Berrel Kräutler Architekten
World Health Organisation Headquarters
best architects 22
In 2014, with altogether 253 firms participating, Berrel Kräutler prevailed in an open, international competition for the extension of the WHO Headquarters. The new building supplements the existing one, erected by Jean Tschumi in 1966 and set in a spacious park complex on the periphery of Geneva. The complex encloses a green space, while a closed, prestigious façade faces the street. Reflecting Tschumi’s design, the extension consists of a connecting base, a recessed ground floor and a projecting volume. The new concrete base – whose large strip windows face the park – interweaves new and old. It forms the new heart of the complex as a whole, a place where staff members can meet during breaks and gather for conferences or meetings. A wide, interior passage takes the form of a gallery that overlooks the dining hall, while also affording views of the garden to the rear. Forming the upper terminus of the base structure is a terrace with roof garden, inviting users to stroll between the ground floors of the two tower blocks. Like Tschumi’s predecessor building, the new cubic office tower projects on all sides beyond the ground floor. Severe in appearance externally, the nine-story building is open, bright and flexible within. An open atrium extending over all levels offers viewing axes through the tower as a whole. The aluminium façade echoes the faceted appearance of Tschumi’s building.