Timeless double spiral
Good news for lovers of art and culture: a series of interesting new museums will be opening throughout 2020. Among the first of these will be the Audemars Piguet Museum in Switzerland, designed by BIG.
Very shortly, Swiss luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet will be opening up its new museum. Bjarke Ingels Groupe (BIG) has been commissioned with expanding the company’s historic headquarters. Measuring 2,400 m² in the shape of a double spiral, the pavilion blends in seamlessly with the surrounding landscape.
In the direct vicinity of the historic workshops in Le Brassus, right at the heart of the Vallée de Joux, the new museum – Maison des Fondateurs – will be embedded in the landscape, its buildings merging with the hilly fields of the valley.
Project: Audemars Piguet Museum “Maison des Fondateurs”; Architect: BIG; Project manager: Daniel Sundlin; Team: Bjarke Ingels, Thomas Christoffersen, Ji-Young Yoon, Jason Wu, Otilia Pupezeanu, Natalie Kwee, Beat Schenk, Dammy Lee, Blake Smith, Marie Lancon, Yaziel Juarbe, Julien Beauchamp-Roy, Kristian Hindsberg, Pauline Lavie; Project partners: HG Merz, Lüchinger+Meyer, Muller Illien; Location: Le Brassus, Switzerland; Area: 2,400 m²
High-profile Danish architectural firm BIG created a spiral-shaped construction that tells visitors a story, blending old and new. Here, guests can trace the linear progression of rooms and events – from the entrance through lounges, galleries and workshops to the loft of the historic building in the workshop where it all began. This is also reflected in the choice of materials: concrete and brass, with surfaces made of wood and stone.
Dilemma resolved by double spiral
With the interwoven spirals, the team consisting of BIG, HG Merz, Lüchinger+Meyer and Muller Illien resolved the dilemma of how to combine the gallery and workshop logistics. As described on www.swiss-architects.com, the three workshops form a continuous working space while being surrounded by galleries.
The roof and ceiling of the pavilion are a single steel construction with a brass covering. While continuous in the floor plan, the cross section contains a series of openings that let in daylight and enable the exhibits to be viewed from a distance.
The building has no pillars – the vertical and horizontal loads are borne solely by the glass façades. “Glass assumes the primary load-bearing function”, as engineer Philippe Willareth was quoted as saying in Swiss media.
Text: Linda Benkö
Translation: Rosemary Bridger-Lippe