Speculative Models for the Present





Genève [Switzerland]


2012 - 2014


Project architect
Architectural direction


Restored building
Automated energy management system




United Nations Organisation


François de Marignac
Oscar Frisk
Grégoire Thomas
Emeline Debackère
Stephan Schmitt
Daniel Gibbons
Tomas Clavijo
Bettina Heidenreich
Maud Musil
Sebastien Jeanet
Maud Christophe

Sometimes everything must change so that everything can stay the same.

-The Leopard- Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

In a demonstration of its commitment to the Strategic Heritage Plan, the Swiss Federal Council decided in June 2011 that Switzerland would participate in the renovation of the “Palais des Nations” through a voluntary contribution of CHF 50 million.

The Swiss architectural firm group8 was responsible for the energetic renovation of the second biggest office building in Europe – the United Nation Palace in Geneva.

The aim of the renovation project was to bring The United Nations Palace into line with the concept of a “green building”, reaching a high-energy performance standard. In addition to the energy criterion the project focused on the conservation of this unique site, its architectural heritage, and, in particular, the harmony of its existing facades.

External walls
Underground walls
Exterior floor raft
Windows glass
Canopies glass
Thermal bridges

C[01]Protocols, Standards & Productive Alienation

As a project architect within the architectural direction team I participated in the setup and development of the project from its infancy and progressively gained managerial responsibilities in an institutional environment under the strictest communication and security standards.

By the end of the project, I was fully responsible for several interventions within the general plan. Responsibilities included, but were not limited to:

[01] Extensive architectural survey

[02] Architectural direction

[03] Execution plans

[04] Works direction

[05] Authorization to build

[06] Planning

[07] Stakeholder coordination

[08] Industrial prototyping, control and validation

As international leaders were frequently at the building, every move by any of the 100 workers involved in the renovation should be registered in advance.
In addition to the traditional complexities attached to architectural renovation, the project involved an extra layer of security protocols, standards and bureaucracy for successful accomplishment.

C[03]A Collection of Small Interventions

The renovation project was developed over the course of two years while the palace remained completely operative.

The intervention was rigorously planed so that UN workers would only be displaced from their office for a 5 day limited period. Each one of those days will be used by one of our collaborator companies to sort out the works.

[01]Facades Restoration

[02]Interior Restoration

[03] Thermal and Photovoltaic Panels Installation

[04]Outdoor Lighting




C[02]A Descriptive Model to Secure the Future

The project involved extensive data collection, structuring and classification for the generation of a descriptive informational and spatial model of the 2nd biggest office building in Europe, accounting for:

I was the main responsible for the definition, generation, maintenance and continuous update of a taxonomy of 2000 windows, including somewhere around 50.000 data entry points that was the key instrument to define the construction detail system and manage production.

Considering the production prize of some of some of those widows peaked at 20.000 CHF, you don't want to miss that one.

C[02]The Devil is in the Detail

The Dutch company MHB manufactured and installed more than a 1000 windows replacing the originals dating back to 1923 with exact replicas. The windows have been upgraded with highly performant and thermally insulated profiles to comply with the strict energy saving requirements of Switzerland regarding insulation as well as wind and water proofing.