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Technical information about the headquarters building

Short description of the building

  1. A. Characteristics :
    The building, planned for about 2,000 people, is composed of three main parts:

    • 1. Office Building
      techical slab + 11 stories, oriented along a North-South axis in the form of a bi-concave
      • length : 190 m
      • maximum width: 32 m
      • minimum width: 17 m
      • surface of a floor: 4,300 m2 (gross) 4,000 m2 (net)
      It comprises some 1,250 offices. Each floor has 360 windows

    • 2. North Wing
      (6 floors, 2 basements) general services, including :
    • technical installations, boiler, central air conditioning, electrical substations, telephone exchange, stocks, printing shop, stationery shop, registry and archives, restaurants, Post Office, Control Center, various offices.
  2. 3. South Wing
    • 12 meeting rooms: 1.400 seats
    • 1 cinema: 300 seats
    • 1 Library with reading room:(about 400.000 volumes)
    • offices for conferences
    • air conditioning installations
    • furniture stock
  3. 4. Underground garages
  4. On 4 floors with a total area of 38.600 m2 and a capacity of 1.450 cars.

  5. B. Fire Protection
    A fire detection system throughout the building with around 1.300 smoke detectors in the kitchens and garages.

  6. C. Control Center (24/24, 7/7):
    • control console for centralized technical oversight and control of heating and air conditioning, electricity and security
    • control panel with cameras to monitor movements inside and outside.
    • main clock linked to 120 secondary clocks
    • fire detection panels
    • central sound system for the entire building
    • telephone systems for safety.
  7. D. Heating, ventilation and smoke extraction
    A 24 hour-monitoring of the system from the Control Center in order to:
    • renew the air in offices 3 times per hour,
    • maintain temperature at 21° in winter and 26° in summer,
    • maintain humidity at 50% +/- 5.
    The building is equiped with a smoke extraction system.
    The boiler-room is equipped with 4 boilers with a total power of 10.300 KW.
    The building is air-conditioned by the Geneva-Lac-Nations system (cooling by lake water).
    Seventeen stations distribute the air conditioning in the building.

  8. E. Lighting and Energy
    Average operating level 6.000 Kw.
    Capacity of 9.000 Kw.

    Emergency relief
    Diesel generator of 500 kVA, to cover the control center, elevators, pumps, burners, sprinklers, the medical service and reduced lighting in hallways and lobbies.

    Security exits
    battery-operated lights cover all escape routes and provide power up to 2 hours, enought time for a possible evacuation in case of failure of the diesel generator.


  • Volume of the whole building:
    • 555.000 m3 (équivalent to 1.110 villas juxtaposed) with 433.000 m3 for the building and 122.000 m3 for the garages.
  • Materials used:
    • concrete : 90.000 m3 (equivalent to a convoy of 22.500 trucks of 10 tons)
    • reinforced steel: 11.700 tons (in comparison, the metal frame of the Eiffel Tower weighs 7.300 tons)
    • steel structures : 900 tons
  • 4.500 windows have been installed
  • Average consumption :
    • fuel, gas : about 8.000.000 kWh/year
    • electricity : about 10.000.000 kWh/year
    • water : about 100.000 m3/year

ILO Surfaces

1. Land area 105.000 m2
2. Constructed surfaces
a) building
b) garages
16.500 m2
10.000 m2
3. Surface of 13 conference rooms 3.950 m2
4. reading room - Library 985 m2
5. restaurants and snack area 2.000 m2
6. Kitchens and storages 1.350 m2
7. Medical service area 400 m2
8. Print shop 685 m2
9. Underground garages
(for 1.450 cars on 4 levels)
38.600 m2
10. Space for each employee
9 m2 per staff when there are two officials per a three-module office of 18m2, or more depending ranks and functions
Height for all offices - 2,20m
P4: 2 modules, 12 m2
P5: 3 modules, 18 m2
D1: 4 modules, 24 m2
D2: 5 modules, 30 m2


Building construction history

  • The International Labour Office occupies its current location since 1974. The building, with ifs façade of glass and cast aluminum crowning a hill between the Jura mountains and Lake Geneva, represents the consolidation of a work started as an adventure for those who were its pioneers.

  • The site was opened in July 1969. The first stone was laid in May 1970 and work continued until the end of 1974. The occupation of the building by the ILO was conducted from 18 November 1974 to 15 March 1975.

  • ILO headquarters in Geneva was designed by a team of great architects - MM. Eugène Beaudoin (France), Alberto Camenzind (Suisse) et Pier Luigi Nervi (Italie) ; it has three main parts: the south wing, with the meeting rooms and library; the north wing, which includes general services, and, between the two, the central office building. These three blocks represent the three groups: governments, workers and employers - the underlying structure of the Organization.

Various phases of the construction

Last update: MJB 09.06.2011 ^ top