© sauerbruch hutton

The ever-increasing importance of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the international organisation for emergency medical aid, has necessitated the construction of a new headquarters for its operational centre in Geneva that is located in the immediate vicinity of the United Nations Office and other International Organizations.

The building comprises differently proportioned rooms that encourage various types of work in large, medium and small teams. Individual and group offices are loosely distributed throughout the floors, while interspersed between these there are open spaces that are suitable for communication and interaction as well as for individual work. In addition to the central bank of elevators, a generous staircase runs freely through the entire building, ensuring no rigid separation between floors.

The resulting network-like, transparent spatial structure mirrors the way that the MSF organisation works. On the ground floor, functions such as a restaurant with a terrace as well as the foyer with its adjoining conference area will help to enliven the newly created public square.

The façade is conceived as a timber construction with a high proportion of glazing that corresponds to the core themes of transparency and sustainability. Lushly planted loggias encourage staff to enjoy the external environment. Individual room proportions become legible on the façade and, like a huge jigsaw puzzle, are composed into the clear-cut building volume. This in turn is analogous to the organization as such that comprises individuals pursuing a common goal.



  • Operational centre for the humanitarian medical organisation Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières


  • Médecins Sans Frontières


  • gross floor area: 14.260 m²
  • competition: 2017, 2nd prize, planning commissioned
  • 2018 — 2022

project team