The construction of the heritage deposits, located on the former Artamis site, was completed in the summer of 2017. These deposits are intended to be preserved over the long term in adequate conditions of security and climate management (hygrometry, temperature , etc.) the heritage collections of the Museum of Art and History (MAH), the Museum of Ethnography (MEG), the Library of Geneva (BGE), the Ariana Museum (ARI) and the Municipal Fund of contemporary art (FMAC).
Upon receipt of the work, the City of Geneva noted defects which prevented normal operation of the site. The moving of the collections initially planned for this space therefore had to be stopped. These defects mainly include cracks in the screeds (floors) and climate management problems, noted during commissioning in summer 2019.
A first series of repairs took place, but the problem of cracks could not be resolved satisfactorily. Furthermore, the values of the climatic conditions required for the conservation of the works were still not achieved. The Administrative Council therefore commissioned independent expertise in 2020 to study the origins of the problems encountered and ways to resolve them adequately.
An appraisal agreement was therefore signed in May 2021 by the 12 parties concerned and an expert was tasked with carrying out an appraisal of the screeds and climatic conditions, determining the repair work to be considered as well as assessing the degree of seriousness of the shortcomings observed.
The expert report submitted at the end of October 2023 mainly indicates that the screeds must be completely redone and that certain installations ensuring the maintenance of the climate must be changed. This last point requires the City of Geneva to determine how these interventions must be carried out. Different avenues must be explored, but in all cases, given the work to be carried out in the building, the works will have to be moved.
Repair of damage
Concerning the damage suffered by the City of Geneva, negotiations will now have to be carried out with the other parties concerned regarding the additional work and studies to be undertaken. At this stage, it is still too early to be able to announce the amount of work to be carried out, including the question of costs incurred for the temporary storage of our heritage collections while ensuring the operating capacity of museums and other institutions concerned.
The Administrative Council recalls that each party must fully assume its responsibilities; the negotiations initiated are carried out in a strictly confidential framework until an agreement has been reached.
Clarification of constructive issues
The humidity observed is linked to reliability problems of technical installations to maintain the required climatic conditions (temperatures and hygrometry), and not to water infiltration. It must therefore be remembered that there is no link with the location of the deposits near the Rhône nor with the fact that they are underground. Moreover, during the 100-year flood of the Arve and Rhône experienced last fall, the building was absolutely unaffected.
Security of stored collections
The City takes great care of its collections and pursues a rigorous, ethical and innovative management and promotion policy. In view of the defects noted in the deposits, and therefore the impossibility of transferring all the collections there as initially planned, the City has taken all necessary measures to ensure that the collections continue to be preserved in adequate conditions. In the appendix is an interim situation report submitted to the Municipal Council, which indicates the additional technical elements concerning this file.
At this stage and in order to preserve negotiations with the parties to the appraisal agreement, the Administrative Council will not go into detail on the content of the appraisal nor on the amount of the damage. No further communication will be made until negotiations are successful.
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