Savings resulting from a lack of false ceilings and floors have allowed for the creation of an innovative double façade, a protective skin around the core of the building. This functions as a thermal flue and insulates the sensitive working environment, constituting an intricate compromise between heat and light. The design of the building is an organic synthesis between the interior and the exterior, between context and function. The east/west alignment of the building leaves the facades exposed to the mountain winds from the north, and the full glare of the sun to the south. The northern windows of the outer skin are therefore permanently closed, providing insulation. The southern façade, however, is made up of panels which can be opened or closed. The entire façade is coated to reduce UV absorption and to the south the glass is further reinforced to provide 40 per cent shade.
One of the innovations of Modernist architecture was the inventive manipulation of natural light. The WMO building draws on this tradition. Light floods the interior and is reflected off the spacious light gray walls of the central core. The interior office walls are made of glass, cutting down on expensive artificial light, and inducing a sense of community and transparency to the workplace. The lighting system operates through a series of sensors which react to movement within a given space; the energy allocation is further adjusted to take account of available natural light, giving balanced and consistent illumination at lower cost. At the rounded ends of each office floor larger seminar rooms are completely glass-walled and airy.
The objective of the new building is to create high-quality working areas which foster creativity, are conductive to personal exchange and which make it possible for all employees to realize their potential.
The building is a hi-tech response to geography from the creativity of science and a symbol that the foundations of our global future are firmly grounded in tradition. This is a building for the 21st Century. It will enhance WMOs capability to continue to address new challenges in matters related to weather, climate and water.