Bjarke Ingels unveils spiralling museum
for Swiss watchmaker

| 15 comments
 

News: Danish firm BIG has been commissioned to expand the headquarters of Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet by adding a spiralling museum that coils up from the landscape (+ slideshow).

Bjarke Ingels unveils spiralling museum for Swiss watchmaker

The Maison des Fondateurs will be located at Audemars Piguet's historic workshop complex in Vallée de Joux, western Switzerland, where the company has been based since its establishment in 1875. Bjarke Ingels' firm will give the complex a new visitor attraction.

Bjarke Ingels unveils spiralling museum for Swiss watchmaker

The building will comprise a spiral-shaped pavilion that is partially sunken into the ground. As its upper section emerges from the lawn, it will reveal a series of glazed galleries and event spaces that extend to meet the company's historic first workshop.

Bjarke Ingels unveils spiralling museum for Swiss watchmaker

The brief called for a succession of galleries, as well as a series of connected workshops. BIG's response was to propose a pair of intertwined spirals that allow the two activities to sit side by side.

Bjarke Ingels unveils spiralling museum for Swiss watchmaker

"Watchmaking like architecture is the art and science of invigorating inanimate matter with intelligence and performance," explained Ingels. "It is the art of imbuing metals and minerals with energy, movement, intelligence and measure – to bring it to life in the form of telling time."

Bjarke Ingels unveils spiralling museum for Swiss watchmaker

"Unlike most machines and most buildings today that have a disconnect between the body and the mind, the hardware and the software, for the Maison des Fondateurs we have attempted to completely integrate the geometry and the performance, the form and the function, the space and the structure, the interior and the exterior in a symbiotic hole," he added.

Bjarke Ingels unveils spiralling museum for Swiss watchmaker

The museum will feature a brass-coated steel roof, which will undulate up and down to create vaulted ceilings. The rest of the structure will be built using a mixture of modern and traditional materials, including concrete, stone and timber.

Bjarke Ingels unveils spiralling museum for Swiss watchmaker

Ingels – who is also working on a warehouse conversion in Basel – described his appreciation of the "flawless craftsmanship" of Swiss architecture.

"Swiss buildings sometime make you suspect that they have been built by watchmakers," he said. "That we are now working directly for the family of the original founders Audemars and Piguet is going to be an amazing exploration in mastery and innovation."

Bjarke Ingels unveils spiralling museum for Swiss watchmaker

The project will be delivered in collaboration with museum specialist HG Merz, landscape firm Muller Illien and engineer Luchinger & Meyer.

Bjarke Ingels unveils spiralling museum for Swiss watchmaker

BIG was also recently granted $335 million to upgrade Lower Manhattan's storm defences and won a competition to design a museum of the human body in France.

See more architecture by BIG »

Bjarke Ingels unveils spiralling museum for Swiss watchmaker

Read on for more information from BIG:


BIG designs museum for Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet 

Swiss luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet chooses BIG to expand its historic headquarters. The 2,400m2/25,800 ft pavilion will be a striking landmark to precision seamlessly integrated into the local landscape.

Bjarke Ingels unveils spiralling museum for Swiss watchmaker
The exhibition route connects the new spiral with the existing museum building

Team BIG, HG Merz, Luchinger & Meyer and Muller Illien's design is rooted in the origins of the family owned company, a history of watchmaking that goes back centuries and is nested in the nature and culture of the Vallée de Joux.

Bjarke Ingels unveils spiralling museum for Swiss watchmaker
The exhibition sequence is positioned in front of the existing museum building with original workshops. The entrance hall connects the existing buildings and connects the exhibition with the hospitality program

Surrounded by the historical workshops in Le Brassus in the heart of La Vallée de Joux, the new museum called Maison des Fondateurs, will be imbedded in the landscape - reuniting the buildings with the undulating fields of the valley.

Bjarke Ingels unveils spiralling museum for Swiss watchmaker
A landscape carpet is draped over the site

BIG created an intertwined spiral shaped pavilion which is conceived as a storyline for the visitors – blending old and new - and guiding the visitor through a linear sequence of spaces and events, from the entrance through lounges, galleries and workshops, to the attic of the heritage building in the workshop where it all began.

Bjarke Ingels unveils spiralling museum for Swiss watchmaker
The spiral is lifted and surpressed to allow for views and light

The intertwined spirals solve one of the dilemmas of the program. The narrative structure calls for a succession of galleries and workshops, while the logistics of operations requires the workshops to be interconnected. By coiling up the sequence of spaces in a double spiral, the three workshops find themselves in immediate adjacency – forming one continuous workspace – surrounded by galleries.

Bjarke Ingels unveils spiralling museum for Swiss watchmaker
Two cuts in the landscape opens up a submerged guesthouse with views of the valley

The roof and ceiling of the pavilion is conceived as a single sheet of metal – a steel structure clad in brass, continuous in plan but undulating in section to create a series of openings allowing daylight and views to the exhibits.

Bjarke Ingels unveils spiralling museum for Swiss watchmaker
Program

Towards the end of the visit the double spiral intersects the existing museum building providing access to the vaulted spaces in the lower floor and to the attic.

Bjarke Ingels unveils spiralling museum for Swiss watchmaker
A lightweight steel structure rests on structural glazing

The dynamic forms of modern materials, concrete and brass, give way for a locally anchored tectonic of straight lines and warm surfaces of wood or stone. Heavy meets light. Soft meets hard. Warm meets cool.

Bjarke Ingels unveils spiralling museum for Swiss watchmaker
The exhibition sequence is stretched into a linear continuous spatial experience. The sequence is bended into a continuous spiral
  • Jack

    Symbiotic “hole” indeed.

  • rakim

    I have to say this is pretty nice.

  • Domingos, o homem invisível
  • trent

    First (snow covered) rendering tells a very different story than the ordinary interior moments seem to illustrate. From the initial image, the project seems complex and much more integrated than it really is. Nice rendering though.

  • Colonel Pancake

    I don’t seen any structure in the renderings of the spiral. Sounds about right.

    • Pay Attention

      The building is column-free. There’s a structural diagram.

    • eric B

      Noticed that as well, good point.

  • Johanna

    Skaters paradise!

  • edub

    Is it possible to get an image to show larger than the 784 pixels in the slideshow? – having a hard time ascertaining the detail in the renderings.

    • http://www.dezeen.com/ Dezeen Magazine

      I’m afraid not at this time. Amy/Dezeen

  • micky mouse

    Haha! Seriously!? C’mon.

  • marthasstudio

    First image is like a vision of Santa’s grotto.

  • Bona

    This is a typical case of, “a circular peg in a square hole”. It makes no spatial reference to its surroundings, just a show of ego. That signifies the death of meaningful architecture.

  • Ralph Kent

    Another primitive diagram by BIG. Funny how they always manage to omit the guarding from their visuals given their apparent obsession with the ground becoming the roof.

    • SMALL

      And what’s wrong about that?