Brodbeck & Roulet


Rolex World Headquarter in Geneva Renovation and height extension

Client: Rolex
Main contractor: Faithdean Plc
Façades: 3 500 m2
Type: New
City: London

The building housing the headquarters of Rolex in Geneva, was built in the 1960s, in the form of two towers of eight floors juxtaposed with a slight lag. The opportunity to upgrade building’s performance, as well as its visual identity, and to extend floor spaces, led the renovation project, entrusted to the firm of architects Brodbeck & Roulet from Geneva.

The project is distinguished by the complete renovation of the curtain-walls, covered by a second skin, and the raising of the building by three additional floors. The new external skin also extends in height in order to protect the new attic roof terrace.

The envelope design consists of two different construction principles: from ground floor to 8th floor, where the existing facades are being renovated and from the 9th to 11th floor where a totally new construction takes place.

Internal skin

- From the ground floor to 8th floor:
The renovation work consists of the existing panel structure being covered with new elements, including a opaque enamelled glass and a double-glazed vision unit.

- From 9th to 11th floor extension:
This comprises curtain-wall elements with full floor to ceiling double glazed units. The upper part of the elements includes a flush-insulated enamelled glass panel covering the slab edges.
Tailor-made thermally-broken aluminium frames were designed to hold up triple-glazed units.

External skin

The outer skin is composed of stacked anodized aluminium frames with peripheral gaskets, including green Parsol single glass. These elements are suspended from one another from the 11th floor by stainless steel flat rods concealed between mullions.

At each floor level, horizontal loads are transferred to slab edges by aluminium profile trusses, which also acts to support the aluminium walkways (allowing access between the two skins, for cleaning and maintenance purposes).

Air flow thermal control between the two skins is regulated by opening - closing vents at the bottom and the top of the double skin.
The outside of the building envelope is highlighted vertically by acrylic glass fins fixed on the mullions.
At the three top floor levels, these fins are discreetly illuminated by embedded optical fibres.

Other works 

In parallel, several works were also conducted by Felix on the Rolex site:

Facade renovation on two factory buildings surrounding the headquarters towers: after glass replacement in the existing cladding, a second glazed skin was added. The technique is similar to the towers, but in this case, the external glass was grey (colour code for production units).

At ground floor level a set of buildings are being used as a museum, for parking access and as a link between the main buildings. The cladding combines glass and anodised aluminium. Unusually long pieces of glass, some up to 6 metres, were used to cover several steelwork porches."


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