Inauguration of ICRC's new logistics hub | September 2011

On September 14, 2011, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) inaugurated its new logistics hub in Satigny, near Geneva International Airport. This new building is meant to support ICRC's activities worldwide and deliver medical equipment to populations in emergency situations.


This new building includes a 3500 m2 storage area, 30 offices for ICRC's finance and logistics departments, meeting rooms, archive rooms -which will be housing 15 to 20 years of future ICRC's archives-, a training workshop for ICRC's water and habitat unit, as well as a cafeteria. By taxi or car, it takes about 15 minutes to reach the new building from ICRC headquarters.

Satigny's large warehouse is mainly used for medical equipment, as the building is well-guarded and the climatic conditions to preserve the equipment are excellent. Annelaura Giovannini, head of ICRC logistics, sees the new building as a great opportunity for her department: "We will finally have a place of our own and solid base to support operations". She is also happy to keep a strategic proximity to the Swiss transport infrastructure, while having better working conditions and a calmer environment.

Wrapped in white canvas

"The first quality of the building is its multi-functionality", explains Christophe Pidoux from group8 Architects, who won the design competition. He describes it as "white, neutral and canvassed". Indeed, the building is wrapped in the white canvas that usually decks ICRC trucks.

Rectangular and triangular surfaces are combined on the outside to give the building a futuristic edge, and to differ from the plain "shoe box" shape of industrial buildings in its neighbourhood. Contrasting with the white exterior, the entry hall features the trademark ICRC red in order to act as a "point of contact", explains Pidoux.

Applying high environmental standards

The Satigny centre has been built following high energy-saving standards. It uses geothermal science to regulate temperature, and has no air-conditioning as such, but a continuous flow of air between indoors and outdoors.

"The Satigny building is low-technology", says Jean-Jacques Gerster, who is in charge of the unit that manages the ICRC's buildings. "It uses a minimum of energy-consuming machines". He stresses that the building is tailored to the ICRC's needs.

A project supported by the FIPOI

Land was provided for free by the Republic and State of Geneva. The Building Foundation for International Organizations (FIPOI) was part of the construction committee and participated in financing this project through an interest free loan of CHF 26 millions for a period of 50 years, an amount granted by the Swiss Parliament at the request of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) of the Swiss Confederation.

About the ICRC

The ICRC, established in 1863, works worldwide to provide humanitarian help for people affected by conflict and armed violence and to promote the laws that protect victims of war. An independent and neutral organization, its mandate stems essentially from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, it employs some 12,000 people in 80 countries; it is financed mainly by voluntary donations from governments and from national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies.



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