Florian Busch Architects フロリアンブッシュ建築設計事務所

WHO Extension


Against the trend of the contemporary competition scene, with its almost compulsive desire for unique architectural symbols, this call for an extension of the WHO headquarters in Geneva asked for a deliberate understatement, a deliberately submissive response to the existing main building, designed by Jean Tschumi and finished in 1973.

The cruel problem of the annex is its fundamental subservience; typically of inferior scale and compromised aesthetics, it cannot exist on its own, while its predecessor did very well without it. (Rem Koolhaas)

As a self-subsistent building inter pares, the extension ventures to complement and enhance the status quo. Yes, there was the modernist manifestation of the raised block in an “office-unité” in the midst of the Alps’ hyper-natural expanse. But in moving beyond the brutal implant, the proposed extension adds without taking away: The existing garden is laid with a porous carpet, a thick surface which folds up to wrap the old-new ensemble. The modernist superimposition becomes a sub-mission in an almost literal sense. The garden is lifted, and on top of the carpet extends even further than before, linking the existing building with the forest to the south.

And yet the new extension remains without claim to self-adoring fame. Simple in structure and composition, the extension does not deny strict office-functionalism but punctuates monotony with the invaluable assets of the surrounding nature, infiltrating the WHO’s daily routines and often highly secluded, introverted working environment. The outcome moves between pragmatism and excitement in an homage to the contrast between administrative monotony and the potential picturesqueness of a modernist utopia.

Geneva, Switzerland



Project Team:

FBA: Florian Busch, Sachiko Miyazaki, Antoine Vaxelaire, Momoyo Yamawaki, Akira Miyamoto, Suguru Takahashi

Mechanical engineering: Ove Arup

Structural engineering: Ove Arup

Environmental engineering: Ove Arup

FBA: フロリアン ブッシュ、宮崎佐知子、アントワン ヴァクセレール、山脇ももよ、宮本哲、髙橋卓

設備: Ove Arup

構造: Ove Arup

環境: Ove Arup

Gross floor area: 47,500 m²
Concrete, Steel

延べ床面積: 47,500 m²