Les Forges View 2 Original1
Architecture & Design

The Audemars Piguet factory in Le Brassus – at the environmental cutting edge


The particular design of the Manufacture des Forges contributes to its integration in the heart of the village of Le Brassus. 

By David Richard

Content gives form

The structure, made up of simple spaces under a plain gable roof, harmonises with the village’s houses. The building is dark in colour and articulated to the impression of mass. Its comb shape follows the organization of the crafts being performed within. The main section is built parallel to the stream. It houses a visitors’ entrance, an area for incoming goods, and offices for production support activities. Perpendicular to the main building are two 60-metre-long wings. One houses all the watchmaking workshops and is dedicated to the making of movements. The other is for the finishing and logistics. The north-south orientation of the wings ensures uniform natural lighting as well as limited temperature fluctuations.

Quoting the architect

The workshops at the Manufacture des Forges were conceived to meet four requirements:  quality of lighting, the view outside, volume and surface of the premises and the colour and treatment of the surfaces. The interior of the building is organized around four axes: fostering movement of people, organization as per sectors of activity, components and information flow”. Dolci Architectes

Sustainable environment

First industrial building in Switzerland to earn the Minergie- ECO® seal, an evolution of the Minergie label for environmental excellence.

The main criteria include heat and power savings, quality and neutrality of materials for users and the environment.

Wood heating system and set up of a district heating system synergising with the Le Brassus municipalityContent gives form.

Careful choice of materials favouring recycling and environmentally friendly disposal: reinforced concrete and metal structure, fibrocement plate, natural anodised glazing made of aluminum; solvent-free epoxy resin floor covering, parquet from certified forests, and water-based paints for the walls 

The stream diverted by the building and the changes in landscape have been in an environmentally compatible fashion. Power lines have been buried. A special technology was deployed to protect against harmful magnetic fields. 

Audemars Piguet, Manufacture des Forges, Le Brassus

Title: The Audemars Piguet factory in Le Brassus – at the environmental cutting edge
Address: Audemars Piguet, rue des Forges 20, CH-1348 Le Brassus
Telephone: +41 21 642 3900
Function:  Production unit
CEO: François-Henry Bennahmias
Site director: Pascal Narbeburu
Commission: Foundation stone laid in June 2007
Completion date: August 2009
Architect: Dolci Architectes Sarl (Yverdon)

The building in numbers

  • Grounds area: 24,785 m2
  • Total floor space: 12,200 m2
  • Volume: 48,400 m3
  • Available work stations: 300
  • Underground parking spaces: 90
This article is an extract from our series on  Horology and Architecture
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