ULI Germany News

ULI site tour to The International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland

by Birgit Werner, Local Chair Zurich

June 4th ULI Switzerland and 3XN Architects welcomed a interested group of real estate professionals for an exclusive behind the scenes site tour of the new Olympic House building site, currently under construction and the opening planned for 2019.

Birgit Werner MRICS, ULI Local Chair Zurich and VP Real Estate Development Munich Airport, welcomed the audience. Jack Renteria, Partner & Director of Communications at 3XN and Birgit had met in the beginning of the year at an European ULI conference. Working both on innovative development projects, always identifying new trends and pushing the client into a frontrunner position. The idea to share these ideas in terms of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in an ULI meeting format was born.

In the construction office, being equipped with helmet and security shoes, the tour to the International Olympic Committee commenced with a presentation by architect Søren Nersting, Senior Associate, 3XN who is responsible for the project.

The new headquarters of the International Olympic Committee will bring together 600 employees currently working in distributed offices throughout the city. The committee plans to move in during 2019, in good time for the 2020 Olympic opening ceremony in Tokyo. Fitting for such a prominent building of such a highly visible organisation, Copenhagen-based practice 3XN Architects has delivered a vigorous design rife with symbolism.

They designed the new headquarters around the three key elements: movement, flexibility and sustainability. With its dynamic, undulating façade, the building will appear different from all angles and convey the energy of an athlete in motion.

The roof follows the arc of a discus, the spin of a figure-skater and the trajectory of a gymnast. Its interior is designed with as few structural constraints as possible. This open and flexible environment will adapt to multiple work styles now and in the future. The central Unity Staircase, already taking shape around massive coiled girders, makes five downward rotations – seen from above or below, they appear to overlap in the form of Baron Pierre de Coubertin’s five Olympic rings. Within them, a light-bathed community atrium will promote the organization’s preferred sport: communal gathering.

For an organization committed to greater transparency – for itself and its athletes – Olympic House is see-through from end to end, wrapped in a double layer of glass. The faceted outer layer reinforces the building’s rhythm and movement, and a more practical inner layer features an integrated sunscreen.

The building does not emphasize its sustainability credentials from the green rooftop. Banks of solar panels on the roof can supply enough electricity for heating, ventilation, cooling and hot water for International Olympic Committee staff. Yet they will be completely hidden. Rainwater will be harvested to service the toilets. The rounded footprint of the structure itself was optimized to lower solar radiation. Another clever move was to recycle the concrete from the former administration buildings down the road. The old slabs were sorted, crushed and remixed on site for the use in the foundations and the retaining walls.

Companies working on the site are IttenBrechbühl, Ingeni, Emmer Pfenninger Partner and Hüsler & Associés Sàrl.

After the site tour the 3XN Team invited for drinks and canapés. It was an absolutely impressive site tour!

Birgit Werner MRICS
Local Chair Zurich, ULI Switzerland
VP Real Estate Development Munich Airport

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