New Swatch headquarters planned with parametric precision

The new Swatch headquarters houses offices and a small logistics centre. The 240-metre-long building, with two basement levels and four above-ground storeys made of steel concrete, is covered with a lattice-shell bearing structure made from laminated timber. We were responsible for the planning, production and execution of the complex timber construction. 

The 11,000 m2 roof support structure is the largest wooden lattice shell construction that our company has ever produced. An auxiliary substructure was required to support the main construction until it was completed. 6,500 Swiss spruce trees supplied the timber needed.

Double-curved laminated timber blanks form the triple-layered load-bearing latticework. Various materials were used in the design of the facade. Parameterisation of the building model allowed us to reduce more than 16,000 steel components and 140,000 connectors down to just a few types. The assembly also required absolute precision and would not have been possible without the planning carried out on the 3D model. The difficulty came in getting the right parts to the construction site at exactly the right time.

Project details

Client:
Swatch Group
Architecture:
Shigeru Ban Architects
Project type:
Office and administration, Art and culture
Construction type:
Free Form
Services:
Timber construction
Construction:
2014-2019
Locality:
Biel, Switzerland
Bird’s-eye view of the 240-metre-long Swatch office building at night

The 240-metre-long snake bites into the roof of the Cité du Temps museum building.

View of the unique timber substructure inside the Swatch office building

The impressive lattice structure was produced from 100% Swiss timber.

View of the office space inside the Swatch building from the gallery. The timber lattice structure on the ceiling is visible from the inside.

The timber construction is a defining feature of the interior office space.

View of the facade elements made from different materials from below.

Elements made from various different materials were used in the facade.

View of the Cité du Temps museum building from the bridge. The timber lattice structure forms the roof.

A bridge crosses over the road to link the Swatch office building with the Cité du Temps museum.

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