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Work Begins on the JTI Building in Geneva

Image © SOM/Hayes Davidson

London, U.K.: As the winning entry to an international design competition, Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) has announced that the construction of The JTI Building in Geneva will commence in Spring 2012. The local authorities granted the final construction permit on December 9, 2011.

The headquarters are located in an area of Geneva characterized by a unique combination of prestigious international organizations and extensive parklands. Creating a strong identity amongst its illustrious neighbors, the design meets the client’s aspiration of a landmark headquarters, whilst responding sensitively to the surrounding parkland. The design also draws references and connections from not only its immediate context but also distant landmarks and views across Lake Geneva and the Alps.

The building celebrates the relationship with its context by form rising out from a single geometry, which is manipulated by a blend of architectural and sustainable strategies to effectively reduce the real and perceived impact on the site. Through elevating the corners of the building, the courtyard form increases permeability across the site working with the striking form of the building, the torsional tube structural system that unifies the building and achieves a column free office space, providing maximum internal flexibility and future adaptability.

The scheme’s architectural and sustainable design strategies needed to exceed the demanding efficiency targets of Swiss national codes by 20% in order to comply with the more ambitious local ‘Minergie’ standard. This required the design to achieve a performance alongside the very best UK and European examples without any loss of architectural quality. This approach will reduce the real and perceived environmental impact of the building on its site and reflects JTI’s dedication to conducting its business in an environmentally sustainable way.

The 9-storey structure is engineered with two striking cantilevers that suspend the building at the opposing north and south corners. This integration of engineering and architecture results in a number of unique design features including a 5 storey reception and lobby area. The building comprises of executive offices; a business lounge, a conference centre, a crèche, a fitness centre, an auditorium, a restaurant, kitchens, outdoor roof terraces and the central courtyard area. The latter is a landscaped garden with a variety of open-air and shaded areas at the heart of the site which incorporates an impressive Yayoi Kusama water feature providing an inspirational outdoor setting for employees and the local neighborhood.

The new headquarters will result in a building totalling some 25,000m2 and will accommodate over 1,000 employees for this multinational firm.

About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban-planning firms in the world, with a 75-year reputation for design excellence and a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its inception, SOM has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm’s longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with more than 1,500 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award—in 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai and Abu Dhabi.