Currently, the staff at the International Olympic Committee are spread out at sites all over Lausanne, Switzerland, but soon they will be united in a modern and LEED-platinum-approved self-sufficient headquarters in Lausanne, designed by the Danish studio 3XN Architects.
Citius, altius, fortius – or ‘faster, higher, stronger’, if you prefer. These three words were not just randomly chosen, as they actually constitute the Olympic motto. A motto that the Danish architectural studio 3XN has interpreted in their work designing new headquarters for the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“In a way, we took the original motto and twisted it into three new words that we could use as a guideline for our work designing the new headquarters, specifically the key words: movement, flexibility and sustainability,” tells Jan Ammundsen, Senior Partner and Head of Design at 3XN Architects.
The design of the new headquarters is based around the athletes, specifically their motion and their ability to adapt to the physical challenges involved in sport. This athletic flexibility shows through in the dynamic glass façade, which makes the building appear different from every angle and gives it a light and vivid expression from the outside.
While movement and flexibility can be directly seen in the design of the new building, sustainability shows through in the construction. When the former administration buildings were torn down, a lot of the old materials were in such good shape that a decision was taken to reuse them in the new building.
“Nowadays, it’s actually normal procedure to reuse materials from the former building to construct the new one. In this case, we were able to recycle or reuse more than 95% of the materials from the former administration buildings – and this involved not only the concrete but also the glass, marble and steel,” Jan Ammundsen explains.
The reuse of materials is not the only sustainable solution chosen for this project. Low flow taps, rainwater capture and solar panels also contribute to making the new HQ function as a passive building, which means that it actually generates more energy than it uses. This sustainable mindset also led to the designers striving towards gaining very prestigious certification in the world’s most used green building rating system: the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, also known as LEED.
“When designing a project like this, there are some demands to the construction. With the IOC headquarters, it was our aim to design a sustainable building that can achieve the LEED platinum certification, which is the highest certification possible, thus showing our commitment to sustainability,” ends Jan Ammundsen and he gets supplemented by Marie Sallois Dembreville, Director of Corporate Development, Brand and Sustainability:
“At the very beginning of the project, we defined five key success factors: symbolism, collaboration, flexibility, respectful integration and commitment to sustainability, which we use to ensure consistency throughout the construction of Olympic House,” she tells.
This article is edited 9 November with a comment from the IOC