Headquarters of the International Olympic Committee “Olympic House” | The Plan
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Headquarters of the International Olympic Committee “Olympic House”

EXPRESSING the ideals of sport

3XN

Headquarters of the International Olympic Committee “Olympic House”
By Michael Webb -

Danish craft and Swiss precision are fused in Olympic House, the new headquarters of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne. The Copenhagen-based studio of 3XN won the competition with a design that expressed five key objectives of the client: movement, transparency, flexibility, sustainability, and collaboration. To realize their vision, 3XN worked closely with IttenBrechbühl, a Swiss architectural office that will soon celebrate its centennial. Olympic House is located on high ground in the Parc Louis Bourget, overlooking the city and Lake Geneva. Its 22,000 sq. m of enclosed space is double that of the building it replaces and brings all 500 IOC staff under one roof. Just as importantly it gives them an ideal work environment that fosters a team spirit, in contrast to the hierarchy and segregation of their former home. Sharp angles and bowed façades catch the light and draw one’s eyes into and around this habitable sculpture. Its sensuous form and landscaping preserve the same amount of green space as before making it a good neighbor to the historic Château de Vidy, which has been remodeled to house hospitality and training facilities, and is linked to the new building. Kim Herforth Nielsen, founder and principal of 3XN, is proud of creating a complex building in a simple way. “We took existing technologies and used them in a different, pragmatic way to speed construction and reduce costs”, he explains. Four service cores and 14 columns support the building to provide an undivided 8-m-wide band of space around the perimeter. Triple floor-to-ceiling glazing on the three levels of offices and meeting rooms provides thermal insulation and sweeping views. These upper levels are shaded by an outer skin of anodized aluminum box frames that step out to block direct sun and mitigate traffic noise while capturing the graceful movements of an athlete. Every fold and angle of this screen was precisely calculated, with the...

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