix (1780), the Pont Neuf and the Pont de Carouge (1808-1811, widened in 1862), the temple (Protestant church) of Carouge (1822) and the four fountains by Blavignac (1867-1868).

 The construction of the Towers district led to the extension of the city in the 1960s, taking in « the royal axis » containing the Place de Sardaigne, the Church of Sainte-Croix, the Place du Marché, the Rue de Veyrier, and formerly the Rondeau de Veyrier. It is interesting to note that the new quarter and Old Carouge have the same density of building, despite a marked contrast in the allocation of the volumes constructed: horizontal for Old Carouge, vertical for this extension. Furthermore, this urban concept makes it possible to conserve Carouge’s social spirit and urban diversity in housing not only apartments but also various commercial, administrative, craft and social facilities.

The district was constructed between 1958 and 1973, based on the principles developed by Le Corbusier. The first five 14-storey towers were built by the HLM foundation of the City of Carouge; each contains 135 apartments. These social housing flats were allocated in priority to the employees and workers of the new factories of the region. The integration of this new district was a great success, as it proved beneficial for the development of the commune. It encouraged a new population to visit its small shops, its market and its cultural and sports facilities. This project constitutes an exemplary urban extension, combining as it does the ancient and modern which have been joined together in harmonious fashion.

In future this district will be at the intersection between Old Carouge and the new extension of the commune’s territory on the former industrial zone of La Praille (west sector).

Carouge North

The district north of the historical centre developed initially with the industrial activity that was established there at the end of the 19th century, following the construction of the Pont des Acacias and the development of the new road bearing the same name. Large factories such as that of the Motosacoche company (at the location of today’s Banque Pictet), British American Tobacco and the cantonal dairy centre « les Laiteries Réunies» (currently a number of building sitesbelonging to the Coop) marked this expansion of Carouge.

New industrial-type architecture then established itself in this sector in the early 1930s, characterised by flat roofs, horizontal windows and simplicity in lines and volumes. In line with the industrial and artisanal vocation of the sector, the government promoted in 1958 the construction of the Arcoop building, today a listed building, so as to bring together craftsmen into a small cooperative and thus free up land for building apartment blocks.

After the rapid industrial development of the district new apartment buildings rose up. At the Rue des Epinettes and des Ronzades, as well as in the area surrounding the roundabout of the Noirettes, which takes its name from the many walnut trees of the time, the workshops and warehouses of the Cercle des Agriculteurs gave way to several housing units which increased the building density of the district. The increase in population necessitated the construction in 1911 of the imposing Pervenches School, the work of the architects Garcin and Bizot. The first social housing apartment buildings were then constructed in the 1950s along the Rue Montfalcon, created a few years previously so as to connect the district to the Old Town.

The perimeter of the so-called Carouge North district lies between the Route des Acacias and the north of Old Carouge, and also includes the districts around the Avenue de la Praille and the Rue des Noirettes. This district is directly impacted by the works of the PAV (Prailles Acacias Vernets).

Carouge East

The extension of the city of Carouge to the east of the Rue Ancienne and the Rue Vautier only began in the second half of the 19th century. Here the current urban layout is far removed from the rigour of the island principle that characterises the historical centre: originally home mainly to small industries or market garden enterprises, it is characterised today by a strong mix between the traces of these artisanal structures (in the sectors of the Menuisiers, the Marbriers), houses and a growing number of apartment blocks which are gradually replacing the old structures. It was at the Clos de la Fonderie that the old flour mills were established, fed by a canal diverting the waters of the Arve, as well as small workshops such as the famous Pastori art foundry. The Place d’Arve and the old municipal slaughterhouses have since disappeared to leave room for new buildings housing in particular the new Carouge clinic, built in the 1960s. It’s also in this sector stretching from the Arve to the Moraine de Pinchat that the Théâtre de Carouge was built in 1972.

Social housing was developed more specifically in the eastern sector from the mid-20th century with the Maisons Familia and the Léopard housing project. In place of the small gardens with sheds came the sports centre of La Fontenette and the canton’s first open-air swimming pool – built to Olympic standards. The « Fontenette » district owes its name to an old fountain in the region, a spring which saw the settlement of the first inhabitants of the Roman era, as demonstrated by recent archaeological excavations revealing the remains of a wooden bridge.

The perimeter of this sector is located to the east of Old Carouge, between the Arve and the Moraine de Pinchat. This district is undergoing major urban redevelopment, involving modifications due to the passage of the CEVA.

Carouge South

The plateau of Pinchat remained free of construction for a long time, except for some agricultural domains and patrician houses leaving a heritage in the sense both of architecture and value. The extensions situated to the south of Old Carouge and on the moraine of Pinchat were built essentially in the second half of the 20th century, along the historical arteries of the Route de Drize and the Chemin de Pinchat.

These developments comprise not only housing, mainly villas, but also public facilities constituting a new entity. In fact, the Battelle Institute, the Pinchat secondary school then the Collège de Stael were established in the period between the 1950s and 1980s. Since the 1990s, the University and the HES have taken the place of the Battelle Research Institute.

In order to meet housing needs, the new districts of la Tambourine then la Vigne-Rouge were created at the turn of the 21st century. The name of this region was taken from a Sardinian map dating from 1732, on which there is mention of « Mas de la Vigne Rouge », a locality situated at the centre of the triangle inscribed between the Drize, the Rondeau and the Route de Saint-Julien.

This district is situated on the Moraine, to the south of the Route du Val d'Arve and the Route de Saint-Julien passing through the Rondeau. A measured densification of the villa zone and the reconnection of the existing and future housing districts.

Carouge West

The old market garden plain of La Praille, located to the west of the city, became from the 1960s onwards the canton’s most important industrial zones. Until the beginning of the 19th century, the land around La Praille was home only to the hangars of the market gardeners, family garden sheds and precarious accommodation for itinerant travellers.

In 1912, after 50 years of delays and rejected projects, the Confederation, the CFF (Swiss Railways) and the Canton agreed to finance the rail link between Cornavin and the Eaux-Vives and to establish a goods station in this sector. While the project for the link to the Eaux Vives station is only to be completed at the beginning of the 21st century (CEVA), the rail installations will be put in place in stages after the draining of the alluvial plain. The Drize will be buried under the Route des Jeunes, a north-south artery which will serve as the backbone of the future district of Grosselin whose geometry will result from the system of road/rail services.

The Avenue de la Praille will soon enhance the new station. The installation of numerous businesses and mechanical workshops enables Carouge to affirm its industrial vocation in this sector where raw materials are despatched towards the major Swiss and European centres.

To the west of the Towers zone and the Noirettes area: this district is to undergo major urban redevelopment in the framework of the PAV project (Praille Acacias Vernets).