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Swarovski Lake Zurich

Elegantly curved—sustainably constructed

The new Swarovski headquarters, located on the eastern bank of Lake Zurich in Switzerland, is distinguished by its conspicuous horseshoe-shaped architecture. The two glazed wings of the building vary in length and kaleidoscopically mirror each other. In addition, the clever full glazing of the curved building is reminiscent of cut crystal, the main product of this Austrian family-owned company.

The building, which is just a few kilometers from Zurich, provides working space for about 500 people. The leading design idea was to provide a view of the lake and the Alps behind it to as many employees as possible. This is made possible with a fully transparent facade and the arrangement of the offices. In its appearance, the building has a certain modesty, which allows it to blend with its environs. The transparency of the facade helps to achieve the desired lightness. Terraces and sloping landscaping create a relationship with the cultivated adjoining vineyards, meadows, and traditional orchards. This inviting gesture welcomes visitors, employees, and customers. Matched materials and surfaces enhance the lightness of the building and, at the same time, are a metaphoric reminder of the strong sense of harmony between the employees and the company. The curved shape and the work spaces, most of which are open-plan, create a vibrant community in this light, transparent, and healthy property.

The elegant building uses natural resources and, with its environmentally compatible construction, meets the requirements of the Swiss Minergie® standard for ecological design. The electricity consumption for the heating, cooling, and lighting etc. of the building is less than 40 kilowatt hours per annum per square meter. This has been achieved by using water from the lake for heating and cooling. The Swarovski headquarters is the first building outside the city at Lake Zurich that uses this method in an exemplary way.

The facade of the building consists of two skins, and is fitted with ventilation flaps. This represents a new design detail that enables users to naturally ventilate their offices. Solar screening is provided by metal blinds that protect against glaring light and excessive heat, whilst still allowing an unobstructed view. This solar screening is protected from wind and rain by an external glass facade. The first floor accommodates an entrance foyer as well as a lounge, restaurant, a conference area, and workshop rooms. The second floor, as well as the other upper floors, rest on columns and, with their open office areas, provide maximum flexibility in use. Seventy percent of the office areas in the upper floors is designed as open plan offices. On the inside, the ceilings of the building have been plastered with a special absorption layer to ensure perfect room acoustics. Nevertheless, it is still possible to activate the thermal mass of the concrete slabs for the purpose of cooling. The room-high, triple glazed interior facade serves as an energy-saving heat buffer between the two facade layers.

Two timber terraces and the greened roof of the recessed top floor offer views of the Alps. The building provides healthy working conditions in accordance with sound architectural design principles.

  • Location
  • Zurich-Männedorf, Switzerland
  • Built
  • 2010

    Construction period: 2008–2010

    GFA: 19,100 m²