The Japanese architect Shigeru Ban designed one of the world’s most imposing wooden structures for the new headquarters of Swatch and the City of Time. A green building with an impressive design.
It is not every day that an iconic building is inaugurated in Switzerland. Designed by the Japanese Shigeru Ban, the new headquarters of the Swatch Group has been inaugurated in Biel. And it is a true architectural feat that came into being after almost five years of works. This new building, which cost 125 million euros, is 240 metres long and 35 metres wide. Like a spine.
In this reptilian building, everything is gigantic. Just look at the façade, which is 27 metres long and covers an area of more than 11,000 square metres. “We wanted something monumental but that didn’t crush the visitor. A building that is out of touch with today’s world, where we are constantly being told about artificial intelligence,” said Nick Hayek, CEO and President of Swatch Group . We have privileged authenticity, emotion and the know-how of the artisans.”
In total, the headquarters houses 25,000 m2 of floor space spread over 5 floors. With nine balconies, this carapace contains an amazing variety of motifs that accentuate the sinuosity of the building while displaying its environmentally friendly side. A unique work made in Switzerland.
Durable and CO2 neutral
The building favours wood, a favourite material of the Japanese architect. But if it also mixes glass, concrete and metal, only Swiss forest wood was used for the frame of the structure. Mainly spruce because of its flexibility. To compensate the use of wood, a green space with more than 120 trees was planted.
In addition to the 1,997m3 of wood, heating and air conditioning are provided entirely by a pumping system of underground water of the Suze. This system feeds both the Swatch headquarters and the other two elements of the complex, the new Omega building and the City of Time, opposite. The concept uses solar energy, with 442 curved panels integrated into the cell structure of the façade. A total of 1,770 m2 of photovoltaic surface, generating 212.3MWh of electricity per year, or the consumption of 61 households.