Bjarke Ingels took a fruitful detour while on a Swiss ski trip in 2013. Interested in a competition to design a museum for watchmaker Audemars Piguet, the architect called the company’s nearby headquarters and asked if he could visit. Ingels spent hours in the workshop learning about the craft and realized it was similar to his own. “Watchmaking, like architecture, is the art and science of imbuing metals and minerals with energy, movement, and intelligence,” he observes. His firm’s winning design, modeled on a watch spring, coils out of a meadow like an Alpine version of Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. Structural glass panes, over 4 inches thick, support the 470-ton green roof; external brass-mesh screens help regulate solar heat. Inside, a terrazzo path of local stones winds clockwise through the exhibition to a central display of complex timepieces, then unwinds on an interlocking spiral and connects to a restored 19th-century atelier. Along the way, visitors pass an active workshop where watchmakers look out on the Vallée de Joux as they have for generations.
Project Team: Bjarke Ingels; Thomas Christoffersen; Daniel Sundlin; Beat Schenk; Simon Scheller; Matthew Oravec; Otilia Pupezeanu; Ji-Young Yoon; Rune Hansen; Adrien Mans; Alessandra Peracin; Ashton Stare; Blake Theodore Smith; Claire Thomas; Dammy Lee; Eva Maria Mikkelsen; Evan Wiskup; Høgni Laksafoss; Iva Ulam; Jan Casimir; Jason Wu; Julien Beauchamp-Roy; Kristian Hindsberg; Marcin Fejcak; Marie Lancon; Maureen Rahman; Maxime Le Droupeet; Natalie Kwee; Pascal Loschetter; Pierre Goete Teodor Javanaud Emden; Tore Bank; Ute Rinnebach; Veronica Lalli; Vivien Cheng; Yaziel Juarbe.
> See the full list of winners and honorees from Best of Year 2020