The new IOC Headquarters is designed to replace the existing Olympic House with a compact courtyard building, to minimize the amount of park ground occupied by the new headquarters whilst providing an office building with the best environmental performance. The courtyards bring in light, natural ventilation and views of the exterior into two levels of workspaces within the building. They also divide the compact form naturally into separate, shallow workspaces around a central spine which is planned as both an interactive circulation space as well as the social hub of the building. This ensures that the building has a compact exterior footprint but the offices are ‘lean’. It also ensures that the different workspaces naturally intersect in the central social spine/hub. This social hub starts from the entrance lobby where the sports café is located. It extends via a wide stair that doubles as a seating area to the centre of the first floor offices. At this point it becomes a central lounge for the IOC staff to use as a break out space. The spine continues to a second floor gym that enjoys spectacular views of the park and the lake. Whether it is to meet colleagues for an impromptu meeting on the first floor lounge, to greet a visitor in the ground floor Sports café, or engage in fitness training, the IOC staff will converge in this social spine throughout the day.
In order to maximize transparency of the offices, vertical structural supports are designed as long span arches connected to the roof by vertical posts. The glazed facades below the arches, through which the offices look, are suspended from the arches by minimal glazing supports. This ensures that the workspaces are more flexible for different internal configurations as they are less frequently interrupted by vertical supports and that their views out are interrupted less often by structure. The system of arches has also an iconographic significance as its circular components evoke the Olympic logo. The interior of the new IOC Headquarters as well as the exterior elevations will therefore be constant reminder of the Olympics.
The roof of the building is designed as a publicly accessible plaza in order to recover the park ground occupied by the building. It benefits from spectacular views of the park as well as the lake and offers a space where the public and the IOC can gather. In order to provide access to the plaza, the building slopes down from its centre towards the main approach from the city as well as towards the park. This generates a route over the building, along which spectacular views of the lake are opened up. This route is an irresistible feature of the building, an invitation to climb, and explore its strange form that shifts between a building and a landscape: in other words, the building becomes an invitation to move and interact with the IOC in a physical and literal way. Visitors and locals are not treated as passive observers but actors and participants within its precinct. The hyperbolic shape of the roof plaza provides it with two open sides that connect people to the ground and two that fold up and give a sense of enclosure and some protection from the winds. The roof plaza can be used for changing spectacles: daily as a quiet belvedere, a social gathering space for friends and families but also as a special platform for hosting IOC related ceremonies.
For the public, the experience of the IOC building will be of a democratic institution that, like a highly trained athlete, lifts them up above the park landscape and provides them with a social space with spectacular views. For the IOC visitors and employees, the experience of the building will be of intimacy as well as social interaction, and of an interior space interwoven with exterior landscape. The building, therefore, actualizes the goals of dynamism and interaction, outside as well as inside.