International Telecommunications Union Headquarters

A new mixed-use headquarters building for the ITU with public exhibitions areas and cafes. The brief also called for a building that would express the functional, urban, environmental and construction requirements of the international telecommunications organisation and its international outlook.

International Telecommunications Union Headquarters
Client: Public
Type: International, Civic & Culture, Workplace
Value: £10million+
Date: 2017
Size: 10,000+sqm
Status: Competition Entry
Location: Geneva, Switzerland

Our proposal breaks the overall bulk of the building into sub-units that are expressed. This approach optimises the performance of the building, reduces its visual mass and makes it legible to users and visitors.  By minimising deep floor plates the design maximises day light and minimises the need for artificial light.

A large atrium links the functional parts of the new building with the existing, Montbrillant building. The main volumes above ground are separated by a linear atrium that provides natural light and a visual connection between all floors. Bridges between the old and the new allows easy orientation for visitors, links activity throughout the building and encourages interaction formally and informally by users.  It also creates an element of drama and generates a feeling of a single unified organisation with a shared purpose.  We have grouped the offices and meeting rooms into two blocks either side of this central atrium and the meeting rooms are reached via bridges across the atrium. To create elegant, open plan, column-free spaces that provide maximum flexibility to areas such as the office floor plates, engineering is integrated with the architecture to provide a clear arrangement of vertical circulation and services in cores. 

The conference facilities are located at basement level with direct access from the main entrance.  All the required functionality is on a single floor which optimises the performance of the conference centre by minimising vertical circulation.  We have also provided secure external day-lit space at that level via a significant “sculpture court” that is directly accessible to conference attendees.

Direct access to the exhibition area and cafeteria is possible from the reception as well as the grand public double helical stair that links all floors.  The main entrance level rises via a large stair at the north end to arrive at level 1 and link directly to the Montbrillant building.

Because we have broken the volume of the building into its logical parts, and expressed this as a key part of the architectural concept, it is possible to maximise off-site fabrication of elements, making construction cheaper and faster.

Our design proposes a positive relationship with the ground level on all facades, by providing arcades and entrances where required to establish a human scale on approach, and a clear relationship to the Rue de Varembé.

A new and fully integrated landscape blends seamlessly with the existing landscaping over the existing car parking and the extended building elements across the site below ground level with enhanced pedestrian routes.

The building is designed to achieve Minergie standard, with zero carbon emissions in operation in addition.

International Telecommunications Union Headquarters
International Telecommunications Union Headquarters
International Telecommunications Union Headquarters