Last edited 24 Nov 2020

JTI Headquarters, Geneva


(Image: Adrien Barakat)

In March 2016, a major new headquarters for Japan Tobacco International (JTI) was completed in Geneva, Switzerland. The nine-storey building, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Inc. (SOM), features an innovative façade of glass triangles as well as a huge central courtyard, and has been praised as one of the most sustainable development projects in Europe.

The design was initially a collaboration between SOM’s architecture, structural engineering and interior teams, and was intended to draw reference ‘not only from its immediate context, but also Lake Geneva and the Alps, establishing a strong identity amongst its illustrious neighbours while responding sensitively to its low-rise context.’


(Image: Hufton + Crow)

Dictated by the challenging triangular site, the angular form is the result of two raised corners, providing the structure with its tilted profiles. The cantilevered space of the courtyard, with clear-spans of up to 75 m, create permeability through the site and facilitate direct pedestrian flow to a local transport hub.

The interior design concept maximises both vertical and horizontal interconnectivity, fulfilling JTI’s request for a social and collaborative environment for the 1,000-plus people employed.


(Image: Hufton + Crow)

The open-plan office space is intended to ‘break down corporate silos and contribute to the creation of a seamless workplace network, providing long-term flexibility to accommodate JTI’s evolving needs’. This was achieved using an peripheral torsional tube structural steel system allowing floor plates to span 18 m without columns.


(Image: Hufton + Crow)

The building incorporates an innovative Closed Cavity Façade (CFF), a curtain wall system that is responsive to external climatic conditions while maximising daylight penetration and providing exceptional views. The floor-to-ceiling glazed panels consist of an inner layer of triple glazing and an outer layer of single glazing, with a fabric roller blind in the cavity between. The panels are sealed and equipped with a pressurised supply of filtered and dehumidified air that prevents condensation and heat build-up inside.


(Image: Johannes Marburg)

The CCF system prioritises occupant comfort and reduces the building’s overall energy demand and carbon emissions, helping it to meet the requirements of European Energy Directives and the Swisse Minergie sustainability rating.

SOM claim that the system represents ‘one of the best-performing all-glass façade systems’ in their history.

Content and images courtesy of SOM.

For more information, see SOM.

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