Swatch headquarters by Shigeru Ban opened in Biel

Swatch unveiled its new headquarters in Biel. The project, signed by 2014 Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban, is one of the largest wooden structures in the world.

The new headquarters of the Swatch group designed by Shigeru Ban is divided into three parts. The core is the structure resembling the shape of a snake and hosting both the national and international departments of the company. In addition, we find the new Omega factory and the Cité du Temps.

Swatch new headquarters in Biel. Lateral view of the semicircular building exterior by day. Courtesy Swatch

The most iconic architecture piece of the company site is without any doubt the sinuous wooden structure that challenges the classic architectural characteristics of office buildings. It looks quite like a concert hall, with very large spaces at the entrance, multiple common areas and galleries with view on the lower levels.

The structure designed by Shigeru Ban is 240 meters long, 35 meters wide and reaches 27 meters at its highest point. A bright building with an area of ​​25,000 square meters distributed over 5 floors making room for 400 workstations. Impressive numbers for a building of such kind. Its exterior and interior are an interlaced mix of rounded shapes, transparencies, colors, and classic elements all reinterpreted in an original way.

The timber gridshell is a set of 4600 beams fitted into each other thanks to a sophisticated plug-in system. The outer shell consists of opaque, semi-opaque and transparent elements serving primarily as sunlight moderation and thermal insulation components.

This impressive structure was built using 1997 cubic meters of Swiss wood, mostly spruce. A quantity that can regrow itself in as little as two hours. The use of solar energy and a groundwater pumping system guarantee autonomous operations of the main building functions (ventilation, cooling, heating, and lighting both of the Swatch headquarters and of the Cité du Temps) while contributing to the reduction of CO2 emissions.

Swatch haedquarters
Biel, Switzerland
Shigeru Ban Architects
Building Engineers:
Blumer Lehmann
25.000 sqm

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