World Trade Organization

CompanyWittfoht Architekten Bda
Lead DesignerJens Wittfoht
Design Team
PrizeBronze in Architectural Design / Institutional Architecture

The design for the extension of the WTO in Geneva is essentially determined by the following aspects: The competition site is situated in an unusual location mixing both city and lake surroundings. The new building should complement and complete the overall urban setting with its existing building ensemble. It should respond convincingly to the cramped conditions in the southern part of the site while integrating the existing necessary and functional constraints. Moreover, the new building should embody the qualities of openness and transparency, pragmatism and flexibility, solidarity and internationality. It maintains a respectful distance from the old building and creates a high-quality, exciting outdoor area between the two structures. A balanced, well- proportioned overall picture presents itself, which is enriched by a dialogue between old and new. The earth-bound base zone is home to mass catering facilities. The roof of the base structure is designed as an accessible wooden deck, welcoming visitors to use it as a viewing platform. A terrace at the front expands the restaurant towards the lake. The floating, crystalline volume above houses the administration and office areas. The clever allocation of areas within the building creates spaces for informal meetings and conversations. The office floors offer high flexibly organization. Many office organizations are possible – from classical single offices to combined areas and open-plan workspaces. The façade has a modular design and supports the required flexibility of the building. Dividing walls can be positioned freely within the building plan. The energy and ventilation concept adheres to the applicable Minergie-P standards. Due to noise protection requirements and the strong lakeside winds, the glass front of the office floors was designed as a double façade, which also allows for natural ventilation. Additionally, the trees on the east, south and west side also offer natural shade in summer.