New Olympics HQ is a big win for sustainability
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently received a new headquarters in Switzerland, courtesy of 3XN. Featuring an eye-catching glazed facade, the building boasts significant sustainable design, including rainwater collection, solar panels, and the use of recycled materials.
The Olympic House, which also involved local firm IttenBrechbühl, is located in Lausanne, on the banks of Lake Geneva, adjacent to an 18th century castle. Its design is meant to reflect a commitment to transparency and an athlete in motion.
"A hallmark of 3XN's design, the facade pays tribute to the Olympic spirit by emulating the graceful movements of an athlete," says the firm. "The dynamic, undulating flow of the facade 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 envelope have a direct effect on the building's functioning. Olympic House is a global icon and a symbol of the IOC, but it must also function as a busy workplace."
The interior layout of the building is flexible, with offices that can be reconfigured if required. A large and impressive central staircase references the iconic Olympic Rings design and connects all five floors through a central atrium.
The Olympic House received LEED Platinum (a green building standard) certification, the Swiss Sustainable Construction Standard, and the Swiss standard for energy-efficient buildings, Minergie P.
Some of the more notable sustainable features include a large rooftop solar panel array which reduces grid-based electricity requirements, while a rainwater collection system is used for irrigation and flushing toilets. Additionally, a pumping station draws water from the nearby Lake Geneva at a depth of 60 m (196 ft) to help maintain a comfortable temperature inside when combined with an efficient heat pump system.
Other measures include a focus on maximizing natural light inside, an attempt to reduce light pollution, and a partially green roof with terrace. A monitoring system optimizes energy usage and over 95 percent of a former administrative building's materials that previously stood on the site were reused or recycled during construction.
The Olympic House broke ground in 2016 and was inaugurated earlier this month. The estimated construction costs amount to CHF 145 million (roughly US$150 million) and it serves as workplace to a total of 500 staff.