Cité du Temps - Swatch Omega Museum, Bienne, Switzerland

Cité du Temps - Swatch Omega Museum

With 1,997 m³ / 70,523 ft³ of indigenous spruce timber, this campus is one of the largest hybrid timber constructions. The three buildings - the Swatch Headquarters, the Omega Factory and the Museum Cité du Temps – are speaking a uniform design language: they share a common material palette and environmental awareness. Each strategy implemented in the project is designed to minimize global impact and serve as a model for future buildings. To achieve an energy-efficient, comfortable working environment, radiant cooling and heating with activated ceiling panels or water pipes embedded in the concrete ceilings are used. The campus uses the regenerative energy potential of groundwater from wells: for heating, heat pumps "collect" the relative heat of the water from the subsurface. The heat itself is free of charge, only the heat pumps need electricity for operation but deliver considerably more energy than they need for operation. When cooling is required, the groundwater is cold enough to lower the temperature in the cooling circuit of the radiant cooling system via heat exchangers: operation in summer does not require heat pumps. Thus, in addition to the heat, the cold is also regenerative and only takes the rather low amount of electrical energy for the pumping. All roofs carry PV modules on surfaces facing southeast or southwest and cover part of the electricity requirement.

The Cité du Temps is the Swatch and Omega Clock Museum, an 80 x 17 x 28 m (262 x 56 x 92 ft) fully glazed cuboid with four floors and a hipped roof supporting the photovoltaic elements. External slats, controlled by solar radiation, provide shade for the glass façade. On the ground floor, curved arcades lift the cuboid up into the sky; below them is the open entrance area. The two museums and showrooms dedicated to Swatch itself are located on the upper floors: The "Omega Museum" on the first floor and "Planet Swatch" on the second. The Nicolas G. Hayek Conference Hall with its elliptical shape and mosaic façade protrudes at the fourth floors. The hall is used for Swatch Group internal purposes only. The Cité du Temps unites 18 subsidiary brands and acts as an interface between Swatch and Omega: the building intersects with the canopy of the Swatch headquarters.
The museum is expected to attract a large number of visitors. Depending on them the demands for the indoor climate will change quickly. The suspended cooling/heating ceilings offer a system for room temperature control with quick response. The rooms are thus efficiently conditioned by water-bearing system and not by air. This allows airflow to be reduced to the hygienically necessary basic level, saves energy in electricity and allows smaller ducts, resulting in greater comfort with less risk of draughts. The ventilation system controls the supply air according to the needs and is equipped with highly efficient heat recovery.