A Shared Vision for the ICRC in Geneva

A Shared Vision for the ICRC in Geneva

urbz is working with the employees, directorate and assembly of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Museum to imagine the future of their HQ


urbz is working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to create a vision and a narrative for the evolution of its HQ in Geneva. This constitutes the first step towards a master plan.


The ICRC was born out of an idea by Henri Dunant. He was a local humanist and businessman who witnessed the terrible battle of Solferino in Italy (1859), where about 40’000 young people were killed or wounded. This drove him to write a book which inspired the creation of the Red Cross (1863). Henri Dunant didn’t believe that the world would one day become pacifist and instead proposed the creation of national societies of volunteers that would be ready to provide care for the victims of war, regardless of their origins. 


After 160 years of its existence, the ICRC has become a leading humanitarian organisation with over 1200 employees in Geneva and about 20’000 staff working in conflict zones throughout the world, in collaboration with the Federation, Red cross and Red crescent national societies and other organisations. 


Today the historical HQ of the ICRC needs to accommodate a number of new initiatives. This includes a memorial for its staff who have died in mission, a reconfiguration of the Museum and a new Library/ Archives concept and space; a rethinking of work culture and work spaces at the HQ. The ICRC HQ, which overlooks the United Nations building, must also adapt to the development of new infrastructure in the international quarters of Geneva. 


As part of this process, we are conducting a series of interviews, workshops and focus groups with members of the ICRC, both on and off field to formulate an understanding of the Vision aligned with the principles and values of the organization. These bring together members of the ICRC into a collaborative process that aims to redefine the spatial organisation and functioning of the HQ. The Shared Vision will help the ICRC reach a common understanding and provide direction for the future of the ICRC HQ site.