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Geneva, Switzerland

Velum Sky

Providing a sustainable building design which met the Client’s and local authority’s expectation on the excellent view out to Lake Geneva along with a visually appealing building which fits in with the surroundings. The design concept agreed with the planners was for a glazed design, and this proved to be a challenge to optimise for sustainable design.


Geneva, Switzerland
Type of project
Next generation sustainable building

Project story

Sweco commenced working on the early-stage design with the wider project team, with the architects based in Switzerland and building service consultants in Germany and using advance building optimisation technique utilizing parametric modelling.

The key target parameter based on the energy target of 70 kWh/m²/annum was set for the machine learning software to provide guidelines on building design. The results indicated the cooling load was the dominant source of energy consumption and solar gains outside of the winter season at various times and days, causing the energy consumption to the peak.

The fabric heat loss also caused significant energy consumption during the winter months. The next challenge was to establish the natural ventilation design, where the operation does not interfere with the external shading, for example, external windows.

Key services

  • Design for Performance
  • Natural Ventilation Design
  • Biophilic and Ecology
  • Thermal Modelling and Façade Optimisation
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • BREEAM Certification
  • Well Standard Certification
  • Embodied Carbon Analysis
  • Circular Economy Design

As the direct outcome of our analysis, natural ventilation strategy was deemed essential to reduce energy consumption by the mechanical cooling system.

As a solution, we reviewed the application of innovative external shading designed by a German designer and simulated the performance using thermal modelling. The external blinds were investigated to be able to limit peak solar gains to 20 to 30 W/m², when in full operation, i.e. covering the entire windowpane.

The application of the innovative external shading drastically reduced cooling loads of the building and also, increased percentage of days the building can be in natural ventilation mode.

So the operation of natural ventilation did not interfere with the external shading, for example, external windows, we introduced the concept of external fin based breathing building and results were promising, providing win-win situation on all counts.

The breathing building concept using external fins to the building was championed by Sweco at Bloomberg London and better understood functionally with the ongoing post-occupancy evaluation. We embarked on the design of the external breathing building fin’s using advance computational fluid dynamics modelling supported by our Finish teams. The objectives were to establish fin orientation against the probable annual wind direction and creation of fin’s contour to maximise outside air intake and deflect the air to avoid discomfort to the occupants.

The resulting design for Velum Sky is set to be best in class in Switzerland, with a holistic, sustainable solution but functionally providing clients with the high-class Grade A speculative office space.

Send a general enquiry

Contact us today by filling in our quick form – one of our team will respond as soon as possible. Alternatively, call us on +44 (0) 113 262 0000
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