Swatch Headquarters by Shigeru Ban Architects

The campus

Located in Biel/Bienne, the heart of Swiss watch making, The campus involves two brands, namely Omega and Swatch, clearly distinguishes the design concept of buildings according to the characteristics of each brand.

That is to say, freedom and joyfulness for Swatch, precision, accuracy and quality for Omega factory, and the integration of both Swatch and Omega personalities in Cité du Temps, the Swatch Group building.

The aim of Shigeru was to give all three buildings something in common which is related to the local context of the site. Then wood, was the optimum choice from two aspects.

From the construction point of view, it is the best structural material because of its high precision which allows extremely quick and quiet erection process, and above all, wood is the only renewable structural material.

From a contextual point of view, wood was also the only choice because Biel/Bienne is known for its timber engineering school which leads the timber technology of Switzerland. In fact, the structural prototype of Centre Pompidou Metz which is one of Shigeru Ban Architect’s representative work was done in Biel/Bienne.

The entire volume of timber used in this project is 4,600m³ which corresponds to 10 hours of growth of entire trees in Switzerland. Source by Shigeru Ban Architects.

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