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Swatch Group inaugurates its new Headquarters in Biel

After a construction period of almost five years, on 14 October 2019 the Swatch Group inaugurated its new headquarters in Biel – one of the world’s largest timber structures, designed by the Japanese star architect Shigeru Ban.


The curved silhouette of the new Swatch building extends over a total length of 240 meters and a width of 35 meters. At its highest point, the façade measures 27 meters. The unusual design breaks with the conventions of classic office building architecture. Its forms awaken the imagination leaving the interpretation in the eye of the beholder.



The vaulted façade with an area of over 11,000 m2 rises towards the entrance and transitions to the Cité du Temps that hosts the Omega Museum, PLANET SWATCH and the Nicolas G. Hayek Conference Hall.


Both exterior and interior of the building are interspersed with a variety of leitmotifs, with curved shapes, colors and transparency, as well as with the unusual use of classic materials and building elements.



Inside the building, 25,000 m2 of floor space is spread over five floors for all departments of Swatch International and Swatch Switzerland. The surface area of the four upper floors decreases successively from floor to floor, while galleries with glass balustrades provide a view of the lower floors. In addition to the regular workplaces, various common areas are distributed throughout the building: a cafeteria on the ground floor, which is open to all Swatch employees and their visitors; small rest areas at various locations in the building.



For moments when privacy is necessary, separate “Alcove Cabins” accommodate up to six employees for telephone calls or work requiring particular concentration. An especially unusual installation is located at the very rear of the second floor: a staircase that leads to nowhere – the so-called “Reading Stairs” – whose steps and views encourage brainstorming among colleagues during creative breaks. Five black olive trees extend up to two stories in height. The evergreen Bucida buceras feels very comfortable at room temperature and keeps its leaves all year round.



A total of nine balconies ranging in size from 10 m2 to 20 m2 space provide views over several floors. Tiny white dots on the glass façades serve as sun protection. 124 wooden Swiss crosses on the ceiling improve the acoustics in the offices thanks to their fine perforations.



The basement extends under the entire length of the building. In addition to the technical rooms, ventilation center and archive, it also houses the underground car park, with 170 car parking spaces and 182 bicycle parking spaces.

A clever use of groundwater to heat and cool the building and solar power from the photovoltaic system make a significant contribution to an optimum CO2 balance. From Velospot bicycle sharing and charging stations to intelligent blackouts and glazing, from LED lighting and highly efficient ventilation systems to thermal component activation and paperless offices: thanks to state-of-the-art technology and know-how, the new Swatch building demonstrates that modern construction and modern ways of working can be in harmony with nature.


Only timber from Swiss forests – mainly spruce – was used in the construction. A total of just under 1,997 cubic meters of this was needed, a quantity that regrows in the Swiss forest in less than two hours. swatchgroup.com

COMMENTS

BLOGGER: 1
  1. Well, it's clearly a snake! I like more the inside than the outside.

    ReplyDelete

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Time and Watches | The watch blog: Swatch Group inaugurates its new Headquarters in Biel
Swatch Group inaugurates its new Headquarters in Biel
After a construction period of almost five years, on 14 October 2019 Swatch Group inaugurated its new headquarters in Biel – one of the world’s largest timber structures, designed by the Japanese star architect Shigeru Ban.
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