The International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially opened Olympic House – one of the most sustainable buildings in the world – on 23 June 2019. The inauguration was the highlight of the very emblematic and emotional celebrations to mark the 125th anniversary of the IOC, which was founded on 23 June 1894 by Pierre de Coubertin.
For the traditional ribbon-cutting at the foot of the iconic unity staircase of Olympic House, IOC President Thomas Bach was joined by the President of the Swiss Confederation Ueli Maurer, the IOC Executive Board members, the President of the Vaud Council of State, Nuria Gorrite; Council of State members Pascal Broulis and Philippe Leuba; the Mayor of Lausanne, Grégoire Junod; and a number of Olympic medallists. Read more about the inauguration here.
Designed to reflect the IOC’s overarching mission to make the world a better place through sport and the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020, Olympic House brings together the IOC staff – 500 employees previously spread across Lausanne in four locations – under one roof. It is an investment by the IOC in sustainability, one of the three pillars of Olympic Agenda 2020.
“When we set out on this project to construct a new home, we wanted it to be more than just another office building. Of course, we wanted to bring together everyone, the Olympic family and all IOC staff, under one roof. In this sense, Olympic House is an expression of our unity,” President Bach said. “At the same time, we wanted Olympic House to incorporate the elements of sustainability, credibility and youth – the same three pillars of Olympic Agenda 2020. The building reflects these three elements that are so central to our mission,” he added.
The inauguration of Olympic House was the culmination of a journey that started back in 2012 when the IOC decided to move ahead with the consolidation of its head office. Developed by Danish architecture firm 3XN, Olympic House has been designed around the five key elements of symbolism, integration, flexibility, collaboration and sustainability. Selected by the IOC in April 2014, 3XN partnered with Swiss architects IttenBrechbühl to oversee the construction of the building. The result is a building that authentically reflects Olympism, the Olympic Movement and the role of the IOC as a catalyst for collaboration in an iconic form.
With its shape inspired by the movement of an athlete, Olympic House combines the highest standards in architectural design with a holistic approach to sustainability. It incorporates rigorous criteria in energy and water efficiency, while optimising the health and wellbeing of its users. Pushing sustainability boundaries, Olympic House has recently received the most rigorous international and local sustainability certifications, a demonstration of the IOC’s commitment to walk the talk and lead by example.
“Olympic House takes sustainability to the next level. The building has been constructed according to the highest sustainability standards in every way,” commented President Bach. “We are happy and proud of the recognition that we have received, confirming that Olympic House is one of the most sustainable buildings in the world.”
Mahesh Ramanujam, US Green Building Council President commented: “LEED buildings are about leadership, but when you try to attempt platinum you are going for extraordinary leadership, you are trying to define what’s possible. So to me LEED Version Platinum by Olympic House is about thinking about our children, thinking about our future generations and importantly, leaving the world in a better place than we all inherited it from.”
With this new building, the IOC also confirms its attachment to Lausanne, the Olympic Capital. Developed in close consultation with the local authorities, Olympic House offers the region an emblematic architectural landmark and becomes an important element of the local Louis Bourget public park, which welcomes a diverse group of visitors every year.
The IOC now benefits from two Olympic centres in Lausanne: Olympic House in Vidy to cater for its administration and offer a welcoming meeting place for all its stakeholders; and The Olympic Museum and the Olympic Studies Centre in Ouchy to host the general public.
Olympic House is also a unique example of innovative collaboration between many different stakeholders, including the IOC, some of its Worldwide Olympic Partners (Dow, Toyota and Panasonic), the architects 3XN and IttenBrechbühl, sustainability certification bodies, local authorities, suppliers and academics.