Steven Holl Architects—in collaboration with Rüssli Architekten—has won the international design competition for Doctors Without Borders' new Geneva Operational Center. Titled Colors of Humanity, the team's design beat out proposals from Pool Architekten, Mak Architecture, Sauerbruch Hutton, Emilio Tuñon Arquitectos, Ruckstuhl Architekten, Blue Architects, and Consortium Sou Foujimoto with The New Talent Workshop.
The design for the new Operational Center, which will house over 250 of the international humanitarian organization's staff, features a cubic geometry created from colored photovoltaic glass. Deploying 40% transparent solar cells, the bold, colored façade expresses the program's flexibility, provides shade, and raises the building's self-produced electricity by 72%. The roof, too, will house high efficient photovoltaic panels in addition to a roof garden.
The Center will provide workstations, meeting rooms, classrooms, and social spaces for staff who support the activities of more than 6,500 field staff covering missions in 23 countries. It will also house the "International Office."
Plans for the interior call for criss-crossing passages, lined with seating alcoves and small-scale social gathering spaces that will encourage dialogue and interaction. With curved forms, "these centers serve as a friendly catalyst for interaction, acting like social condensers within the building" the firm explained.
Steven Holl Architects and Rüssli Architekten were unanimously selected in the international competition with the Center's Logistics Director stating: “Steven Holl Architects’ project is the opportunity for MSF to integrate its core values like independence, impartiality, neutrality, altruism and dynamism in a challenging new architecture and project itself in the future.”
Holl is similarly excited by the opportunity for the project, planned for Spring of 2016. “Doctors Without Borders, MSF, is an inspiring organization. It is an honor to realize architecture for their Geneva home,” he said.
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