MODERNITY AND TRADITION
Historically linked with Switzerland for more than a century, the IPU moved to its new Headquarters in the Grand-Saconnex district of Geneva at the end of 2002. Known as the House of Parliaments, the building offers a unique architectural blend of modernity and tradition.
Originally called Villa Gardiol, the mansion was constructed in 1908 by architect Marc Camoletti. Its huge Germanic roof with truncated corners attest to a Swiss classicism that was somewhat foreign to local Geneva traditions.
When the IPU acquired the building and started its renovation with the help of the Swiss authorities, every effort was made to preserve the exceptional features of this compact, but spacious edifice. Reconstruction plans were the creation of Lausanne-based architects Ueli Brauen and Doris Waelchli, who adapted an existing mansion to the contemporary requirements of the IPU offices.
The villa was given a careful facelift that respected both its history and materials. A contemporary split-level annex was built adjacent to the base of the villa to house meeting rooms, a foyer, a library and other facilities. This architectural solution evokes the Inter-Parliamentary Union itself, with its establishment more than a century ago, its evolution and finally the current global expansion, which in no way alters its foundations.
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The compound also includes an annex building which hosts the IPU Archive Centre. The Centre was restored with the support of the French Parliament and bears the name of Frédéric Passy, a French parliamentarian and pacifist who was one of the two co-founders of the IPU and the first Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
The Union was founded in Paris in 1889. In the initial years, the IPU Headquarters changed its sites three times:
- 1892 to 1911: Bern (Switzerland)
- 1911 to 1914: Brussels (Belgium)
- 1914 to 1920: Oslo (Norway)
Since 1921, the Union's Headquarters has been permanently based in Geneva, where it changed sites five times:
- 1921 to March 1926: 2, chemin de la Tour de Champel
- March 1926 to May 1931: 5, place Claparède
- May 1931 to March 1965: 6, rue Constantin
- March 1965 to December 2002: Place du Petit-Saconnex
- As of 1 January 2003: 5, chemin du Pommier, Le Grand-Saconnex
In 1971, the IPU signed a headquarters agreement with the Swiss authorities. The agreement, a copy of which can be downloaded from this site, governs the legal status of the IPU in Switzerland, basically assimilating it to that of the United Nations.
CONTACT ADDRESS AND MAP
To contact the Union's Headquarters, please use the following postal address, phone, fax or e-mail:
5, chemin du Pommier
Case postale 330
CH-1218 Le Grand-Saconnex/Geneva
Telephone: +41 22 919 41 50
Fax: +41 22 919 41 60
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CONFERENCE FACILITIES FOR RENT
Subject to availability and a number of other conditions, it is possible to rent IPU conference facilities, including equipment for simultaneous interpretation into seven languages. The duly filled request form should be forwarded to the IPU Secretariat. An on-site visit can be arranged upon request.