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FIM Headquarters

The idea of the FIM owning its own building in order to accommodate its Headquarters and its General Secretariat was not a new one. The project of "Don" Nicolas Rodil del Valle, President of the FIM from 1965 to 1983, unfeasible at that time because of a lack of resources, finally materialised thanks to the new income of the FIM originating from the TV rights and marketing contracts. The FIM owns today a real Headquarters, a building for its Secretariat, which concentrates a forever-growing number of activities and employees, the operational centre of the FIM.

Originally the project was to remain within the territory of the canton of Geneva, but it was not possible to find an adequate piece of land to build independent premises. To buy or to rent existing premises turned out to be an unsuitable solution considering the current situation of real estate.

Situated on a parcel of 7 000 m2 on the commune of Mies, in the canton of Vaud, at 100 metres of the limit with the canton of Geneva, is located the 1 800 m2 piece of land where the building was built in the form of two "wheels", i.e. two polygons (dodecagons to be exact), linked by an "engine", in this case a glass casing. Drawn by architect Bruno Schaerrer, this building outlines a symbol which evidently recalls the two wheels and the engine of a motorcycle, but it is also a rational architectural form due to which a high number of windows per office is obtained, and consequently considerable natural lighting as well as a circulation surface reduced to a minimum. Each polygon has a diameter of 16 metres, which represents the best possible offices/circulation relation area of this geometrical figure. The surface of the building is around 900 m2 on two levels (maximum authorised in relation to the 1800 m2 of land). With two out of ground floors and a flat roof, the authorised height limit of 7 metres is reached.

Regarding the walls, a technique of prefabricated elements was used. Each element, weighing between 10 and 16 tons, was brought individually and placed directly in place with a crane. A piece forming a side of the polygon is 4,28 metres wide and 7 metres high. There are 22 of these prefabricated elements for the whole building (11 per wheel).

The windows are calculated for a very high thermal and sound insulation and the window panes are made of tinted, laminated, anti-theft glass. For the roof, an insultor, 12 cm thick stable foam, offering the coefficient desired, held down by gravel covers a waterproof slab.

In order to heat the building in winter and cool it in summer, a heat pump system was put in place. Totally ecological, this system does not use any polluting or non-renewable energy source. Five vertical geothermal drills, in which a 6-degree glycol-based caloric carrying liquid circulates, draw up heat at a depth of 150 metres. The liquid is brought back up by pump at a temperature of 10 degrees, and then the compressor heats the water, which circulates in the radiators at a temperature of 40 degrees, while the cooled glycol returns into the ground. This system also allows a minimal loss of heat.

In summer, the proceeding is reversed: the heat is stored in the circuit situated in the absorbing false ceiling, for example at 28 degrees or more. The water goes through the compressor where the pump circuit cools it down to about 20 degrees.

This system allows a notable economy of energy, besides the ecological contribution, because it uses, over one year, about 50% more electricity than a classical heating system which is not in use in the summer for not being designed for cooling...

The central body - the glass casing, which symbolises the engine and is the reception hall - is made up of a metallic structure onto which are fixed the laminated glass elements, once again with a very high thermal insulating rate. A footbridge connects both wheels on the first floor level.

The first floor of the building contains six offices in one wheel and five in the other one. On the ground floor, there are four offices in one wheel and, in the other, a big conference room may be divided into two smaller conference rooms. A completely equipped cafeteria can welcome around twenty persons. The basement houses all the FIM archives as well as some museum and collection items. The access to the floors is made by means of a staircase in one of the wheels, and a goods lift has been installed in the other one. It is to be noted that the walls which separate the offices can be easily moved so as to eventually redesign the spaces of the offices according to future needs. The electrical, telephone and computer cable wiring are gathered in a peripheral common canal along the external walls, both on the ground and first floors, thus providing all the offices with a large number of sockets. By adding all the lengths of the cables in the building, we reach a figure of... 60 kilometres.

The total weight of the building is around 2500 tons. Outside, 25 parking places and a garden zone cover the rest of the land. The building started on January 17 and officially ended on December 5, 1994. The total cost was around Swiss Francs 6 million, the purchasing of the plot of land included.


Big celebration, more than 200 persons present, lots of good humour: the inauguration of the new FIM Headquarters took place on Saturday, 4 March 1995.

Held during the Conference Meetings, this ceremony had the pleasure of the presence of almost all FIM Delegates from the various Commissions and Panels who were at work during these Geneva meetings, as well as several FIM personalities, among whom the Honorary Presidents Don Nicolas Rodil del Valle and Nicolas Schmit.

Don Nicolas Rodil del Valle was in fact the true instigator of the FIM Headquarters' building. The idea came to him during his six consecutive mandates as FIM President which ran from 1965 to 1983. It was obvious to him that the FIM was already in need at that time of its own headquarters, dimensioned to the needs that an international sporting Federation would not fail to be confronted with in a relatively short future. But at that time, the FIM did not have sufficient income at its disposal for such an enterprise. It was too soon for the motorcycling sport in general, and road racing in particular, to win international status in the world of sports allowing to negotiate the TV broadcasting and marketing rights, as would be the case at the end of the 80s, beginning of the 90s. It was President Jos Vaessen who fulfilled this task, and the year of the 90th anniversary went by with the building of the FIM Headquarters, from the first stone-laying mid-January until the Secretariat moving in at the beginning of December of that same year.

Speech followed speech, with the Secretary General Guy Maitre greeting all the persons present and thanking them for their support, then the architect Bruno Schaerrer, who gave a short story of the progress of the building works, then Mr. Roland Kress, representing the municipality of Mies (who spoke in English), Mr. Raymond Bron, Director of the Physical Education and Sport Office of the Canton of Vaud, and, finally the serving President, Mr. Jos Vaessen, who paid a tribute to the originator of the idea, to the one who had "dreamed" of an headquarters for the FIM, Don Rodil del Valle. A surprise came next when Deputy President Ed Youngblood announced the contribution of the AMA to the inauguration: the donation of a 1904 Indian motorcycle - year of birth of the FIM - which during its long existence was once part of the collection of American actor Steve McQueen, then later purchased by historian Butch Baer who donated it to the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation for display at the Motorcycle Heritage Museum at the AMA Headquarters in Westerville, Ohio, USA. The ceremony ended with the symbolic inauguration, Honorary President Don Nicolas Rodil del Valle cutting the ribbon.