Berrel Berrel Kräutler has won the World Health Organization's (WHO) two-stage international design competition to expand its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Employing a restrained approach, their design for a cubic office building will replace numerous temporary structures and unify the complex’s permanent infrastructure.
The addition to the WHO headquarters will play a supplemental role to its immediate surroundings, namely the Main Building – a competition-winning design by Jean Tschumi completed in 1966. Similar applications of scale, tectonics, and materiality will form a strong visual connection between the new and old constructions, while a platform will physically link them for improved accessibility. Furthermore, the placement of the new facility will define the complex along the street, opening it toward the neighboring woodland to frame views of the natural surroundings.
Beneath the platform on the connecting level, several congregation spaces -- including an exhibition and reception area, restaurant, and cafe -- will transition occupants from the Main Building and underground parking to the new building. Additional meeting space is to be provided by a central courtyard garden, which will provide scenic views for the rest of the floor. Offset from the meeting spaces is the crisis room, the WHO’s operation and data center, which will maintain access points to both the new and Main buildings, as well as the 700-car underground parking garage.
Above the connecting level, eight floors of open-plan offices are to be housed within the cubic addition. The design seeks to maximize customizable area by combining vertical circulation with load-bearing functions to reduce structural interruption and enable flexible programming. Additional adaptability is achieved through a ground-floor modular conference area that can be divided to accommodate changing occupancy demands. To maximize natural daylight and create sightlines across floors, the volume will be punctuated by a lofty atrium.
Embodying the WHO’s commitment to sustainable development, the extension aims to minimize its environmental impact by incorporating solar panels for energy production and water recycling from the nearby lake.
Construction of the design is contingent upon receiving approval from all relevant authorities, as well as securing necessary funds by October 2015.
CompetitionWHO Geneva Headquarters Building Extension
Project NameWHO Extension
LocationAvenue Appia 20, 1202 Genève, Switzerland
PhotographsCourtesy of Berrel Berrel Kräutler