- Sustainable Architecture
- Olympic House by 3XN, one of the most sustainable buildings in the world
Functional, symbolic and sustainable are the words that describe the new headquarters of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Olympic House, designed by Danish firm 3XN, selected through a multi-stage international architecture competition, in collaboration with the local Swiss studio IttenBrechbühl opened yesterday on 23 June 2019. It brings all the IOC under one roof and provides a meeting place for the Global Olympic Movement, this year celebrating its 125th anniversary - it was founded in 1894.
The new Olympic House is a privately-funded investment in sustainability, operational efficiency, and the local economy and development. The architecture combines symbolism and functionality: it was designed around the four concepts of Integration (into the natural landscape), Athletes at the heart (shape inspired by their movement), Peace (solar panels on the roof representing a dove) and Unity (five-ring central staircase). The dynamic building combines the highest standards in architectural design with a holistic approach to sustainability aimed at minimising its environmental impact. It incorporates rigorous energy- and water-saving measures while optimising user health and wellness.
80% of the investment in the building - which sits in the Louis Bourget public park, home to the 18th-century castle Château de Vidy in Lausanne - was spent on local contractors, and more than 95% of the former IOC headquarters was reused or recycled, following the circular economy principles. Solar panels and heat pumps using water from nearby Lake Geneva provide renewable energy to the building, which is expected to use 35% less energy and 60% less municipal water than a conventional new construction. Added to these are the planted roof, building automation and rainwater collection.
The project also involved unprecedented collaboration between local authorities, suppliers, academics and the IOC’s commercial partners. All of this combined is a real win-win for the environment when you think about the goals reached.
With more than 98,000 registered and certified projects across 175 countries and territories, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used green building program in the world and an international symbol of sustainability excellence. It signifies that a building is lowering carbon emissions and conserving resources while prioritising sustainable practices and creating a healthier environment. LEED Platinum is the highest level of certification possible.
In addition to receiving the LEED Platinum, Olympic House by 3XN is the first international headquarters – and the second building overall – to obtain the highest (Platinum) level of the Swiss Sustainable Construction Standard (SNBS). It has also been awarded the Swiss standard for energy-efficient buildings, Minergie P.
So, Olympic House is the first building to receive these three certifications and the first in Switzerland to achieve LEED v4 Platinum, and with the most points (93) of any LEED v4-certified new construction project to date according to the U.S. Green Building Council - the organisation that developed LEED. All providing proof of the IOC’s strong commitment to sustainability, which is one of the three pillars of Olympic Agenda 2020. The new headquarters is an innovative example of a flexible and sustainable 21st-century workspace that reaffirms the values and identity of the International Olympic Committee.
Project: 3XN with IttenBrechbühl
Location: Lausanne, Switzerland
Images: Adam Mørk