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Design contest opens for World Health Organisation headquarters

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched an international design competition to extend and redevelop its Geneva headquarters

The two-stage competition will create a new 25,000m² office block and 700-space underground car park connected to the organisation’s Jean Tschumi-designed home.

Completed in 1966, the iconic building is surrounded by several temporary structures which were built quickly in response to health crises without any architectural or urban planning guidelines.

Planned to complete in 2019, the new £90 million extension will replace these outdated facilities and house WHO staff while the main headquarters building is refurbished.

According to the brief: ‘The extension will be functionally connected to the existing main building, and must therefore be conceived in harmony with this building and the whole site.’

It continued: ‘The new building must reflect WHO’s transparency, international character, as well as the economic pragmatism it wishes to achieve. WHO considers the quality of the project and its functionality to be decisive factors in achieving its own objectives.’

By 2025 the hill top site near Cointrin Airport in Prégny-Chambésy is expected to host 2,100 staff in just three buildings instead of ten.

They will be the Tschumi-designed main headquarters, the new building and the 2006 WHO/UNAIDS building by Baumschlager and Eberle.

The latest design competition is open to all architects who are registered to practice within a WHO member state.

The jury will be led by France’s Dominique Perrault and include architect Bernard Tschumi. The competition’s official languages are English and French.

Up to 13 shortlisted teams will receive £8,000 each to develop designs. The top five entries will share a prize fund worth £210,000 and the winner is expected to receive the commission.

The deadline for registration is 19 September.







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