THE WTO: BUILDING
The WTO building: Centre William Rappard
Welcome to the Centre William Rappard, the home of the World Trade Organization. Bearing witness to over 90 years of international cooperation, the Centre William Rappard (CWR) was conceived as part of the effort after World War I to create a League of Nations and other institutions that would encourage multilateral cooperation and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
Visit the Centre William Rappard from the comfort of your armchair. The virtual tour allows you to explore both inside and outside the building while learning about its works of art and how the building has evolved over the years. The virtual tour can be accessed here.
How to find your way round:
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Guided tours normally take place on the first Thursday of every month at 11.00 (see calendar, below). The objective is to give visitors the opportunity to learn about the history of the building and its works of art. If you are interested in taking part in a tour, please contact [email protected]
Guided tours last about one hour and focus on the art and architecture of the building rather than the functions of the WTO or the world trading system. To join a tour, please arrive no later than 10.45 on one of the scheduled dates.
You will be asked to leave an ID card with photo in the Welcome Pavilion, just outside the main entrance. At 11.00 a guide will meet you in the Welcome Pavilion. Tours are in one of the WTO languages (English, French or Spanish). They are free of charge and are conducted by volunteer staff members. Please note that the visit includes climbing stairs. Certain rooms may not be available.
For groups larger than 15 visitors, schools and universities, please contact [email protected] in advance for further details.
Calendar (guided tours are cancelled until further notice)
(all tours start at 11.00)
- 9 January 2020
- 6 February 2020
Historic photosView Slideshow
- 1785 — Construction of the original Villa Rappard, renovated in 1894.
- 1914 — Villa Bloch acquired by Jules Edmond Bloch.
- 1919 — Signature of the Treaty of Versailles and creation of the League of Nations and the ILO.
- 1923 — Switzerland transfers Rappard and Bloch estates to the League. Swiss architect George Epitaux selected to design new Headquarters for the International Labour Office.
- 1926 — Inauguration of the new ILO building.
- 1947 — Establishment of the GATT as a result of the Bretton Woods Agreements.
- 1975 — ILO moves to new HQ in Grand Saconnex.
- 1977 — GATT Secretariat, UN High Commissioner for Refugees and Graduate Institute library move into the Centre William Rappard (CWR).
- 1995 — WTO becomes the successor to the GATT and main occupant of the CWR.
- 1998 — Construction of the new Council Room “William Rappard” adjacent to the CWR.
- 2007 — Hidden artwork rediscovered, including Albert Hahn Jr's “Building the Future” ceramic panel, Gustave-Louis Jaulmes's “The Triumphant Peace” murals, Dean Cornwell's murals on labour and Eduardo Chicharro y Agüera's “Pygmalion”.
- 2013 — South Building erected. Construction of the Atrium and renovation of the historic building. Opening of the Gusu Garden.
- 2014 — Inauguration of the lakeside terrace and the relocated “Blue Robed Bambino” sculpture by Gilbert Bayes. Construction of the Welcome Pavilion.