Interview with Francis Gurry, WIPO's Director General

Why did WIPO need a new building? Is it induced by WIPO's growth over the last decade?

WIPO has grown significantly over the past two decades creating the need for an additional building. We also sought to group all staff in WIPO-owned premises, within the WIPO campus.

How did WIPO financed this new construction?

The new building was financed partly through the Organization’s reserve fund, and partly through a commercial bank loan.

How will this new building support WIPO's work?

 The new building structure is characterized by a sense of openness and transparency, which produces a positive effect on the fluidity and efficiency of our internal communications and work flow. If promotes face-to-face exchanges and provides for more spontaneous exchanges of ideas among colleagues. I am confident the new building will reinforce a team-like spirit and help us work towards achieving one of our core values – “working as one.”

What are the advantages, for your organization, to be based in Geneva?

Geneva is a perfect location for an inter-governmental organization like WIPO. It offers unrivalled infrastructure and an excellent standard of living. Geographically, it is ideally located, facilitating travel to and from our member States. The fact that Geneva is host to a number of specialized agencies of the United Nations as well as many nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) is also a clear advantage as it facilitates dialogue between stakeholders. Geneva is also home to many innovation-based companies – this is particularly relevant considering that WIPO’s primary mission is to promote a balanced and accessible intellectual property system that rewards creativity, stimulates innovation and contributes to economic development in a way that safeguards the public interest.

Do you have other construction projects in Geneva?

Yes. Construction work on a new conference hall for WIPO began in August 2011. The conference hall is expected to be completed by mid-2013.

The new conference hall, with a capacity of 900 seats, together with several new smaller meeting rooms in the main headquarters building (the Arpad Bogsch Building), will cater for increasing demand for multilateral and bilateral consultations associated with intergovernmental meetings at WIPO.  

The new hall, designed by Behnisch Architekten of Stuttgart, Germany (the same architect firm as the new building), gives priority to sustainability, using local wood, natural light, hybrid ventilation combining natural and mechanical means, and a cooling system drawing water from Lake Léman. 

The new hall will complete a series of construction projects on the WIPO campus in Geneva.


                                                                    26 September 2011