The Completed Headquarters for Swatch and Omega by Shigeru Ban

Back in 2013, Japanese architect Shigeru Ban (previously) won a competition to design a campus of timber buildings to house the headquarters of watch brands Swatch and Omega in Biel, Switzerland. Now, after almost 5 years of construction, the campus was completed with an inaugural ceremony taking place last week.

The shimmering, curved silhouette of the new Swatch building breaks with the conventions of classic office building architecture and blends harmoniously into the urban environment. A timber grid shell forms the basic structure, a material chosen for its ecological and sustainable properties, but also because  the area is known for its timber engineering school.

The approximately 4,600 beams of the timber grid shell were all sourced locally, and amount to roughly 10 hours of growth of Switzerland’s entire tree population. You can read more about the project on Shigeru Ban’s website, as well as on Swatch. (via architecturephoto)

dotted around the facade are around 2,800 honeycomb elements in 3 varieties: the opaque, the translucent and the transparent element
124 wooden Swiss crosses on the ceiling improve the acoustics in the offices thanks to their fine perforations
A total of nine balconies provide views over several floors
The lobby’s glazed entrance area features generous dimensions as well as a sense of transparency, openness and lightness.
Two glass elevators take employees and visitors to the upper floors and to the glass pedestrian bridge on the 3rd floor, which connects the Swatch building to the Cité du Temps
floor space is spread over five floors for all departments of Swatch International and Swatch Switzerland. The surface area of the four upper floors decreases successively from floor to floor
2nd floor offices
In addition to the regular workplaces, various common areas are distributed throughout the building
located at the very rear of the second floor is the so-called “Reading Stairs” whose steps and views encourage brainstorming among colleagues during creative breaks
the lab
the glass pedestrian bridge on the 3rd floor, which connects the Swatch building to the Cité du Temps, an independent architectural unit also designed by Shigeru Ban that hosts both the Omega Museum as well as PLANET SWATCH
 several black olive trees extend up to two stories in height. The evergreen Bucida buceras feels very comfortable at room temperature and keeps its fine leaves all year round.


  1. From above it looks like a snake eating an office building!

  2. How can you write something like..”blends harmoniously into the landscape” when it clearly does not.It sticks out like a sore thumb!

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