3XN sprint ahead with Olympic House

Nick Myall
Friday 06 Oct 2017

3XN Architects have released visuals and photos showing the progress of the HQ of the International Olympic Committee where movement, flexibility and sustainability are key influences

Newly released photographs of the IOC’s headquarters, Olympic House in Lausanne, Switzerland show the circular staircase, which echoes the Olympic rings, as well as sinuous façade structure rising at the construction site. In 2014 3XN won the competition to design the IOC’s new headquarters. The HQ is designed around three key values and objectives: movement, flexibility and sustainability. Its interior is designed with as few structural constraints as possible, and has a eight-metre column free zone from the façade into the building. 

A transparent double glass façade is the hallmark of the design for Olympic House. Comprising a straight inner layer and a curving, faceted outer layer, the result is a dynamic form that evokes the movement of an Olympic athlete. By optimizing the ‘façade to floor plate’ ratio and creating a fully glazed façade from floor to ceiling, 3XN’s design draws daylight deep into the building. The inner layer features an integrated sunscreen, which enables the outer layer to maintain its fully glazed and transparent appearance. As there is a highway close to the building’s north side, the double façade also provides noise reduction for the interiors. A cavity between the façade layers enables easy maintenance while allowing for the dynamic and elegant skin.

Commenting on the project Jan Ammundsen, Senior Partner and Head of Design at 3XN Architects said: "With its dynamic, undulating façade, the building will appear different from all angles and convey the energy of an athlete in motion. Its interior is designed with as few structural constraints as possible. This open and flexible environment is meant to adapt for multiple work styles now and in the future." Jan Ammundsen, Senior Partner and Head of Design at 3XN Architects

The new IOC headquarters will be a one of the most energy efficient glass buildings on earth and aims to achieve the highest sustainable development standards. Solar panels on the roof (and out of sight) will produce an amount of electricity equivalent to the consumption of 60 Swiss households. This electricity will allow the building to be self-sufficient in terms of its heating, ventilation, cooling and hot water systems.

The aim for the design has been to minimize the environmental footprint while not compromising the quality of the working environment. Through the green roof, terraces and fitness center, the building and natural environment is rich with the opportunity for employees to participate in sport and leisure activities in order to energize themselves throughout the day. Sustainable features such as low-flow taps, toilets, and ‘rainwater harvesting significantly reduce the building’s use of water; while the solar panels located on the roof reduce the need for electricity from the grid.

To achieve a sustainable development, IOC recycled all of the concrete used in its former administration buildings for use in the construction of the new Olympic House. To make this operation worthwhile from an energy point of view, the IOC decided to recycle as much as possible on site. The benefits are mainly a reduction in road traffic (less pollution for those living nearby, plus reduced energy and carbon footprint), natural resource savings and the space saved in rubbish dumps.

A concrete mixer and all the other machines needed to sort and crush the concrete were installed on the site. A number of tests were carried out by a specialist laboratory to find the mixture for the recycled concrete that would meet the mechanical needs of the civil engineer. Once the calculations had been made, it was agreed that the recycled concrete could be used in different amounts to create the watertight wall around the Olympic House site, and in the apron and outside walls of the underground part of the building. 

The new headquarters of the International Olympic Committee will bring together 600 employees, currently working in disparate offices throughout the city, and is expected to be inaugurated in early 2019.

Nick Myall

News editor

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