United Nations, Geneva

In May 2015 Donald Insall Associates was commissioned by Skidmore Owings & Merril Inc and Burkhardt & Partners to produce an Assessment of Significance report on the United Nations complex in Geneva in order to inform proposals for a new office block and the modernisation of the existing accommodation.  The United Nations group is situated in a 19th-century hillside park to the north-west of Geneva with spectacular views of Lake Leman and the Alps beyond.  The complex consists currently of two, very different, buildings; the first is the vast neo-classical ‘Palais’, designed originally for the League of Nations following an international competition in 1927;  the second, an elegant,  modernist ‘podium-and -slab’  conference centre designed for the United Nations in the1960s by a Swiss architectural team, together with the British architect, Sir Basil Spence.  As well as these two buildings, the site also contains several 19th-century villas and an 18-century timber chalet.  Our report - which was written together with the Swiss heritage advisor, Christian Bischoff, assessed the historical and architectural significance of the two main buildings and their landscape setting. It also made suggestions regarding ill-considered previous changes which had detracted from the buildings’ overall significance. The scheme is currently under development with work on site proposed to start in 2017.

Client
Skidmore Owings & Merril Inc and Burkhardt & Partners