Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has won an international competition to expand Swatch and Omega’s headquarters in Switzerland. The design involves adding three new buildings to the watch companies’ existing campus in Biel, a leading center of timber technology. Ban’s winning proposal includes three wooden structures that house exhibition galleries, a visitor center, and public plazas, and there will even be a riverside hiking trail.
Ban said in a recent statement that he is very honored to win the Omega/Swatch design competition, adding that he chose timber not only out of deference to Biel’s longstanding history as a hub of timber engineering, but also because he says that wood is the world’s “only” renewable construction material.
Adding to Omega’s existing offices, the museum forming the nucleus of the expanded campus will be raised off the ground to make space for an entrance plaza. The curvilinear headquarters will then emerge from here, linked by a grid shell timber canopy and extending the plaza across the street.
The building is slated for completion in the summer of 2015, and it will be the second time that Ban and Swatch have worked together.