BIG’s spiraling watch museum is unveiled

Danish firm BIG has unveiled its commissioned project to expand the headquarters of Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet by adding a museum that spirals from the ground.

The structure will present a spiral-shaped pavilion that is partially sunken into the ground with its upper section emerging from the lawn. The museum will reveal a series of glazed galleries as well as event spaces.

In response to the client’s brief to create a succession of galleries in addition to a series of connected workshops, BIG proposed a pair of intertwined spirals that will allow both spaces to sit alongside the other.

BIG’s Bjarke Ingels explained: “Watchmaking like architecture is the art and science of invigorating inanimate matter with intelligence and performance. 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.

“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 said.

The structure will also feature a brass-coated steel roof, undulating up and down to create vaulted ceilings. The rest of the building will be built with materials such as concrete, stone and timber.

Ingels commented: “Swiss buildings sometime make you suspect that they have been built by watchmakers. 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.”

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