With a circular concentric design that reflects the inclusive ideals of the UN, the new Hall XIX of the United Nations in Geneva is a clear reference to the cultural values of Qatar, its geography and expressive Islamic calligraphy, reinterpreted in decorative form through materials, technologies and languages of contemporary design.
The project is by the architecture firm PEIA Associati, and the construction was made possible by a large contribution from the government of Qatar.
The hall is the largest and most technologically advanced assembly facility in the Palais des Nations, with an area of 4000 m2, 800 seats, excellent acoustics, motorized video cameras and a broadcast system for sign-language interpreters.
The restyling of the vaulted ceiling breaks up the symmetry of the circular hall, giving the place a new dynamism, but also unusual metaphorical features.
The sculptural language, in particular, reflects the sinuous lines of the desert, conveyed by an architectural macro-membrane of about 1000 square meters in Okume wood, produced with the Mesh Sheets system of the WOOD-SKIN family. The large surface has been designed using parametric modeling software developed by WOOD-SKIN, which virtually simulates the behavior of a semi-rigid membrane to permit creation of complex volumes and forms, shaping 7000 thin triangular panels to permit correct visibility of projections, refraction of light and sound, positioning of physical plant systems and insertion of a Circadian lighting system developed in collaboration with Flos.
The undulated wooden panels on the walls have been engineered to react to high and low frequencies, and change their rhythm for acoustic optimization of the circular space, symbolically translating the efforts of the United Nations to promote diplomacy and peace.
Finally, there is a tribute to the historic chair designed by Charlotte Perriand for the Palais – where she worked in the 1960s and 1970s – reissued by Studio Peia in a version that updates ergonomics, comfort and functional quality, multiplied by the number of desks assigned to the delegates of the member states and their staff.