We are all under one roof – our proposal for the new International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Headquarters stems from a vision of creating a humane, enabling environment for all humanity under one roof – our planet Earth. And our hope is that the role of IOM as a leading organisation in this process is to embody that vision in its new home.
The IOM headquarters is conceived as a simple response to the environmental, programmatic and social conditions of its context. Like its neighbouring monumental oak trees, the building is firmly rooted on ground in an earthy base and a vertical trunk/core that supports a lightweight timber structure creating open and flexible spaces for IOM functions all under one roof.
The massing and peculiar shape of the timber framed volume is a literal response to the preservation of the historic oak trees, the regulatory requirements for neighbouring buildings and a singular diagonal cut to produce a roof that also benefits from the optimal orientation to the sun for solar energy. The result is an ecologically conscious building with a unique form with a very pragmatic shape on the south-west side, contrasting with a soft undulating flag-like form on the north-east facade. There is a chance that the architecture may outlive the century old oak trees that shape it, even then the thoughtful gesture will remain a symbol of IOM’s values and identity.
The reddish-brown earthy base provides a warm entry and hosts the public programs. This continues as a concrete core that supports the wide spans of the office floors above, which cascade in a series of open terraces that foster interactions within various neighbourhoods under one roof. The roof, facade and internal courtyards allow for natural ventilation, while providing shade in the hot summer months, at the same time permitting light and views of the beautiful mountains, in the cold winter seasons.
The earthy base and the office levels converge at an intermediary space on the first floor level that is open to generous outdoor areas for both the public and the IOM staff to interact over food and beverage, events and other convivial activities.