Prangins on Lake Geneva wins 2020 architectural heritage prize

The Swiss National Museum, in the castle of Prangins. © Keystone / Christian Beutler

The village in western Switzerland has managed to preserve its traditional architecture and scenery despite undergoing an intense process of urbanisation, said the organisation awarding the annual Wakker prize.

This content was published on January 12, 2021 - 12:15

The municipality’s “clear” development strategy is grounded in a respect for open spaces and historical buildings, the Swiss Heritage Society announcedExternal link on Tuesday.

In choosing a strategy of “moderate inward-directed urbanisation” and in refusing to build on farmland, Prangins has managed to preserve its architectural heritage and to marry population growth with a continued high quality of life. It has also organised its town centre in a way to “reinforce identity and social cohesion”, said the Heritage Society in its verdictExternal link.

Prangins sits next to the town of Nyon (canton Vaud) on the dynamic stretch between Geneva and Lausanne. Its population of 4,000 is expected to grow by 30% in the next two decades.

The Place de la Broderie, in the centre of town. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

The French-language seat of the Swiss National Museum is located in the castle of Prangins. Currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the museum generally holds historical and cultural exhibitions about the development of modern Switzerland.

The Swiss Heritage Society, founded in 1905, focusses on “the preservation of important landmarks, the development of the structural environment, and the promotion of good architectural design”. It has awarded the Wakker Prize annually since 1972: usually to a municipality, such as Baden last year, but exceptionally to an organisation, as in 2018.

An aerial view of the town centre. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally
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