History of Globe

The Globe of Science and Innovation at CERN

Sustainable development, science and innovation

The donation by the Swiss Confederation of the former Palais de l'Equilibre, which was initially inaugurated as part of the Swiss national exhibition Expo.02 in Neuchâtel, has provided CERN with the opportunity to concentrate its communication activities around a building which has become emblematic of the Organization.

The crowning feature of Expo.02, designed by architects H. Dessimoz and T. Büchi of Geneva, the Globe is as much a homage to the Earth as proof of the genius of man. A real showcase of the talents of Swiss carpenters, it has taken timber construction to a new level. A sphere 40 m in diameter made entirely of wood, representing the Earth's future, the Globe combines science with innovation. Its structure is reminiscent of the shape of the planet, while its construction is based on the most ecological of all building materials, wood. Wood is the only renewable building material and the only one to minimise the greenhouse effect through its ability to store rather than emit carbon.

There could be no better match between shape and content. The outer shell, resembling a finely spun cocoon, is designed to protect the building from the Sun and the elements, just like the Earth's atmospheric layer. The inner ball, whose frame - like the outer shell - is made up of 18 cylindrical wooden arcs, is covered with wooden panels, creating a magnificent dome worthy of a cathedral. Two spiral ramps for visitors wind their way up between the outer and inner shells.

A focal point for welcoming the public

The Globe is the starting point for discovering CERN. As well as acting as a venue for film showings, conferences, exhibitions and debates, it is the departure point for visits of the site. This development in the use of the Globe will be enhanced by other structures for welcoming the public: a semi-circular building around the Globe, a replica of the LHC tunnel ("accelerator of knowledge"), a permanent exhibition on the Laboratory and a multimedia area, all of which will showcase CERN's great European, human, scientific and technological achievements.

The Globe, a symbol of sustainable development made possible by science and innovation.

Five special types of timber were used in the Globe's construction: Scotch pine, Douglas pine, spruce, larch and Canadian maple, which enables the building to act as a carbon sink.

To produce a cubic metre of wood, a tree absorbs a total of one tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2). It releases approximately 730 kg of oxygen (02) and stores 270 kg of carbon (C). Thus, the approximately 2500 m3 of timber taken from the Swiss forest which supplied the varieties used in the Globe absorbed 2500 tonnes of CO2 and released 1825 tonnes of oxygen (O2) during the trees' lifetime.

So the timber of the Globe is now a repository for 675 tonnes of carbon!

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