Nicolas G. Hayek Center, the new headquarters building of Swatch Group Japan, houses boutiques for seven luxury lines, offices and after-sales service facilities in its 14 floors above ground and two-level basement.
One striking feature of the centre is its hydraulic elevators, which in fact are showrooms taking visitors to the boutiques for each Swatch brand and providing the pleasant sensation of floating across the atrium.
In contrast to the boxy shape of the building, a free-form roof floats on the top. The geometry of the roof was determined by a series of form-finding techniques developed by Arup's research and development team. The structural scheme comprised a pair of stacked steel plates extending in three directions. These plates were painstakingly bent individually to form the sculpturally undulating surface of the roof.
The whole building was designed as an “urban oasis,” with plants coving the whole wall up to the top floor and forming a hanging garden within the atrium spaces. This greenery wall provides a remarkable contrast to the urban surrounding.
Another highlight of the design is a structural system inspired by the pendulum movement of an antique clock, involving a series of self mass dampers (SMD) that can be tuned (like a pendulum clock!) to reduce seismic excitation.