A jewel in the Vallée de Joux

Six years after the conclusion of the architectural competition, the completion of Audemars Piguet’s watch museum “La maison des fondateurs” in Le Brassus (Jura) is imminent. The building, with its remarkable spiral shape, should have celebrated its opening in the upcoming summer. Unfortunately, the coronavirus thwarted the schedule: future guests and the numerous people involved in planning and construction now have to wait until the end of the year before the interior of the museum can be discovered.
The architecture and design journal Wallpaper* gives a first promising impression of what visitors can expect in the middle of the glass spiral. Jasmine Audemars, chairwoman of the board of directors, is also quoted in the article. “It’s a complicated building. At first, we thought it was crazy, then we just thought, let’s do it”, is her description of the joy of making decisions before the project was launched. Our façade and structural engineers, who, together with BIG Architects and CCHE Lausanne, accompanied the creation of the museum from design to execution, were infected by this enthusiasm.

The special highlight of the supporting structure are the inner and outer glass façade elements, which ensure the entire horizontal and vertical load transfer on the ground floor. They give the building its particularly transparent appearance, as further vertical load-bearing elements were not necessary. Due to the special geometry of the double spiral, curved glass was used, which further increased the complexity of the task.
When we look at the interior, we are thrilled to discover that all the efforts were worthwhile and that the impressive reality is stealing the show from the competition visualisations.

(Drone photo: © CCHE Lausanne SA)