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Palais des Nations: Italian firms signed contract for renovation

GENEVA, NOVEMBER 20 – The United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) and a consortium of Italian and Swiss firms, called the Renovation Palais des Nations SA, have signed a contract for the largest and most complex part of the Strategic Heritage Plan renovation project at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The works are expected to begin in spring 2020 and to be completed in 2024.

The Renovation Palais des Nations SA comprises three construction firms with extensive experience in major construction and historical building renovation works. They include: CMB Società Cooperativa Muratori e Braccianti, originally founded in 1904, which has its headquarters in Carpi, Italy, and offices in Rome and Milan; Italiana Costruzioni S.p.A, which was founded in 1975 and has offices in Rome and Milan; and CSC Im­presa Cos­tru­zioni SA (Salini Impregilo group), which was founded in 1960 in Lu­gano, Switzerland, where it has its headquarters. Ambassador Gian Lorenzo Cornado, Permanent Representatives of Italy at the International Organizations in Geneva. The consortium will take over the second phase of the grand ‘Strategic Heritage Plan’ project, which involves renovating the buildings of the 90 years old United Nations headquarters in Geneva.

“I am delighted that we have now selected the right partners for the next phase of the Strategic Heritage Plan,” said Tatiana Valovaya, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva. “Upgrading the mobility and safety standards of the Palais des Nations and improving our conferencing facilities will enable us to face the challenges of the 21st century with confidence and be a world-class conference centre.”

The Italian offer was chosen for its “balances combination of experience, flexibility and competitiveness. In developing the project, UNOG placed particular emphasis on innovation, functionality, and safeguarding the important historical patrimony that is the Palais des Nations. The buildings emerged following a contest in 1927 for the construction of the League of Nations headquarters, the realization of which was entrusted to a group of five architects, among which the Italian Carlo Broggi, well known representative of the Rationalist current.

The project entails, in particular, the renovation of buildings A,B,C,D,S and the facility room of building E, for a total value of 240 million euros. “It’s a testimony to the competitiveness of our firms abroad, capable of joining forces and fruitfully interfacing with the web of institutions, national and international,” said Cornado, adding that the contract will hopefully send to other Italian businesses the message to participatein future contests, given a context -represented by Geneva- where a strong dynamism is blooming”.

The Strategic Heritage Plan (SHP) was approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The project, which includes the construction of a new permanent office building, will extensively renovate the main Palais des Nations complex of buildings, much of which dates back to the 1930s. The historic buildings will be fully renovated, with priority given to protecting the heritage of the Palais des Nations, while modernizing the core building and conference support systems, improving working conditions and safety, and accessibility for persons with disabilities.


Originally built between 1929 and 1936 for the League of Nations, the Palais des Nations is the largest United Nations conference centre in Europe with 34 conference rooms, hosting around 12,000 meeting yearly for over 75,000 delegates and 100,000 visitors. It comprises a historic building complex completed in 1937, expanded in the 1950s, to which a conference facility and office tower, the E building, was added in 1973. With more than 3,100 staff from the United Nations Secretariat, Geneva is the biggest duty station outside of United Nations headquarters in New York. Once the Strategic Heritage Plan is completed in 2024, an additional 700 UN staff members will relocate to the Palais des Nations. (SB@OnuItalia)

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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