Olympic House by 3XN opens in Lausanne

Olympic House

Designed by Danish architecture firm 3XN, Olympic House aims to bring together the IOC staff – 500 employees currently spread across Lausanne in four locations – under one roof at a single site. The IOC decided in 2014 to move ahead with the consolidation of its head office and 3XN was selected through a multi-stage, international architecture competition certified by the International Union of Architects and led by a jury of renowned architects. Following the competition, 3XN teamed with Swiss architecture firm IttenBrechbühl to oversee the construction of the project.

Following the IOC’s brief, Olympic House is formed around five key objectives: movement, transparency, flexibility, sustainability, and collaboration, each of which translates the Olympic Movement’s core principles into built form. The building authentically reflects Olympism, the Olympic Movement and the role of the IOC as a catalyst for collaboration in an iconic form. Olympic House is located in a public park, home to the eighteenth-century castle Château de
Vidy, on the shores of Lake Geneva.

3XN approached the project with the intent to achieve the highest level of integration with the unique natural and historical setting while creating an emblematic architectural landmark for the local community. The resultant design respects both the Château’s legacy and the park setting, establishing seamless transitions between the green public space and Olympic House. A hallmark of 3XN’s design, the façade pays tribute to the Olympic spirit by emulating the
graceful movements of an athlete.

The dynamic, undulating flow of the façade appears differently from all angles, conveying the energy of an athlete in motion. In sports, movement leads to optimized performance; likewise, the formal manipulations of the building’s envelope have a direct effect on how it functions. The Unity Staircase, which references the Olympic Rings, soars the full height of the building and connects the five floors through a central atrium. Following the principles of active design,
the oak staircase and its periphery define the central area for social activity and movement, promoting a sense of community.

Exhibition spaces, a cafeteria and meeting rooms are also arranged around the central staircase, promoting a sense of community for the 500 regular users. Transparency becomes an important metaphor for the Olympic Movement’s responsibility, and the operation of the IOC as a global organization that promotes the values of respect, friendship, and excellence. More than an office building, Olympic House is a privately funded investment in sustainability and has been confirmed as one of the most sustainable buildings in the world.

Olympic House was built with the strong ambition to meet the most demanding sustainability standards both locally and internationally, has in fact obtained certification LEED Platinum. Additionally, Olympic House obtained the highest (Platinum) level of the Swiss Sustainable Construction Standard (SNBS), and was awarded the Swiss standard for energy-efficient buildings, Minergie P. It has been designed as a sustainable building in terms of both construction and operations, with special efforts put into energy and water efficiency, waste reduction and landscape integration.

Innovative features that minimize the building’s environmental footprint, without compromising the quality of the workspace, demonstrate the IOC’s shared commitment to sustainability. The building’s envelope allows excellent insulation through airtightness and the triple glazing on the internal skin of the facade. Water efficient sanitary equipment and rainwater capture significantly reduce the building’s water consumption. Solar panels placed to underline the roof design, minimize the need for electricity from the grid.

Another important sustainability feature is the use of lake water through heat exchange for the heating and cooling of the building. This strong commitment to sustainability is also reflected in the construction process. Olympic House is an exemplary paradigm of circular economy in construction: 95% of materials from the former administrative buildings on the site were either reused or recycled. Source by 3XN.

  • Location: Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Architect: 3XN Architects
  • Senior partners: Kim Herforth Nielsen, Jan Ammundsen
  • Partner: Fred Holt
  • Project Manager: Søren Nersting
  • Project team: Agnes Hekla, Aleksandre Andghuladze,,Alexander Guldager Kongshaug, Ana Merino, Andrea Baresi, Andrea Orving, Andreas Herborg, Anna Maya Handberg, Anne Sofie Kristensen, Bo Boje Larsen, Bo Kolbye, Bodil Nordstrøm, Caroline Beck, Christian Hommelhoff Brink, Daniel Boesen, Elinor Entell, Emil Scharnweber, Emre Usudur, Eva Maria Mikkelsen, Eva Sandberg, George Cox, Hafsteinn Johannsson, Hannah Wood, Hans Junø Munk, Helena Ahlström, Jack Renteria, Jakob Wojcik, Janusz Maczewski, Jeanette Hansen, Jens Johansen, Jeppe Hjort, Joe Giddings, Johan Lund Pedersen, Johanne Skalle, Juan Ramirez , Julie Rothman-Pedersen, Kenn Clausen, Knut Sanne Havnevik, Kresten Bjerre Basse, Kristoffer Codam, Laura Wagner, Lene Borre Christensen, Louise Villumsen, Lukasz Wlodarczyk, Majbritt Lerche Madsen, Maria Tkacova, Marie Hesseldal Larsen, Marie Liebhardt, Marie Scheel, Martin Rejnholt Frederiksen, Martine Seedorff, Mathilde Manz, Max Neumeister, Mia Mathiesen, Michella Johansen, Mikkel Haugen, Morten Andersen, Morten Graversen, Morten Stahlschmidt, Nan Shin, Nicolette Pirikki, Nielsine Otto, Olaf Kunert, Oskar Heslyk, Oskar Mannov Olesen, Paddy Fernandez, Pernille Uglvig Sangvin Piotr Orlowski, Pontus Alexandersson, Rasmus Møller, Rebecka Petersen, Rebekah Tien, Robert Fournars Sang Yeun Lee, Sean Lyon, Sebastian Frederiksen, Sebastian Mark Christensen , Sebastian Reinhardt, Signe Blomquist, Stine de Bang, Sylwia Gudaczewska, Tine Skov, Tobias Gagner, Torsten Wang, Zizheng Wu
  • Local Architects: IttenBrechbühl
  • Landscape Architects: Hüsler & Associés
  • Interior design and work space planning: RBSGROUP
  • Lighting design: Jesper Kongshaug
  • Civil Engineer: INGENI SA – Ingenierie Structurale
  • HVAC: Weinmann-Energies SA
  • Electrical engineers: MAB-Ingenierie SA
  • Facade engineers: Emmer Pfenninger Partner AG
  • Sustainability engineers: ThemaVerde
  • Acoustician: d’Silence acoustique
  • Client: The International Olympic Committee
  • Built volume: 135 000m3
  • Estimated construction costs: 145 Mio. CHF
  • Year: 2019
  • Photographs: Adam Mørk, Courtesy of 3XN

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