NORDIC ARCHITECTS GLOBAL IMPACTS
Kristoffer Lindhardt Weiss
N ORD IC ARC HI T E C T S G LOBA L I M PAC T S
NORDIC ARCHITECTS GLOBAL IMPACT
Author and editor: Kristoffer Lindhardt Weiss Preface: David Sokol Graphic design: Dalston Creative Proofreading: Dorte H. Silver, Cornelius H. Colding Editorial team: Esther Whang (in-house editor), Gabriella Sahlin, Jon Lindblom, and Mathias Staat Editor: Monika Sarstad Publisher: Marie Arvinius Photo: see photocredit list Cover: Front: Skýli, trekking cabin, Utopia Architects Image by Utopia Architects Back: The Big U, New York City, BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group Image by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group BuzzBuilding, Stockholm, Belachew Arkitekter Image by Belatchew Arkitekter ReGen Villages, Almere, EFFEKT. Image by Effekt Print and binding: Livonia Print SIA, 2017 Latvia ISBN 978-91-87543-26-5 © 2017 Arvinius + Orfeus Publishing. All rights reserved This book is protected by the copyright law and international treaties. All rights are reserved by the copyright owners. No part of the book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording or information storage and retrieval) without the prior written permission of Arvinius + Orfeus Publishing AB. Published in 2017 by Arvinius + Orfeus Publishing AB Olivecronas väg 4, 113 61 Stockholm, Sweden Phone +46 8 32 00 15 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ao-publishing.com
NORDIC ARCHITECTS GLOBAL IMPACTS
Kristoffer Lindhardt Weiss
HELEN & HARD
HOLSCHER NORDBERG ARCHITECTURE
ALESSANDRO RIPELLINO ARCHITECTS
ANDERSEN & SIGURDSSON ARCHITECTS
JUUL FROST ARCHITECTS
KJELLGREN KAMINSKY ARCHITECTURE
KRISTIN JARMUND ARCHITECTS
LAHDELMA & MAHLAMÄKI ARCHITECTS
C.F. MØLLER ARCHITECTS
CHRISTENSEN & CO ARCHITECTS
NORD ARCHITECTS COPENHAGEN
PETRA GIPP ARKITEKTUR
REIULF RAMSTAD ARCHITECTS
ARCHITECTS RUDANKO + KANKKUNEN
392 SNØHETTA 404
SOPHUS SØBYE ARCHITECTS
410 SPACEGROUP 416 SPRIDD 422
STREET MONKEY ARCHITECTS
432 TENGBOM 438
THAM & VIDEGÅRD
VILHELM LAURITZEN ARCHITECTS
ARKITEKTSTUDIO WIDJEDAL RACKI
P REFACE David Sokol
It could not have happened here in America. That thought immediately came to mind in February 2008, upon the opening of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Halfway between Norway and the North Pole, the government of Norway had spent $9 million to bore a tunnel 130 metres into Platåfjellet and, deep within the mountain, construct three chambers with storage capacity for 2.5 billion seeds as a backup for the world’s approximately 1,700 gene banks. The dignified wedge of concrete, steel, and glass conceived by architect Peter W. Søderman that marks the vault’s entry is positioned high enough above sea level that even total melting of the planet’s glaciers should not cause saltwater to lap against its front door. The trio of chambers is so well ensconced by earth that permafrost can keep the seeds viable even if electrified refrigeration goes out. The mind boggles at the image of either situation happening, and it stages an outright revolt at the prospect of both. Visions of catastrophic heat and geopolitical chaos ricochet about. But the human race will have solved the wrongs of modern history before that happens, right? Or we will have found another habitable planet and colonized it by then, right? The Crop Trust maintains the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in partnership with the Norwegian government and the Nordic Genetic Resources Centre. “Norway is special,” the group’s executive director Cary Fowler told The Atlantic, when asked how the so-called Doomsday Vault came to fruition. Because Norway has no commercial seed industry, the nation could undertake the project without conflict of interest, Fowler explained. What is more, “Norway is just an unusually generous and collaborative country. When I headed the committee that undertook the feasibility study for the seed vault, and when we presented it to the government, their attitude was ‘If this is a valuable natural resource and Norway is the place to safeguard it, how can we say no?’ And they jumped right in and built the facility at their cost.” Work on the first volume of Nordic Architects was wrapping up at the same time as news outlets and web feeds lit up with reports from Svalbard. The vault squared perfectly with something I had come to learn from that book’s subjects: If durability is a measure of good architecture since the days of Vitruvius, then 6
Nordic architects had assimilated that guiding principle more systematically than most. A Nordic building withstands climate, long-term use, and even the tides of taste with aplomb. My work on that inaugural book also revealed a deeper underpinning of durability, which paralleled Fowler’s comments about the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. Nordic architecture is not durable merely because extreme weather conditions can thrash lesser buildings, or because limited natural resources demand respectful consumption. It is durable because the collective ethics of Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland stress the good of many over the triumph of the individual. It is durable because Nordic societies respect the ancestors who bequeathed us our communities, and exercise forethought for the granddaughters and grandsons who will someday inherit them. It is durable because the Nordic people see themselves as an ecosystem’s participants rather than its masters. Like Nordic culture overall, the vision of Nordic architecture reaches across false divisions like race and class, man versus nature, or even from one generation to the next. Nordic architecture serves an almost unfathomably broad continuum of users, and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault is emblematic of this remarkable civic perspective. Someday, when every new building is powered by photovoltaics and heated geothermally, our leaders in architecture and design will look to Nordic principles of generosity, collaboration, and humility as the true criteria of sustainable building. The Svalbard project is emblematic, too, because it is only one manifestation of Nordic sustainability. Finnish schools and Danish outdoor public spaces are renowned throughout the world for embodying a durability that is as spiritual as it is structural. Meanwhile, Norway’s National Tourist Routes represent a building type conceived precisely for Nordic sustainability. The remarkable series of investments in rest stops, observation decks, and parking areas draws economic attention to marginal communities, supports people’s innate need to commune with the natural world, and advances human expression in the form of designs by Reiulf Ramstad Architects (page 376) and others. The National Tourist Routes’ reinvention of rural infrastructure considers sustainability well beyond energy efficiency or minimized construction waste.
In response to such a preponderance of examples, this latest volume of Nordic Architects illustrates Nordic sustainability overtly. Asked to give greater voice to these ethics, White Arkitekter (page 486) affirms, “sustainable solutions are meant to outlast our generation and stand up to the scrutiny of future generations.” Belatchew Arkitekter (page 114) states, “There is no contradiction between sustainability and aesthetics,” and that “aesthetics should always be high regardless of the performance of the building.” Subjects’ choices of projects also respond to this book’s charge. The Dorte Mandrup-designed Sundbyøster Hall (page 170), for example, combines a grocery store, an athletic center, and housing in one structure, while making each function visually distinct from the other. The building represents a faith in cities as a means of serving more, and more kinds of people, without greedily consuming land. The three-in-one structure also relies on urban densification as a generator of new architectural expressions that will stand the test of time. Community Church Knarvik, in Isdalstø, Norway – also designed by Reiulf Ramstad Architects – poses biophilia as a strategy for endurance. The church’s rugged geometries and materiality blend with local topography and vegetation, while accommodating a public square that is planned for the town center. Indeed, creating buildings and places that serve myriad constituents now and into the future takes on different meanings for the architects featured in the coming pages. Where one studio may pursue resilience to extreme weather as its contribution to Nordic sustainability, another may be interested in a highly public design process that ensures a project’s long-term social benefits. Where one practitioner designs versatility into a building, so that it can be adapted to any number of future uses, another may detail a building so that it may be easily disassembled for recycling. Whatever the interpretation, these architects care about Northern Europe’s unique cultural legacy, and their buildings are all figurative global seed vaults, in turn. The question remains, though, why the third volume of Nordic Architects should try to articulate Nordic sustainability and its components so much more baldly than past volumes. One argument is that explicit dialog can only help the sustainable design movement. Sustainability is still interpreted as an insular set of performance requirements, and the quiet holism of sustainable Nordic architecture shows precisely how other kinds of longevity can be incorporated into the global design community’s definition of sustainability. A more compelling reason is the need to advance the sustainability movement, and fast. Climate change, globalization, robotics, nuclear armament, and the increasing toxification of the Internet are reshaping the world as we know it, from the locations of coastlines and habitats to the demographic makeups of cities. The situation demands a more emphatic rejoinder, and Nordic sustainability is distinctively well-equipped to handle such challenges.
But we cannot take for granted that this exceptional design community will adapt to such unprecedented forces. Flux is directly threatening Nordic values of inclusivity and generosity, and the places that embody them. Consider the 2011 Norway attacks in Olso and on Utøya island that took 77 lives in the name of anti-Muslim sentiment. Or that, as this essay was wrapping up, a radicalized Muslim had rampaged through Market Square in central Turku, Finland, stabbing two people to death in the first terrorist attack to hit the country since World War II. That water penetrated 15 metres into the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in 2016 almost seems quaint in comparison to such painful events. Yet the overarching impulse to react with tribalism, bunker mentality, or moral fraying unites them all. One way to bolster the Nordic design community in the face of change is to candidly identify how it practices and stewards Nordic sustainability today, and how it envisions the uncertain future. This book does just that, and its subjects’ provocative, compelling, and visionary feedback should serve as a road map to architects everywhere. David Sokol is a New York–based writer and editor specializing in architecture and design, who has been a longtime contributor to Arvinius + Orfeus Publishing. A former managing editor of I.D., today he is a contributing editor at Architectural Record and Cultured magazines, and he writes regularly for Azure, Departures, Surface, and other publications.
G LOBA L I M PAC T S I N A NE W WOR L D Kristoffer Lindhardt Weiss
If it seems somewhat familiar, it is because history relentlessly repeats itself. The Modern Movement in architecture and planning of the early 20th century stood on the shoulders of massive technological breakthroughs, industrialization, mass migration from rural areas to the new all-consuming metropolises, and, not least, the social mass movements that swept across Europe and inspired architects and artists to explore new ideological and value-driven expressions. The outrageously poor living conditions of large numbers of citizens animated some of the greatest architectural and urban thinkers of the modern era. There was a call for radical new solutions across the board, and architects and planners responded with incredible ingenuity and consequence, fuelled by an unprecedented sense of urgency and ideological commitment. Over a few decades, the modern architectural vocabulary was formulated – and we are still struggling to understand the implications of modernity on our cities, buildings, and lives. Today, turmoil and uncertainty are once again manifest as conditions of late modernity. They are the flipside of modernity run amok. The social progress and consumption patterns of the new middle class and the highly developed industrial economies have produced side-effects such as global climate change and major demographic shifts (including population growth). Comprehensive urbanization and globalization have become fundamental concerns for every project, and persistent societal agendas, such as the escalating climate crisis and mass migration, are rapidly redefining the playing field for architecture and planning as disciplines situated at the centre of the mounting challenges. The scenarios are aligning to create a perfect storm. The urgency is obvious. It is in times such as these, when society forces itself on the profession and changes the game completely, that previously unheard-of inventions in architecture and planning arise. Some might even characterize it as a deeply moral responsibility not to be ignored by the architectural and planning community. Since buildings account for 40% of all energy consumption in the Nordic countries – to name just one key factor that stands out – change in the way we build houses and cities is sorely needed. And protecting cities from future floods and massive rainfall will be key to preserving the quality of life associated with the welfare cities. Some feel that 8
this is a heavy burden to carry, but how architects and planners respond to these challenges will most likely define 21st-century architecture, urban planning, and design. In other words, it is an unavoidable condition of late modernity. Both public and private clients and the general public expect an answer. These are the heydays of new concepts and phrases in the industry, pervasive throughout the profession as magic formulas guiding our thoughts and ideas. Circular economy, deep ecology, climate apocalypse, upcycling, resilient cities, social coherence, and so on. Whatever we call it, architects and designers are in the process of rethinking their design strategies fundamentally. The Nordic Welfare Model as Trailblazer? The modern welfare states of the Nordic countries are hyperregulated, and at the same time rank at the top among socially progressive states. They represent collectivism in design solutions, in planning and buildings that reflect the egalitarian ideals, and in the green transformation of the economy and the building industry. This ideology may be characterized as a right to space, driven by an attempt to counter the effects of purely marketdriven urban development that leads to segregation. A comprehensive regulatory framework creates green standards codified in some of the world’s strictest building regulations, and across political divides there is widespread consensus on the necessity to act. At an early stage in the climate and environmental debate, Nordic politicians came to the realization that the market itself does not produce solutions if there are no economic incentives driven by public initiatives. This insight led to massive public investments in the built environment, in green energy sources, such as wind turbines, and in publicly owned energy companies. When the American political writer Francis Fukuyama introduced the catchphrase “Getting to Denmark,” this is what he emphasized: that a system of governance with a low level of corruption and a high level of trust and a balanced relationship between the private and public sector is the foundation for the relative success of the Nordic welfare model. That very same sentiment was present in the 2016 American presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Here, the
Nordic countries were poster kids for progressive social and green politics. If Fukuyama, Clinton, and Sanders are right, it seems evident that the solutions to the problems presented in this book will be found in the interplay of the market, the public sector, and the values underpinning that movement. The Normative Turn This reorientation towards value-based architecture and planning could be referred to as the normative turn. A rise of values derived from a larger societal debate has found – or forced – its way into the profession, with some arguing that there is a real risk of overdosing on good intentions or greenwashing an industry that is far from sustainable, as it is. Nevertheless, there are high-profile examples such as the dramatic turnaround of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture in Copenhagen, which has adopted the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals as the school’s main strategic focus point, involving all students in the clear articulation of their implementation. The students are now required to take the UN goals into account, which introduces a new agenda to the previously very artistically focused academy with its 250-yearlong tradition. Another example of an explicit push towards extensive societal commitment is the overall theme of the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2016, curated by the Chilean architect and Pritzker Prize award recipient Alejandro Aravena. Titled Reporting from the Front, it rested on the same feeling of an urgent need for reorienting the profession towards “real” problems. Aravena asked the participating national pavilions to formulate this urgency in the same spirit. His message was that the profession as such must engage in these issues and can no longer ignore the necessity to act. The Nordic and Danish pavilions both responded with a comprehensive documentation of many architecture offices – large and small – who in their own way engage in debates on the nature of public space, climate adaptation, affordable housing, and many other topics relevant to this book. The exhibits emphasized the profound role of values and problem-solving as a basis for the legitimacy of the profession. To some critics, this normative turn is a claustrophobic limitation of architecture in its endeavour to explore spatial qualities independently in all its forms. From their perspective, the complexity of architectural invention cannot be reduced to a limited number of sustainability standards that overemphasize technical aspects at the cost of artistic sensibilities. To others, it is a welcome opportunity to redefine the means and ends of the profession. It creates a tension between the autonomy of the profession and the rising number of technical and bureaucratic demands. It is not obvious that architectural quality is born out of these conditions, yet the enormity of the challenges lying ahead obviously underscores the necessity for architects and planners to act.
What You Will Find in This Book The works presented in this book were created by individual Nordic offices – from traditional offices that have been working with the outlined issues for decades, to emerging offices with a very contemporary design profile. Not only do they do their best to comply with current green building standards, they also invest an enormous amount of creativity, through design and concept, in addressing the most urgent agendas of our time in a way that extends beyond the traditional boundaries of the profession. In particular, the omnipresent climate crisis, inclusive public spaces, and the need for affordable housing seem to form overarching themes that define their work and responses to the global impacts of our time. Each project included in this book thus seeks to formulate a response to the challenges facing us. Some are merely modest suggestions and improvements, while others are way ahead of the curve and have the potential to inspire and change the profession profoundly. In this book, we give the architects themselves a chance to explain, in their own words, how these agendas inform their design and thinking. Judging by the projects included in this volume of Nordic Architects, it seems that the global impacts of the most pressing agendas are setting new standards in the profession; the ability to tackle mass migration, urbanization, and the climate crisis is feeding a new wave of creative and critical design. Questions of longevity, durability, accessibility, community, and climate adaptation are universal problems to be solved, and the nature of our responses will determine whether architecture and planning will thrive as an art form bound by the dirty realism of the challenges ahead. Nordic Architects – Global Impacts thus becomes a documentation of a movement; an attempt to explore the potential within the transition on all scales – from individual houses to master plans – and the ambition of creating socially viable projects across a wide range of types and contexts. What we seek to put forward here is the scope and depth of this engagement. There is no doubt that Nordic architects feel obligated to explore and develop sustainable strategies for managing the diverse issues at hand, and the critical search for answers is, in its own way, evident in every single project in the book. In Nordic Architects – Global Impacts, you will find 60 offices and 200 projects from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland. The book is a testament to the many tireless efforts within a profession eager to make itself relevant and heard in one of the most dramatic eras of modern history. Kristoffer Lindhardt Weiss, philosopher, writer, and urbanist, curator of the Danish contribution for the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2016. Author of the books Adventures in Conceptualism, The New Wave in Danish Architecture, and Art of Many – The Right to Space.
3 XN ARCHI T E C T S
For three decades, 3XN has maintained its position as one of the most important and internationally oriented Danish offices. The studio was founded in Aarhus, Denmark, in 1986. Today, Kim Herforth Nielsen, one of the original founders, is heading a team of talented young architects of more than 20 nationalities drawing on the firm’s history, humanistic values, and Scandinavian roots. In 2007, 3XN established the innovation unit GXN to collect and apply the latest knowledge on materials and new technologies in architecture. GXN has quickly become a trailblazer in ecological and behaviour-centred design research. How does your work address the issue of social sustainability? It is almost impossible for us not to – the consideration of social sustainability is foundational to our philosophy of design. You could say that this is a very “Nordic” approach, born out of a social-democratic view on society. That is to say, we see a building as a sort of “communal system”. This perspective drives our obsession with the way in which buildings influence the people who use them. Personally, I think that is why Danish architects have been so successful abroad. We have a collaborative dialogue with our stakeholders, where we investigate the project, including asking the users fundamental questions. As a result of this approach, we are able to educate those involved with strategic insights and findings. Another characteristic is that we take a holistic approach to building design: a building’s purpose, programme, and context should come together in a harmonious solution. Our focus on the impact of design on the people who use it has been a defining factor in our work over the past 30 years. Creating a design that helps users thrive and interact. That does not mean that we aren’t also integrating green solutions as a natural part of our buildings. We always strive to incorporate green ideas and sustainability into our work. Could you point to projects that represent your approach to sustainability? Our intense focus on sustainability comes through in all our projects. The New Fish Market in Sydney is socially sustainable. In addition to the use of sustainable structural elements, such as storm water collection and active solar panels, the design places people centre stage, with an emphasis on place18
making aimed at fostering a strong sense of community. The design excels in its ability to create value for all stakeholders: the fishermen and restaurateurs as well as neighbours and tourists. You see the same dynamics of sustainability in the International Olympic Committee’s headquarters in Lausanne. It contains unique solutions to everyday sustainability challenges along with a clear focus on the well-being of its users, as exemplified by the open staircase in the centre of the headquarters that encourages social interaction. Green Solution House is a project that shows the complex approach required to integrate multiple green strategies into one structure. What is your studio’s overarching philosophy, and how does it prepare you to implement sustainability strategies? We have a firm belief that “architecture shapes behaviour”. It is all about how architecture affects behaviour and the people who experience it. Internally, we employ several PhDs who investigate and study our buildings and spaces to see how people’s behaviour is affected over time. It is a critical aspect of our work. Focusing on what we aim to achieve with a building and how people are going to act in and interact with it continues to drive the evolution of our work. Our projects learn from each other, so in a sense, they are standing on each other’s shoulders. Ørestad College, for example, serves as a catalyst for our work with space, architecture, and behaviour. The traditional classrooms have evolved into an open-space configuration, where the physical surroundings for learning become multiflexible. Alleviating the constraints of the old design to provide the setting for a much more diverse range of learning: from individual learning to teamwork and group study. What is the role of aesthetics in achieving sustainability? Aesthetics are important to us – but not for the sake of aesthetics alone. Nature becomes a powerful metaphor when we work. A flower is visually beautiful, but this beauty stems from its function. We take the same approach to our buildings. They always have to meet the demands, but with a solution that is aesthetically balanced. Thus, there is always a reason and a purpose behind the artistic expression and representation of our buildings.
A R KIT E K T
D EN M A R K
Previous page and this spread: Royal Arena, Arena CPHX, Copenhagen Specifically designed for concerts and international sporting events, this venue is based on two key ambitions: to create an attractive and highly flexible multi-purpose arena, and to ensure that its presence will act as a catalyzer for growth of the entire district of Copenhagen. â€ƒ Unlike a traditional arena, the Royal Arena is not located at the outskirts of the city, but amidst a dense urban area with housing and businesses. And contrary to similar sports and entertainment venues its structure is designed to interact with the plazas and walkways of the surrounding neighbourhood by offering resources that will catalyze activities and social encounters.
3XN A RC H IT E C T S
Central to the design of the Royal Arena is a unique podium that acts as a link to the adjoining neighbourhood. It is designed to efficiently absorb the flow of spectators through a variety of small plazas and gathering areas that have been carved from its perimeter. And it simultaneously encourages the community to embrace the variety of public spaces, staircases, and adjacencies that promote activity and liveliness when the building is not in use. Location: Copenhagen, Denmark Building area: 35,000 m2 Status: Completed 2017
This spread: Quay Quarter Tower, AMP Capital, Sydney The design of the tower incorporates two thirds of the structure of an existing building located on the site, and adds four new elevator shafts to the core. Through an act of radical sustainability, the resulting carbon savings will be the equivalent of 10,000 flights from Sydney to Melbourne. â€ƒ Given the solar envelope and other contextual restraints, the design adds approximately 45,000 m2 of new construction primarily on the north side of the building. It optimizes the embodied energy and resources inherent in the existing building and results in a remarkably efficient plan. The building will offer 2000 m2 of floorplates, with an atrium cut all the way from top to bottom to maximize daylight, sun, and views for people working inside. â€ƒ The tower was designed with a behavioral psychologist advising on what workers really want from their office space: a structure that facilitates socialization. Hence, the design is based on the ideas of collaboration and connection, and sharing comfortable and stimulating spaces that aid creativity and raise productivity. Location: Sydney, Australia Building area: 102,000 m2 Status: To be completed in 2021
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3XN A RC H IT E C T S
D EN M A R K
This spread: Green Solution House, Rønne The Green Solution House explores circular sustainability. The exploration is rooted in three sustainability strategies and is constantly informed by local conditions and a pragmatic use of resources. The building is certified to the standards of the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), and the design is based on the criteria of the Active House-vision and inspired by the Cradle to Cradle life-cycle concept.
3XN A RC H IT E C T S
The Green Solution House exists on the verge between technology and nature. For instance, it produces energy and nutrients from organic waste, and cleans wastewater through biological processes. For the latter, water from the sinks and toilets in the main building is collected and flows through anaerobic, clarifying, and biological filtering stages to enable on-site reuse. The first stages of purification are hidden below ground, after which the system emerges into view and is assisted by sunlight and LED lighting. In this stage,
the water flows through algae tubes that absorb CO2 to continue the water-cleansing process. The ambition for the system is to provide drinking-water quality through the biological purification process. Location: Rønne, Bornholm, Denmark Building area: 4,500 m2 Status: Completed 2015
This spread: Lighthouse, Lighthouse United, Aarhus Openness, vividness, and multiplicity characterize the Lighthouse development, which combines a high-rise structure with groups of terraced houses to foster community and security. Also including a sun-lit seaside promenade with cafés, shops, and a large square for leisure activities, the masterplan emphasizes the interaction between private, semi-public, and public areas. The sky bar at the top
of the tower offers public access to the beautiful view. The idea behind the Lighthouse is to create an attractive and versatile urban area on the harbour front in Aarhus – Denmark’s second largest city – and to create a safe local environment that puts an end to conventional blocks. Instead, the aim is that the smaller groups of terraces will create smaller communities that encourage greater social connectivity between residents. Residents and visitors will be expected to park their cars in
common underground car-parking facilities, thus ensuring optimum conditions for pedestrians and cyclists. Location: Aarhus, Denmark Building area: 63,000 m2 Status: Phase 1 completed 2012, phase 2 to be completed in 2021
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3XN A RC H IT E C T S
This spread: The Olympic House, The International Olympic Comittee, Lausanne The Olympic House is designed around three key values/objectives: movement, flexibility, and sustainability. Its interior is conceived with as few structural constraints as possible, and has an eightmetre column-free zone from the façade into the building. A transparent double-glass façade is the hallmark of the design for Olympic House. The faceted outer layer is a dynamic form
that evokes the movement of an Olympic athlete. By optimizing the façade-to-floor plate ratio and creating a fully glazed façade from floor to ceiling, 3XN’s design draws daylight deep into the building. The new IOC headquarters will be one of the most energy-efficient glass buildings and aims to achieve the highest sustainable development standards. Solar panels on the roof (and out of sight) will produce an amount of electricity equivalent to the consumption of 60 Swiss households. This electricity will allow the building to be self-
sufficient in terms of its heating, ventilation, cooling, and hot water systems. All of the concrete used in the former administration buildings has been upcycled and used in the construction of the new HQ. The Olympic House, which will bring together 600 employees, is expected to be inaugurated in early 2019. Location: Lausanne, Switzerland Building area: 25,000 m2 Status: To be completed 2019
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3XN A RC H IT E C T S
A - L AB
A-lab is an Oslo-based office founded in 2000, led by Odd Klev and Geir Haaversen. It stands out from many conventional offices by working mostly with urban and contemporary projects, related to the challenges of sustainable urban development and compact living. A-lab’s portfolio includes public buildings, business complexes, mixed-use urban development strategies, and housing. Most of the firm’s work is generated from winning competitions, often in interdisciplinary collaborations. In 2012, A-lab was responsible for two of Norway’s biggest high-profile projects, Barcode and Statoil Regional Head Office, both of which have received international awards. What are some of the challenges faced by Nordic cities that have impacted your practice? Urbanization and climate change; Oslo is one of the fastest growing cities in Europe, and many Nordic cities are experiencing rapid growth and urbanization. Our urban environment here is increasingly subject to transformation, rather than perimeter expansion and urban sprawl. The impact of mass migration associated with the refugee crisis is an added challenge, but hopefully it will lead to greater cultural diversity. For us as architects, this affects the way we think and build our cities. We need to fit more people, housing, workplaces, infrastructure, parks, and other functions into the same space that exists today, and at the same time increase the quality of each of these elements. In particular, public meeting places are vital for making our cities more resilient to the consequences of climate change, global migration, and cultural integration. In this sense, urbanization and compact living may also hold the answer to some of the global challenges. What is the role of aesthetics in your sustainability efforts? For A-lab it is mostly about designing for versatility and the social aspect of a building. A common feature for all our office buildings is to provide enough flexibility so the buildings can adapt to the changing needs of the future. Key aspects still need to be in place: light and good working conditions for all, generous common areas, informal places to meet, proper materiality and connection to the public realm, interesting architectural solutions, etc. The role of aesthetics in regard to achieving longevity lies in the experience of the building. Every project needs to have a unique feature. 30
Does the welfare ideology of the Nordic countries inform your work directly? Incorporation of democratic values is clearly present in all our work. Bestowing all users with equal opportunities to experience the best qualities of a building, with regard to light, view, noise, and formal and informal meeting places. An example of ours is the military barracks in SørVaranger close to the Russian border, which is designed around a central courtyard to provide a social “heart” and display all the practical activities that occur throughout the day. Alternately, have global phenomena, such as climate change, forced you to reconsider your mission as an architect? The population growth has made us rethink the qualities of urban living. For example, an urban plaza (in the Nordic climate) should not be too big, but more importantly, should feel somewhat intimate and safe. This is a central issue in the master plan for Kabelgaten, where no meeting spaces exist today. Are you ever hampered by pre-existing restrictions when finding new solutions to these challenges? That was the case a few years ago, but not anymore. Today it is all about that level of knowledge you, the client, and the municipal facilitators have. For us it was a “door-opener” when Snøhetta made Powerhouse and showed that making a plus-house is possible if you have sufficient determination. We now see that this is a realistic goal. At A-lab we try to challenge our clients to take [the level of sustainability] one step further by actively using BIM [Building Information Modeling] in the design process. That is what made the cantilevered meeting room boxes in the DEG 42 project possible.
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Previous page and this spread: Dronning Eufemias Gate 42, Oslo S Utvikling, OSU, Oslo The Wedge is built on a narrow wedgeshaped “left-over” plot and is the easternmost building in the Barcode project. With maximum efficiency and a minimal footprint the project exemplifies the economical sustainability aspect and the ongoing densification process in Oslo. This 11-storey office building has meeting rooms cantilevered over the eastern pavement, a space-saving feature that increases the office space and adds a lively architectural quality. An exterior fire escape zigzags between these boxes, further enhancing the building’s iconic and sculptural expression. Open office spaces without structural columns offer flexibility for the users, providing a light-filled and airy working environment. Categorized as Energy Class B, the building features floor-to-ceiling windows to ensure plenty of daylight and spectacular views of the Ekebergåsen hill to the east, the Oslo harbour to the south, and Bjørvika bay to the west. The rough red-brick façade is a striking contrast to the other Barcode buildings, adding an interesting visual element to the neighbourhood. Location: Oslo, Norway Building area: 5,000 m2 Type of construction: Brick, steel, and wood Status: Completed 2016
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This page: Kabelgaten 1–39, Oxer Eiendom, Oslo Kabelgaten 1–39 is characterized by a continuous, 450-metre row of brick industrial buildings from various periods. This transformation project touches all three aspects of sustainability: ecological, economical and social. Being centrally situated, Kabelgaten has the potential to become the new heart
of Hovinbyen, which is the largest area in Oslo designated for urbanization and urban renewal. The proposal is to transform an inaccessible industrial area into an open and multifaceted neighbourhood through the creation of new plazas, passages, courtyards, and pavilions. The core focus has been to preserve the area’s heritage while creating a thriving urban residential area. This entails
sensitivity to the interplay between historic and modern architecture, as well as variations in building height and scale, architectural expression, and, not least, the transitions from private to public spaces and commons. Location: Haraldrud, Oslo, Norway Building area: 150,000 m2 Status: Zoning and planning
This page: Army garrisons in Sør-Varanger, The Norwegian Defence Estates Agency, NDEA, Svanvik and Storskog No guards and no fences: the two military garrisons reflect the basic social democratic values of openness and transparency by being completely open towards its surroundings. The central courtyard serves as a multifunctional utility and is thus an integral part of the social sustainability aspect of the project. The primary design challenge was to satisfy users with many different needs, ranging from military personnel, who are stationed long-term or short-term, to civilian employees and visitors. Key functions are organized around an inner courtyard, a common area that forms the heart of the building – where soldiers have breakfast, engage in ball games, and repair equipment and vehicles. The multifunctional outdoor space is open towards the surrounding landscape in two directions. A large roof defines the courtyard and unifies the facility. The upper floor, which is designed to satisfy more private needs, contains living quarters, a gym, balconies, and a relaxation zone. The exterior has anonymous dark wooden panelling, while large sliding glass doors erase the distinction between the courtyard and the rooms and corridor facing it. Location: Svanvik and Storskog, Sør-Varanger, Norway Building area: 2,500 m2 Type of construction: Wood, glass, and aluminium Status: Completed 2013 and 2014
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The Helsinki-based firm ALA was founded in 2005 by four partners: Juho Grönholm, Antti Nousjoki, Janne Teräsvirta, and Samuli Woolston. Their collaboration began in 2004 with their participation in architectural competitions. The first prize in the open international competition for the new theatre and concert hall, later named Kilden Performing Arts Centre, in Kristiansand, Norway, in 2005 earned ALA their first commission. ALA is known for using contemporary design tools such as Building Information Modeling, 3D printing, and parametric design software combined with more traditional model building and materials research.
Are Nordic architects somehow better equipped to address this, based on a tightly regulated building industry and green standards? No. Nordic buildings and cities consume more resources per square metre than any other buildings in the world. We are the worst perpetrators of material and energy waste in construction. Therefore, we would have a lot to learn, but do we have the willingness to learn? Architects are becoming more powerful and enabled and could certainly influence the complex decision-making processes in large construction projects much more. Whether that is going to happen is up to us, really.
What is your basic approach to sustainability? It is pretty simple. Buildings that are easy to love are more difficult to tear down. You should always strive for a perfect balance of variety and flexibility. It seems that there is a strong sense of sustainability at the core of the Nordic democratic ideals. In that sense we are standing on the shoulders of giants.
You seem to be optimistic on behalf of the profession? Developments in intelligent resource sharing are the most promising: The old utopia of rebuilding a more responsible and sustainable physical system is being replaced by an intelligent, sustainable way of utilizing the old, imperfect system. Sometimes certain regulations, opinions, and demands seem to be somewhat short-sighted, but then again, strict performance criteria drive and promote the development of methods, materials, and solutions.
Which of your projects best represent your design thinking in this field? One of the most important improvements of the city is the metro system, and metro stations are thus a straightforward answer to sustainability issues per se. But then again our Helsinki Central Library project went deeper in its focus on sustainable design. Generally, sustainable strategies must be approached holistically, and the methods must be carefully selected project by project, and from our perspective, no building or project can be a stand-alone role model. So it is fair to say that your design philosophy expresses a fundamental awareness and attempt at addressing the global agenda of climate change, for example? Any reasonable design effort bases beauty on facts, conditions, and context, of which the hard sustainability parameters of energy usage and material life-cycle impact are irrefutable nowadays. It should therefore be evident that the beauty of physical form has to be bound by the parameters of sustainability, in the same way as it is bound by the law of gravity. However, there is no dogma about contemporary design and its beauty, and in these postmodern times the relationship between the object and its performance can unfold in multiple beautiful ways. 42
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Previous page and this spread: Aalto University metro station, Keilaniemi metro station, Länsimetro, Espoo The stations’ design is influenced by their surroundings – the atmosphere continues underground on the platform level. The new stations along this metro line have distinctive identities for commuters to immediately recognize where they are. The main influence for the Aalto University station has been the red-brick Otaniemi campus area where the station is located. The station distinguishes itself through its rich material palette that
emphasizes natural materiality. The lowered ceiling made of Cor-ten steel panels visually connects all the public areas. The faceted ceiling flows through the main entrance, to the platform level, and up to the entrance on Tietotie. The glass-walled office towers of the surrounding campus influenced the Keilaniemi station. The station’s interior walls are made of glass. The platform walls are bounded by a partial lowered ceiling of opaque white glass, creating a sleek and reflective overall look. Metro traffic as a public transportation method is sustainable per se. The new
metro stations improve the accessibility of the Otaniemi and the Keilaniemi campuses. Location: Espoo, Finland Building area: 15,500 m2 (Aalto University station), 14,900 m2 (Keilaniemi station) Type of construction: Underground parts have concrete structures, above-ground parts have steel frames. Status: Completed 2016/2017
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This spread: Helsinki Central Library OODI, City of Helsinki The library currently under construction in the Töölönlahti area in central Helsinki will complement the dynamic of the open space bordered by an eclectic collection of buildings: Eliel Saarinen’s Central Railway Station, J. S. Sirén’s Finnish Parliament House, Alvar Aalto’s Finlandia Hall, SARC Architects’ Sanoma House, Steven Holl’s Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, and LPR Architects’ Helsinki Music Centre, among other buildings.
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The public square in front of the library will continue inside the building both visually and mentally. The library will become a non-commercial public space open to all, offering the users the traditional library atmosphere but also workshop spaces, group working facilities, recording studios, a movie theatre, and a restaurant. These functions will be distributed over three floors, each of which will have its own individual character. The library is being built according to the strictest Finnish national criteria with regard to the selection of building materials,
energy consumption, and indoor air quality. Most of the wood used in the construction is sourced locally. The long opening hours and free entry will benefit all user groups, as will the location in the vicinity of various public transport routes. Location: Helsinki, Finland Building area: 18,000 m2 Type of construction: Steel frame Status: Under construction (1st prize in an international open competition held in 2012–2013; construction began in 2015, to be completed in by the end of 2018)
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Arkís Architects is an Icelandic studio, based in Reykjavík, that is engaged in the development of a local knowledge base on sustainable design through a broad range of approaches to sustainability, such as a local green building council, authoring publications on the subject, and teaching. Founded in 1997, the studio has developed a strong sustainability profile. As one of the largest architecture firms in Iceland, Arkís has created significant works both in Iceland and abroad. Snaefellsstofa Visitor Centre and Holmsheidi Prison were nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award in 2010 and 2016, respectively. Climate change, urbanization, and mass migration are at the top of the global agenda. To what degree do you see them impacting the Nordic countries? All of these phenomena are likely to impact our region significantly in the coming years, but the full impact has not become evident yet. The refugee crisis may be the most noticeable right now, simply because of how suddenly it emerged. Climate change and urbanization appear more gradually. However, the important thing is that we must address all these issues, and what’s more, simultaneously, because of their interconnectedness. Your design practice is strongly influenced by green design thinking. How do you determine the right approach for each project? We try to employ our sustainability strategies as a set of adjustable tools, whose applicability varies depending on the task at hand. Selecting sustainable materials that contribute to wholesome interior environments is a strategy that we always apply. Energy and water consumption is also something that always applies, but the methods vary depending on local conditions and on specific functional aspects. However, the social and economic aspects require more adaptability and case-by-case research. Our ability to influence those aspects may in some cases be limited by external factors, but as architects we are always in a position to make an impact. The impact is most pronounced in our master planning projects. But then again, those are just projects of a different scale than building design, which requires different kinds of tools.
How would you describe the projects selected for this book in relation to this issue? The projects selected for this book represent different approaches to sustainability, but when they are lined up chronologically they also represent a process – an approach that is under development. The Holmsheidi Prison may be most complete of those projects is terms of sustainability, simply because it is the most recent one. Moreover, it is also a project with very serious social and psychological implications, which require really thoughtful design solutions. A truly sustainable building needs to address all of the issues at hand: environmental, social, economic, and, last but not least, architectural. That kind of architecture will be sustainable in the long run. Do you see any indications that the green agenda is becoming established in the profession as a whole? There has been a shift in discourse, and we are seeing a stronger political will to protect our planet, and more involvement from large corporations. That is tremendously important and creates hope for the future. But one might wonder whether humanity is really prepared to handle those phenomena? Generally speaking, we are not. We are reacting too late and too slowly, which also applies to the architectural profession and to our clients and collaborators. We all have the responsibility to expedite our reactions. Humans have an amazing ability to invent and to use science and design to create wonderful solutions, so the skill set is there. We simply need to sharpen our focus on the issues at hand.
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Previous page and this spread: Langisjór Ranger Cabins The ranger cabins at Langisjór are located in the western part of Vatnajökull National Park (VJP) and are one of a few park ranger facilities inside the park. The cabins serve as a workplace and home for the park ranger and also as the central station for all tourist information. Gabions filled with black sandstones from the area form an elliptical shape,
as a nod to the environment. The cabins are situated among the surrounding mountains, which shelter them from the harsh weather. The buildings also take their shape from the landscape formations and are clad with larch on the exterior and birch on the inside. The ranger cabins are powered by energy generated from renewable resources on site via wind turbines and solar panels. The buildings are in effect “off the grid” with a sustainable approach to energy.
Moreover, the palette of building materials is characterized by wood harvested from renewable resources and by rocks, picked up locally around the site. Location: Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland Building area: 13.5 m2 Type of construction: Birch, larch, black sandstones Status: Completed 2015
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This spread: Holmsheidi Prison, The Ministry of the Interior, Reykjavík Holmsheidi Prison embodies various sustainability approaches. First among them is the complex and loaded issue of social sustainability within the penal system. The design creates an environment supportive of betterment. More importantly, it creates good conditions for constructive and safe social interactions within the prison. In addition, the building’s material palette, energy performance and design detailing are the result of rigorous life-cycle cost analysis
and operational economics, daylight studies, and sustainable drainage analysis. The building form is sculpted with three key elements. First, the central guard station, a round form that rises from the building’s centre. Second, internal courtyards distribute daylight into the wards, allowing for outdoor recreation, and in some cases offering the inmates views of the surroundings. The third element is the recurring prison cell extrusions. The extrusions provide each inmate with a view and daylight in the cell, while obstructing the inmates’ view of the windows of other cells or the exercise yard of another ward.
The extrusions reflect both the inmates’ will to return to a free life outside the walls of the prison and the current boundaries holding them inside. Location: Reykjavík, Iceland Building area: Site area: 37,400 m2. Floor space: 3,595 m2 Type of construction: In-situ concrete clad with corten steel and concrete sandwich panels with exposed concrete exterior Status: Completed 2016
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This spread: Ranger cabin, Blágil, West Skaftafellssýsla Ranger cabins in Vatnajökull National Park serve as the ranger’s workplace and home during his or her period of duty. The cabins are designed in three different sizes, each with its own workshop. The simple and robust buildings are designed to endure the harsh and ever-changing weather conditions. One of the objectives was to keep the cabins as neutral as possible, both in material and form, so that they do not interfere with the landscape. This is a clear reference to the Icelandic tradition of architecture and construction. The exterior walls and roof of the cabins are clad with corten steel, Icelandic larch, and crates filled with lava stones from the surroundings. The building's material palette is its most pronounced sustainability feature. The palette of building materials is characterized by wood harvested sustainably and by weathering steel, selected for its unique qualities with regards to durability and low maintenance over the building's life cycle. The landscaping is characterized by rocks, picked up locally around the site. Location: West Skaftafellssýsla, Iceland Building area: 45 m2 Type of construction: Corten steel, larch Status: Completed 2012
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This spread: Hellissandur Visitor Centre, Government Construction Contracting Agency, Snaefellsnes Inspired by the surrounding fauna, community, and landscape, the Hellissandur Visitor Centre is an exercise in merging form and usability to enhance the experience of nature. Through the synergy of the two wings, interior design, and walkways, new moments are created within the building.
The building offers various resources with regards to sustainability, including energy performance and the well-being of its users. The building materials are characterized by sustainably harvested wood and durable, low-maintenance exterior cladding materials. A portion of the building is clad in larch and the “glacier head” is clad with corten steel, which is in harmony with the changing seasons. Although still unbuilt, the visitor centre was one of the very first buildings in Iceland
to enter a Breeam assessment process. As such, it was among the pioneers of sustainable construction in Iceland. Location: Hellissandur, Snaefellsnes, Iceland Building area: 765 m2 Type of construction: Concrete shell clad with wood and steel frame clad with corten steel Status: Design completed, construction not yet started
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BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) fundamentally changed Danish architecture when they appeared on the scene in the early part of the new millennium. BIG has since become an international household name, combining a bold, concept-based approach to architectural invention with an agenda-driven profile. Born out of an egalitarian Nordic welfare state ideology infused with global ideas, BIG has become poster boy for the realization that architecture and planning can once again be progressive and express fundamentally new ideas of how to develop society through architecture and planning. BIG’s projects range from small-scale homes to master plans. How do you frame your work with sustainability? We work with the concept of hedonistic sustainability, which implies that it doesn’t have to hurt, you don’t have to take things away. On the contrary, why not create a better quality of life using our resources more intelligently to create something that people desire, without giving anything up? Moreover, we believe that once you create energy, you actually reuse that energy source multiple times in what we call energy loops. The waste product of one usage cycle could then become the energy source for a new cycle, so that you could create energy that would be used three or four times before it is discharged. We currently work in about 25 different countries, within around 10 different sustainability certifications, such as LEED, BREEAM, DGNB, and Min Energy. These are all different ways, depending on the country and region, of ascertaining building sustainability. When you work in a tropical climate like Singapore, where Green Mark is the preferred certification process, you need a very different approach to sustainability, compared to the climates of Western Europe and the United States. This has given us a sought-after global perspective, one that is tailored and nuanced to the places where we work. The exhibition “Hot to Cold” is a great example of how our work really is tailored to the specific sites and climate conditions of the projects. Achieving a sustainable outcome calls for different categories of architectural thinking, doesn’t it? We are interested in “impermanence,” creating temporal projects; projects that may basically be used as pop-ups in different parts of a city 100
or temporal in terms of programming a site that could be an open space for a period of the year only. We are also looking at amphibious architecture, for example, floating student homes. Our rigorous structure for projects in urban areas and harbours lead to an underutilization of the possibilities. We believe there is room for both permanence and impermanence, considering how we shape our sustainability strategy depending on the given space/site. The Amager Resource Centre that will be completed in 2018, seems to represent a radical take on what it means for a building to be related to the city? If we go back to the idea of hedonistic sustainability, our Amager waste-to-energy plant or the Amager Resource Centre is a great example. Here is an energy plant – something we need in every major city. We have a waste energy plant basically recycling and incinerating waste in order to create energy, and right on top of that energy plant we placed a ski slope. This means that an energy plant is not a grey area on the map, which no one can use; instead it is a recreational area that people actually flock to. And they see the benefit of having an energy plant in their backyard. Turning NIMBY into YIMBY. Our approach is that we have a building that is important in the city’s energy loop, but is also a byproduct or an alternative interpretation as a very important recreational facility. It not only attracts local residents, but also tourists and development from other parts of the world. Is the public policy discussion regarding the massive ongoing changes to the cityscape qualified enough, especially with regard to climate change? We are impressed with Copenhagen’s cloudburst policy, which has been developed over the past five to six years. We have all heard of sea level rise and of the need to protect our coasts. Fewer probably know that rain, too, can create a lot of damage. Copenhagen has been leading the international effort to develop a cloudburst policy, looking at how we can retain, store, and passively get rid of large amounts of water stemming from cloudbursts. Again, this is a way of integrating policy into all areas, from transportation investments to development permits to the rooftops of all buildings. Every little bit counts. It is, in fact, a whole city-, region-wide idea.
Previous page and this spread: The BIG U, New York City Rebuild by Design, an initiative of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and HUD, is aimed at addressing structural and environmental vulnerabilities that Hurricane Sandy exposed in communities throughout the region and developing fundable solutions to protect residents from future climate events. The BIG U is a protective system around Manhattan from
West 57th Street to East 42nd Street: 10 continuous miles of low-lying geography that comprises an incredibly dense, vibrant, and vulnerable urban area. â€ƒ The BIG U consists of multiple but linked design opportunities; each on a different scale with regard to time, size, and investment; each local neighbourhood tailoring its own set of programmes, functions, and opportunities. Small, relatively simple projects maintain the resiliency investment momentum post-
Sandy, while setting in motion the longerterm solutions that will be necessary in the future. Location: Lower Manhattan, New York, USA Building area: 12,00 m2 Status: Ongoing
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This spread: LEGO House, Billund BIG anbd LEGO bring the toy scale of the classic LEGO brick to architectural scale with LEGO House, forming vast exhibition spaces and public squares that embody the culture and values at the heart of all LEGO experiences. Due to its central location in the centre of Billund, the 23-metre-tall LEGO House is conceived as an urban space as much as an experience centre. 21 overlapping blocks are placed like individual buildings, framing a 2,000-m2 LEGO square that is illuminated through the cracks and gaps between the volumes. The plaza resembles an urban cave without any visible columns and is publicly accessible,
allowing visitors and the citizens of Billund to take a shortcut through the building. The LEGO square, with its urban character, welcomes locals and visitors to the café, restaurant, LEGO store, and conference facilities. Above the square, a cluster of galleries overlap to create a continuous sequence of exhibitions. Each gallery is colour-coded in LEGO’s primary colours, so wayfinding through the exhibitions becomes a journey through the colour spectrum. The first and second floors include four play zones organized by colour and programmed with activities that represent specific aspects of a child’s learning. The top of the building is crowned by the Masterpiece Gallery, a collection of
LEGO fans’ creations that pay tribute to the LEGO community. Atop the Masterpiece Gallery, citizens and visitors can get a 360° panoramic view of the city. Some of the rooftops can be accessed via pixelated public staircases that double as informal auditoria for people-watching or seating for performances in central Billund. Location: Billund, Denmark Building area: 12,000 m2 Status: Completed 2017
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This spread: Tirpitz, Vardemuseerne, Blåvand The new TIRPITZ structure is a sanctuary in the sand that acts as a gentle counterbalance to the dramatic war history of the site in Blåvand on the Danish west coast. The 2,800-m2 “invisible museum” transforms and expands a historic German WWII bunker into a groundbreaking cultural complex, comprising four exhibitions within a single structure, seamlessly embedded into the landscape. Upon arrival, visitors will first see the bunker; then, as they approach through the pathways across the heath, they will see the walls that cut into the dunes from all sides and descend to meet in a central clearing. The courtyard allows access into the four underground gallery spaces that have an abundance of daylight even though they are literally carved into the sand. The exhibitions, designed by the Dutch agency Tinker Imagineers, showcase permanent and temporary themed exhibitions about a gruesome war machine. Juxtaposed with the heavy, hermetic object of the WWII bunker, the new TIRPITZ strikes a sharp contrast to the concrete monolith by blending in with the landscape and inviting lightness and openness into the new museum. Location: Blåvand, Denmark Building area: 2,800 m2 Status: Completed 2017
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This spread: ARC â€“ Amager Resource Centre, Copenhagen The waste-to-energy plant Amager Resource Centre is located in an industrial area that, over the years, has turned into an extreme sports destination for thrill seekers. Various extreme sports activities take place in the raw, industrial facilities such as cable wake boarding, go-kart racing, and rock climbing, among others. The Amager Resource Centre is the most significant landmark in the area, and the building was in need of renewal. Big has created a new breed of wasteto-energy plant, one that is economically, environmentally, and socially profitable. Instead of considering Amager Resource Centre as an isolated object, the solution
mobilizes the architecture and intensifies the relationship between the building and the city, expanding the existing activities in the area by turning the roof of the building into a ski slope for the citizens of Copenhagen. â€ƒ The new plant establishes Amager Resource Centre as an innovator on an urban scale, redefining the relationship between the waste plant and the city. It will be both iconic and integrated, a destination in itself, and a reflection on the progressive vision of the company. Location: Copenhagen, Denmark Building area: 41,000 m2Â Status: To be completed in 2018
This spread: VIA 57 West, New York City BIG’s inaugural project in New York City is a hybrid between the European perimeter block and a traditional Manhattan highrise. It has a unique shape that combines the advantages of both: the compactness and efficiency of a courtyard building, and its sense of intimacy and security, with the airiness and expansive views of a skyscraper. The form of the building shifts depending on the viewer’s vantage point. While having the appearance of a pyramid from the West Side Highway, it turns into a dramatic glass spire when seen from West 58th Street. The courtyard, which is inspired by the classic Copenhagen urban oasis, can be seen from the street and serves to extend the adjacent greenery of the Hudson River Park into the West 57th development. The slope of the building allows for a transition in scale between the low-rise structures to the south and the high-rise residential towers to the north and west of the site. The highly visible sloping roof consists of a simple ruled surface perforated by terraces – each one unique and south-facing. Location: Manhattan, New York, USA Building area: 77,000 m2 Status: Completed 2016
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This spread: Mobility system, Virgin Hyperloop One, Dubai The design of Hyperloop One is based on a study of how urban and intercity transportation should integrate with existing infrastructure. Hyperloop is autonomous, point-to-point, and vastly simplifies the experience of getting to the desired destination. The main objective of the design is to reduce waiting for passengers. That is why the stations are called portals. All departure gates are immediately visible when entering a portal, and a simple numbering system allows passengers to quickly identify them. Passengers will travel in pods with room for six people. They are contained within a transporter, and a
pressure vessel attached to a chassis for levitation and propulsion can accelerate the transporter to 1,100 km/h. The relatively small unit size of the pods, along with high arrival and departure rates, allows for on-demand travel. The pods operate autonomously from the transporter, so are not limited to the portal area and can move on regular roads and pick up passengers at any point. At portals, pods are loaded onto the transporter and hyperjump to another portal, where they merge onto the street and drop passengers off at their destination. Location: UAE Status: 2016 – in progress
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BE LATCH E W AR K I T E KT E R
Belatchew Arkitekter is expanding the notion of what it means to practice architecture. Founded in 2006, the office has, in its first decade, grown to include the architectural studio Belatchew Labs as well as the real estate company Belatchew Fastigheter to expand on their sustainable approach. Belatchew Labs is a studio within Belatchew Arkitekter that works with experimental projects and aims first and foremost to investigate and test new approaches and solutions to urban and architectural issues. By redesigning the organizational set-up Belatchew is able to produce a more diverse approach to architectural design and sustainability. Urbanization has had a notable impact on the Nordic countries. How is that reflected in your work? The severe housing shortage in Sweden, and particularly in Stockholm and other big cities, has been aggravated by the large refugee flow. Generally, there is a continuous urbanization concentrated in a few regions. The challenge is to create attractive areas that not only resolve the urgent housing shortage, but also provide attractive housing opportunities for the future. Through our SwimCity proposal, we create floating housing for students and young adults; homes that are unique and adapt to the landscape thanks to 3D printing and recycled concrete. Placing the buildings on the water produces almost endless possibilities for creating continuous variable structures, depending on the current demand. In addition to being an unused building site, water is also a potential energy source that can be used to generate energy in various ways, such as wave power and water–water heat pumps. What kind of sustainability strategies are needed to address these issues? In addition to questions concerning the climate and co2 emissions, we see flexibility as an important parameter in handling future changes in lifestyle. Social aspects that make sites secure and create opportunities for people to meet are also important. One strategy is to incorporate insights that we have acquired while working with innovative projects such as Strawscraper and BuzzBuilding and implement them in realized projects, such as Bäckvägen, for example innovative energy solutions.
BuzzBuilding seems to stand out because it addresses the challenge of future food production – an issue that is rarely tackled in architecture. How did it emerge? BuzzBuilding pinpoints the challenges that will come along with the growing compact city. Questions we asked ourselves were how the green and compact city can take form. The projects we have chosen are part of our experimental projects in Belatchew Labs, where our aim is to integrate sustainable aspects as a fundamental basis of our architecture. Whether we are working with innovative projects within Belatchew Labs or real-life projects our aim is to find solutions through new technology and research. Examples of this are piezoelectricity in Strawscraper and the high-tech façade and insulation material in the BuzzBuilding. What is the role of aesthetics in achieving sustainability in your work? Aesthetics has always been and still is an important part of architecture. There is no contradiction between sustainability and aesthetics; the standards for aesthetics should always be high, regardless of the performance of the building. One aspect of this issue that we find particularly interesting is whether, and in what way, new solutions can emerge from sustainable technologies and affect the aesthetics of a building. This is something we investigated when working with Strawscraper, where the straws on the façade consist of a composite material with piezoelectric properties that can turn motion into electrical energy. The technique has advantages compared to traditional wind turbines because it is quiet and does not disturb wildlife. It can be operated at low wind velocity, since even a light breeze is sufficient for the straws to start swaying and generate energy. What are some unique advantages working in the Nordic region when developing new strategies? Quickly adapting to energysaving measures is, of course, easier when operating in a cold climate. But the same argument applies to cooling buildings in hot climates. Nordic countries are quite small and well organized, which makes is fairly easy to implement new standards.
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Previous page and this spread: BuzzBuilding, Stockholm With the worldâ€™s population continuing to climb towards nine billion, one of the key concerns is how sustainable food production that produces enough for everyone can be developed without placing additional stress on the environment.
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By 2018, the city of Stockholm is projected to have 940,700 inhabitants. In order to produce protein from insects corresponding to the inhabitantsâ€™ meat consumption, about 500,000 m2 farmable surface is needed, according to the Swedish Board of Agriculture. Placing insect farms in nine roundabouts throughout Stockholm makes it possible
to attain the goal of making Stockholm self-sufficient in protein. Location: Stockholm, Sweden Building area: Gross floor area 1,150 m2 Type of construction: The main structure is a steel exoskeleton Status: Designed 2014
This page: Strawscraper, Stockholm Söder Torn, a high-rise building in Stockholm’s Södermalm area, was originally designed to be 40 floors, but was completed with only 24 in 1997. The proposal aims to restore its original proportions and simultaneously explore new techniques that could create the urban wind farm of the future. With the use of piezoelectric technology, a large number of thin straws can produce electricity merely
through small movements generated by the wind. The result is a new kind of wind power plant that opens new possibilities for how buildings can produce energy. With the help of this technique, surfaces on both old and new buildings can be transformed into energy-producing entities. Location: Södermalm, Stockholm Type of construction: Steel frame Status: Designed 2013
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This page: SwimCity SwimCity is a project that aims to increase the supply of housing for young people by introducing sustainable living on water. Waste from the building industry accounts for a large part of the total carbon footprint, and by recycling concrete SwimCity contributes to reducing the burden on the environment. 3D printing of buildings is a new technology that makes it easier, cheaper, and more efficient to build. By reusing construction waste and creating new
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concrete that is 3D printable, the building process becomes ecologically and economically sustainable. Furthermore, water is a potential energy source that can be used to generate power in a variety of ways, including wave power and water–water heat pumps. Location: On water somewhere in the city Building area: The size of SwimCity can be adapted to demand Type of construction: 3D printed concrete. Status: Designed 2015
C. F. MØLLE R AR C HI T EC T S
Founded in 1924, C.F. Møller Architects has not only been influenced by the Scandinavian modern movement, but has been directly involved in shaping it with 90 years of awardwinning work in Scandinavia and worldwide. Bringing together architectural talent from several countries, C.F. Møller has received much acclaim for international projects of reference, such as the unique University Campus in Aarhus (1931 to the present), the National Gallery in Copenhagen, and the Darwin Centre at the Natural History Museum in London. Today, the partner group and creative leadership work as a collective, with a common architectural goal and a non-hierarchical structure. Of many global phenomena – climate change, urbanization, mass migration associated with refugee crises, among others – which do you believe is having the most notable impact on the Nordic countries, and why? In a single word, globalization. The Nordic societies with their social welfare systems are originally something of a closed loop, and today their greatest challenge is displacement, whether we are talking economy, people, or workplaces. This cannot help but impact every level of our societies. When it comes to architecture and construction this means that economic efficiency and rationality are always a pressing issue. What other sustainability strategies does your work take into consideration? We really believe in taking a balanced and holistic approach, so we try to consider the “full circle” to make sure that the projects themselves are resilient rather than relying on a few key points. Energy efficiency has been a main focus for the past decade, and is now so regulated in the Nordic countries that we effectively design for zero-energy as a standard. But none of this makes any sense without equal consideration for social and economic sustainability, which are really the basis for any truly sustainable project – the improvement of quality of life is what we should focus on when deciding to spend our resources on building. How are your answers to the previous two questions informed by the Nordic countries’ history of social welfare? In 90 years of continuous work developing and upgrading the Nordic welfare 120
societies, our basic approach to the design of buildings and environments has been to see architecture as an agent of social innovation and individual empowerment. To see architecture as a social tool in essence means changing the game, rewriting the rules which make up the frame. Is there a building, landscape, or urban plan, not necessarily designed by your studio, that you view as a role model for sustainability strategies? A radical example is the campus of the University of Aarhus – an ensemble of buildings, in which each individual piece forfeits its claim to uniqueness for the sake of the greater picture. Yet, after 85 years of work using the same simple guidelines and principles, the result is far from dull and repetitive. Instead, it celebrates the use of subtle variations and details and, above all, the spaces and landscapes between the buildings which make up the real triumph of the campus and deliberately supersede the elsewhere typical monumentality of architecture with a monumentality of space and generosity. Coming from a Nordic tradition that is anything but extravagant, we have always been driven to create architecture from, or rather through, restrained means. Are Nordic architects uniquely equipped to handle sustainability strategies, versus those who practice in other parts of the world? No, of course not – meaningful sustainability strategies must come from an understanding of context and local climate. But Nordic architects may have some advantages, because our climate and weather have always forced us to consider energy especially, and for the past forty years now, energy-saving methodologies and building components have been developed here. And of course, our aforementioned Nordic tradition for simplicity and austerity ties in very well with the current worldwide agenda of “reduce, reuse & recycle.”
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D EN M A R K
Previous page and this spread: Mærsk Building Science Tower, extension of the Panum Complex, Danish Building and Property Agency, the University of Copenhagen and the A.P. Møller Foundation, Copenhagen The extension of the Panum complex at the University of Copenhagen has been designed with the aim of creating the best possible environment for modern research and teaching. The design is intended to open the complex to its surroundings and generate a positive urban development in the area. In between the buildings, new green park spaces and plazas function as an extension of study rooms and offices, and add new green oases to the city. A public campus thoroughfare creates a vibrant urban park with intimate links to the surrounding city. The most striking part is the extensive indoor science plaza, which will form the new social hub of the complex, linking all functions of the new and the existing Panum complex. Location: Copenhagen, Denmark Building area: 42,700 m2 Type of construction: In-situ concrete frame, prefabricated façade system Status: Completed 2016
C . F. M Ø L L E R A RC H IT E CT S
This spread: Technical Faculty SDU, Danish Building and Property Agency and the University of Southern Denmark, Odense The building is designed as one big envelope consisting of five buildings connected by bridges at multiple levels, which cross the heart of the complex, a “piece of furniture” in the form of a large set of stairs containing common functions, meeting-rooms, and café/lounge areas. The many connections allow for more fluid boundaries, and more community and knowledge sharing. The low-energy building is shrouded in an external screen or veil revealing and shading the transparent volume. The unique façade screen celebrates the possibilities in new concrete technologies, echoing the innovative engineering and research conducted within the faculty. Location: Odense, Denmark Building area: 20,000 m2 Type of construction: Prefabricated concrete, compact, reinforced, composite concrete façades Status: Completed 2015
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C . F. M Ã˜ L L E R A RC H IT E CT S
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This spread: Bestseller Office Complex, Bestseller, Aarhus The office complex for the fashion company Bestseller resembles a varied flotilla of buildings at different levels, which are connected by a series of outdoor spaces, such as atriums, courtyards, terraces, and roof gardens. The low-energy complex, surrounded by canals and lakes on all four sides, forms the entrance to the new urban district on the waterfront in Aarhus, Denmark. The focal point of the complex is an internal “street” with a central indoor plaza for large gatherings or fashion shows, which provides access to a communal auditorium, meeting facilities, and experimental retail environments. Natural stone is featured indoors in combination with dark oak, in-situ concrete, and light metal surfaces to create a refined interplay of colours and textures. Location: Pier 2, Port of Aarhus, Denmark Building area: 43,000 m2, 22,000 m2 office/ showroom and 24,000 m2 delivery, parking, and plant Type of construction: Prefabricated and insitu concrete Status: Completed 2015
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This spread: HSB 2023, HSB Stockholm, 2023 The building, which is designed around a timber structure with stabilizing concrete cores, will serve as a new characteristic landmark and meeting place in the city. A continuous, surrounding double shell in the form of a winter garden zone surrounds the building and adds extra living space to the homes. The winter gardens’ exterior
glazing shelters the exposed timber structure and acts as an energy-efficient thermal climate buffer zone. Social and environmental sustainability are considered in the construction process and choice of materials, but also in relation to the residents’ lifestyle. The proposal includes a bicycle and car pool operated by the housing association and flats with kitchen interiors specially designed to make recycling easy.
Location: Stockholm, Sweden Building area: 11,450 m² Type of construction: CLT & massive timber, concrete Status: Under development since 2016
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C . F. M Ã˜ L L E R A RC H IT E CT S
The Danish office COBE, founded by Dan Stubbergaard, has, in a very short time, taken on a leading role in Danish architecture. Being part of the new wave in Danish architecture, COBE combines a conceptual design approach with a strong commitment to the core values of the Nordic welfare state. The socially responsible agenda is expressed in a wide range of projects, including large-scale master plans, housing, and public institutions in Denmark and abroad. A clear devotion to the welfarism of the Danish design tradition. There are many ways for buildings and places to achieve longevity. How does it inform your design practice? COBE’s approach to sustainability is about creating long-lasting urban design, architecture, and planning which is robust and able to handle changes over time. Our projects need to be flexible and able to adapt to the future because tearing down and rebuilding is a huge strain on our resources. In our office we think of transformation as a sustainable resource. To find the hidden treasures and resources inherent in the city that surrounds us and rethink them in a modern context is like an architectural treasure hunt. By revitalizing our heritage – by adding new to old, by converting, by retrofitting – we discover new potentials and highlight historical traces. Your recent exhibition Our Urban Living Room more than emphasized the social aspect? Looking at COBE’s work over the past eleven years, our work with social sustainability and the ambition to create socially integrated places has always been present – maybe not as a strategy, but more as a necessary starting point. We always ask ourselves how a building, a public space, or even a new city quarter can create or improve the social conditions for people. How do you create social interaction? How do you create new ideas on how to create common spaces? If you need to create a really good building, it needs to be multifaceted, which of course means energy-efficient, but it also means a durable building, a resilient building, a flexible building, a robust building. A building that is engaging, and which contributes to the local community, whether it is a housing project or a public building, an office building, or a public space. COBE is born out of a humanistic tradition: a humanistic way 130
of teaching, learning, and realizing architecture. When you affect a new place with a new project, it has to give something back to the city and the specific site rather than take something away. Could you mention some projects where this is directly expressed? The library located in Copenhagen’s multicultural “Nordvest” (Northwest) district. Nordvest is a neighbourhood facing a number of social challenges related to unemployment, crime, multicultural integration, etc. Our idea with the building was to create an open and inviting building that would end up being much more than a library – a new social hub designed as a diverse and unifying space, a place where visitors can read, play with their children, meet new friends, or simply relax. Now we actually call the building an urban living room more than a library. Our recently completed silo conversion in Copenhagen’s Nordhavn (North Harbour) area aims to transform a former grain silo from the inside out in such a way that its new inhabitants and the surrounding urban life would emphasize the structure’s identity and heritage. As architects we have an obligation to investigate all the existing resources in our city and, in a way, see all built structures as treasure rather than trash. We should always consider avoiding tearing down in favour of transforming structures for new purposes and new use. How do you see that reflected in you large-scale work? We have been working with the development of Nordhavn in Copenhagen for the past nine years. For us, it represents a holistic, sustainable urban design strategy from the larger, strategic master plan scale to each specific individual landscape or urban space within the development of a new city district. The transformation of Nordhavn, the largest metropolitan development in northern Europe, continues Copenhagen’s historical strategy of a step-bystep expansion into the surrounding sea. It has given us so much knowledge and insights into the urban design of the plan, where we aim to secure climate green spaces. In general, I think the most sustainable strategy is to look at a project holistically, from the master plan to the detailed level – as with the development of Nordhavn.
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Previous page and this spread: Frederiksvej Kindergarten, Frederiksberg Municipality, Frederiksberg The starting point for Frederiksvej Kindergarten was to create a building on eye level with a child. Therefore, the design is based on the concept of a child's simplistic drawing of a playhouse. Aiming to create a safe everyday life for the children, the project consists of 11 small houses with different orientations and appearances. This gives the children a sense of belonging to a specific house within the cluster of houses. This is achieved by downscaling the environment and placing several smaller and compact houses within the houses. The children are encouraged to let their imagination run wild in these accessible spaces, which are all closely connected to a green area. This approach to the spatial organization and architectural design results in a socially sustainable day care centre that provides a safe space for 182 children.
Location: Frederiksberg, Denmark Building area: 1,700 m2Â Type of construction: Steel structure and faĂ§ade Collaborations: Preben Skaarup Landskab, SĂ¸ren Jensen, Learning Spaces, Brdr. Thybo, Caverion, Juul & Nielsen Status: Completed 2015
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This spread: Krøyers Plads, NCC Bolig, Copenhagen Krøyers Plads is a five-story housing project with a significant location in the centre of the Copenhagen harbour area. The project is based on a hyper-democratic and contextual approach where folded roofs and architectural heaviness create a dialogue between old and new, and a modern, sensitive interpretation of the architectural uniqueness of the 300-yearold Copenhagen warehouses along the harbour. This expression is carried on in the highly innovative and original façade system, which takes its inspiration from the red and yellow brick materiality of the surrounding historical warehouses. Besides the emphasis on context and
public involvement, another key focus has been to implement a series of sustainability principles, to meet the needs for resource efficiency and live up environmental, social, and economic demands. In consequence, Krøyers Plads is the first residential block in Denmark to receive the Nordic Eco-Label, and its energy efficiency exceeds applicable legal requirements by nearly 40%. Location: Copenhagen, Denmark Building area: 20,000 m2 Type of construction: Concrete structure, and brick façade Collaborators: Vilhelm Lauritzen Architects, GHB Landscape Architects, COWI, NCC Construction Status: Completed 2016
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This spread: Nørreport Station, City of Copenhagen, Banedanmark and Danish State Railways (DSB), Copenhagen Nørreport Station is the busiest station in Denmark with roughly 250,000 people bustling through it daily. The old Nørreport area was a traffic junction, where pedestrians and bicyclists were of secondary concern. With the new Nørreport Station, these groups have reclaimed priority in a sustainable approach to public infrastructure. After studying how people naturally move across the plaza, the designers placed the station elements in between the main flow lines. Transparency and clarity were achieved by transforming the ventilation towers into free-standing light sculptures and by lowering the bicycle parking into the surface. This shapes the entire station area into a fluid, organic urban space composed of a series of rounded, floating roofs, mounted on distinctive glass pavilions. The new Nørreport Station is a generous space, which has been given back to the city and its citizens. It transforms a busy, crowded area into an open public space, making room for social interaction as well as much-needed breaks and efficient transfers. Location: Copenhagen, Denmark Building area: 10,500 m² urban space and 2,500 parking lots for bikes Type of construction: Concrete roof structures and glass pavilions Collaborators: Gottlieb Paludan Architects, Sweco, Bartenbach LichtLabor, Aarsleff Rail Status: Completed 2015
This spread: The Silo, Klaus Kastbjerg and NRE Denmark, Copenhagen The 17-storey former grain silo is the largest industrial building in the redeveloped neighbourhood Nordhavnen (North Harbour) in Copenhagen. It has been transformed from a former grain container into “The Silo,” containing private housing and public functions. The lower floor is an exhibition and event space, while the top floor is a public restaurant. This mix of functions ensures that The Silo will be active at all times, taking on a social responsibility by
providing the local area with public spaces. The spatial variation within the original silo is immense due to the various functions of storing and handling grain, creating 38 unique apartments with floor heights of up to 7 metres. The transformation is achieved by deliberately leaving traces, making The Silo reminiscent of its own past whilst being brought up to current sustainable standards. The interior has been preserved as raw and untouched as possible, while an angular, faceted façade made of galvanized steel has been installed on the outside to serve as a climate shield. This has allowed
the building’s characteristic tall, slender shape to be maintained. The Silo is a beacon in the field of transformation and an urban focal point for the new development in Nordhavn. Location: Nordhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark Building area: 10,000 m2 Type of construction: Concrete structure and façade of galvanized steel Collaborators: Balslev, Wessberg, NRE Denmark Status: Completed 2017
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New skin â€“ facade update
O OPEA A
OOPEAA (Office for Peripheral Architecture) is a Finnish architecture studio founded in 2011 by Anssi Lassila. The award-winning office’s work spans a wide variety of projects: churches, office buildings, housing, private residences, interior design, and renovations. OOPEAA’s international breakthrough came with the winning entry for the Kärsämäki Shingle Church in 2004. The office combines traditional materials and innovative techniques, and has been praised for their work with wood in architecture. OOPEAA has received significant recognition, including the Finlandia Prize for Architecture in 2015, the Wood Architecture Award in 2015, and was shortlisted for the Mies van der Rohe Award in 2005, 2011, and 2017. How will mass migration and the current refugee crises impact architecture and planning? According to the projections for the growth of population in the larger cities in the Nordic countries over the next few decades, significant expansion and densification of the main metropolitan areas are to be expected. That will impact the Nordic countries, resulting in a much greater cultural and ethnic heterogeneity than we are used to in our cities. Architecture and planning will have a central role to play in responding to the changes in a way that helps us continue to build liveable cities that offer a high quality of life. That raises the question of – among other things – the importance of equality as part of sustainability strategies. The principle of equality is an important core belief that has informed the Nordic countries’ history of social welfare. This notion of equality for the individual as a member of the community translates into the relevance of providing shared spaces for people to come together in as a community. For me, this is an important aspect of social sustainability and the task of providing multifunctional spaces that are welcoming and accessible to all. The Suvela Chapel offers a shared space for the culturally diverse population to come together in. It serves a broad range of functions, ranging from the religiously associated functions of a chapel to serving as a meeting space, providing spaces for a daycare centre and for the local youth to gather, and for workshops and hobbies.
Have you also explored new technologies as a way of promoting more sustainable projects? In the Puukuokka Housing Complex, we developed a system of prefabricated, volumetric modules made of CLT as a way of making use of wood as a sustainable material in multi-storey housing blocks in order to offer a solution that is of high quality and provides a good quality of life, while also being economically affordable, energy-efficient, and ecologically sustainable. What is your studio’s overarching philosophy with regard to sustainable practices? Our work is characterized by a strong interest in the way different materials naturally behave, which has manifested itself in various ways over time, for example in developing a modular system of prefabricated, volumetric elements of cross-laminated timber for the Puukuokka Housing Complex. Most recently, our interest in finding ways to optimize the use of materials and create solutions that are architecturally and technically sustainable has led to our involvement in STED, Nordic Built – Sustainable Transformation and Environmental Design, a three-year project with the aim of developing new tools for the use of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) as a way to evaluate the sustainability of architectural design projects from the early design stages.
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Previous page and this spread: Suvela Chapel, Parish of Espoo, Espoo Suvela Chapel is located in one of the most multicultural districts of metropolitan Helsinki. Cultural diversity is both a rich potential and a challenge to the community. Attention to the needs of the culturally diverse community is a core principle in the project. It provides a shared space that is open to all, regardless of religious affiliation or cultural background. With the adjoining community park, it plays a key role in helping to improve the social sustainability of the neighbourhood. â€ƒ The building is a hybrid structure with both wooden and concrete and steel elements. The choice of materials, copper for the exterior cladding and local spruce for the interiors, supports the long-term sustainability of the building.
OO PEA A
A tactile sense of material has a strong presence in both the interiors and the exterior. The exterior shell is entirely clad in copper to emphasize the overall unity of the diverse building volume. Copper was an ecological choice of material for the exterior. It is durable, recyclable, and easy to maintain. It also ages well and acquires a beautiful patina over time, allowing the age of the building to show. â€ƒ Local spruce is the material used in the interiors. Wood is also used for the outdoor canopies that provide shelter from rain, giving children an opportunity to play outside, even in rainy weather. Location: Espoo, Finland Building area: 2,150 m2Â Type of construction: Wood with concrete and steel elements Status: Completed 2016
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This spread: Puukuokka Housing Block, Lakea Oy, Jyväskylä Puukuokka is an eight-storey wooden residential building that combines the sense of privacy of a single-family dwelling with the semi-public character of the shared spaces of a housing complex. The goal was to find a solution to utilize the technical and aesthetic qualities of CLT and to create a large-scale, wooden building with a distinct architectural expression of its own. The wooden façade elements are prefabricated and assembled on-site. Spruce, painted black, has been used in the façades facing the street and untreated larch in the courtyard side. Each apartment is composed of two modules, one housing the living room, balcony and bedroom, the other housing the bathroom, kitchen and foyer. The use of prefabricated modules cut the construction time on-site down to six months and reduced the exposure to weather conditions. Location: Jyväskylä, Finland Building area: 10,000 m2 Type of construction: Modular prefabricated CLT structure Status: First phase completed 2015
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This spread: Periscope Tower, City of Seinäjoki The Periscope Tower is a giant wooden periscope structure that serves as an observation tower and engages the viewer in a dialogue with the landscape. One can either climb up the stairs to enjoy the view over the lake and into the surrounding landscape from the observation deck, or
simply stay on the ground and get the view through the periscope mirror. Made entirely of wood, the building is composed of CLT and an external wooden frame that serves as a load-bearing structure. The tower is composed of three prefabricated elements with the roof forming the fourth element. The façades and the stairs are made of larch. The idea was to create a simple wooden structure of
high quality in a way that supports learning and reflects a commitment to empowering and strengthening the local community. Location: Seinäjoki, Finland Building area: 35 m2 Type of construction: Cross-laminated timber (CLT) Status: Completed 2016
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K2 S ARCHI T E C T S
K2S Architects Ltd. was founded in Helsinki in 2001 by Kimmo Lintula, Niko Sirola, and Mikko Summanen. Currently, they are all professors at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture at the Aalto University. K2S has a vision based on what they call “The Four Roots” :1) quality in space, materials, and structure that touches one’s soul, 2) the relationship between the building and its surroundings, 3) understanding and actively using our built heritage, and 4) creating innovation. As K2S describe it, their working method is “heavily based on hands-on research and experimentation.” In the implementation of the ideas, research is done primarily on real materials and prototypes. In your work, the ambition to tackle climate change seems to take centre stage? Climate change is inarguably the greatest challenge of our times. Urbanization and population growth are both accelerators of the phenomenon. Mass migration is a result of climate change. Obviously, the Nordic countries are not isolated from the impacts. However, we are in a better position to address the problems compared with many other parts of the world due to our geographical, economical, and educational positions. All architects are obliged to consider and present solutions for climate change. We try to achieve sustainability on several different levels. A good building is durable, adapts to its future needs, and is loved by its users. A good building doesn’t waste materials, so the choice of materials and form is always a result of careful consideration. To involve people and users results in psychological ownership and care; this is one form of sustainability. Could you mention projects that actively do that? The buildings presented in this book both have solutions that are a result of considerations aimed at achieving sustainable solutions. In the case of Maunula house, the building is a result of a new type of local democracy pilot. The people were involved even before the first line was drawn. The results of this method is evident on multiple levels, such as increased flexibility, openness, and psychological ownership. In the case of the Fazer Visitor Centre, the building is seen as a flexible platform for the company to present their natural ingredients, products, and values. Nature and renewable energy have a strong presence. 244
You could almost say that they embody your design philosophy? In the beginning of our career, some twenty years ago, we stated that our design philosophy should consist of four roots – the roots that grow from the site, heritage, innovation, and emotion. To us, this philosophy still stands and can be implemented in the use of sustainable strategies. It is evident that today we are more aware of the necessity to reach more sustainable solutions than we were twenty years ago. And technology in relation to your design thinking? How much does it influence your work? Today we are looking towards solutions that wouldn’t be so dependent on technology. We see that our buildings are too vulnerable due to their complex technological solutions and layered structures. For instance, we are now beginning to build a house with a massive brick block façade, which is a contemporary interpretation of a full brick façade. At the same time we welcome advances in renewable energy production, such as solar, wind, and geothermal energy solutions. Are Nordic architects, in your opinion, sufficiently proactive when it comes to these agendas? In general, yes. For example, we have always had to deal for instance with severe climate conditions. There is also a high level of awareness of the issues of sustainability in society as a whole. The level of democracy and equality are as well assets in the development of solutions. In general, I believe, architects are well aware and ready to address the problems. In too many cases short-term economical drivers guide the decision making. Long-term considerations, such as life-cycle assessment, carbon footprint analyses, or social sustainability should carry more weight in the decisionmaking. Recent developments in the field of renewable energy both in technological and political terms, for instance in China and Germany, are encouraging. We are in desperate need of leadership from large economies and volumes. The leadership we can offer in the north, to my mind, has to do with a holistic approach to sustainability, which considers such aspects as social qualities, simplicity, or innovation through heritage.
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Previous page and this spread: Fazer Visitor Centre & Meeting Centre, Oy Karl Fazer AB, Vantaa The bakery, confectionary, and food manufacturer Fazer is one of the bestknown Finnish brands, and the company has a strong heritage. The new visitor centre transforms the Fazer factory area into a destination for visitors. The visitor centre is conceived as a pavilion that becomes the architectural signature of the factory area. The front of the entrance section is transformed by means of landscaping in a solution that gives nature and the raw materials used in Fazer products a strong presence.
This has also an educational role in regard to sustainable production and organic products. A wooden cantilevered ceiling gives the visitor centre a strong identity. A green room housing cocoa plants, sugar cane, and vanilla presents another experience of the raw materials in chocolate making. The exhibitions present both the heritage of chocolate making and future directions. The free plan offers a platform for future experimentation with different concepts and product launches. All public spaces in the visitor centre are located on the ground level, which allows for easy access and flexibility throughout. The new meeting centre serves as an entrance to the existing headquarters and
also links the visitor centre to the existing office spaces. This results in synergy and efficiency in the use of space. All the buildings are energy efficient – passive heat energy is gained through large glass façades, and the energy needed to light the new buildings is provided by solar panels. Overheating is reduced by long eaves, which also form an essential part of the architectural identity. Location: Vantaa, Finland Building area: 5,130 m2 Type of construction: Steel frame Status: Completed 2016
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This spread: Maunula House, City of Helsinki, Helsinki Maunula House is the central cultural and learning hub of a district in Helsinki that is undergoing renewal. The building is a centre for public services to local residents of all ages. The adult education centre, the library, and the youth centre cooperate seamlessly, enabling the co-usage and high utilization rate of the spaces. The building was designed as a part of the City of Helsinki’s Pilot Project for Local Democracy. Multiple workshops were
arranged with local residents before a single line was drawn. This has resulted in a sense of ownership for the people, which promotes social sustainability. The façade materials – natural white brick, wood, and carefully positioned glass – reflect a deliberate consideration for natural and sustainable materials and their intelligent usage. The wooden ceiling continues as a visually uniform folding surface from the library spaces to the exterior. The glass wall facing the park provides the library with light and views. The golden yellow skylight of the
main lobby brings light and a sense of space to the widest point of the building frame. Maunula Park, renovated in 2017, has become an extension for the activities in Maunula House and a stage for community events. Location: Helsinki, Finland Building area: 3,100 m2 Type of construction: In-situ concrete, steel frame Status: Completed 2017
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ST REET M O N K EY A R CHITEC T S
Street Monkey Architects was founded in 2014 by Cage Copher in collaboration with passive-house builder Ingrid Westman of Friendly Building and the steel manufacturers at ELMOT Steel. The Stockholm-based studio explores the process of designing prefabricated, modular passive buildings and is dedicated to creating stimulating, social, and ecologically balanced habitats for humans. The philosophy of SMA is to reverse the conventional thinking about modular construction by designing the project first and the modules second. What are some of the sustainability strategies your practice has used? The sustainability strategies that inform our work are two-fold: first, we minimize the amount of energy required by our buildings through passive-house construction practices. We then supplement that energy demand with solar power. Second, our buildings are manufactured in a factory which streamlines resource efficiency, both human and construction, limiting waste to a minimum. Does the Nordic countries’ history of social welfare influence your work directly? Our sustainability practices are not particularly informed by the Nordic countries’ history of social welfare, but they are informed by the Nordic countries’ historical and romantic relationship with landscape and nature. This relationship not only informs our desire to create low-energy buildings, and thus reduce the environmental damage, but also to create buildings that are strongly empathetic to the landscape. Is there a project that best represents your working method? Pulkabacken (the sled hill) best represents our approach to sustainability because it reveals a balanced approach. We have a philosophy of building with passive-house principles, but we also need to balance those principles with context and design. In this project, because of the proximity of the neighbours and the small size of the plot, it was important for us to create a discreet and private volume on the south edge. Thus, we buried the southern façade in a ramp (the sled hill). This is completely contrary to passive-house principles, but it was the right decision considering the landscape and the architecture, so we did it anyway. That doesn’t mean we abandoned our ideals. We still built the house 422
with heavy insulation, minimal thermal bridges, energy-efficient windows, and air-tight construction. The resulting building is still very energy-efficient, even if it doesn’t expressly qualify as a passive house. Passive houses are not known for their beauty, and neither are modular houses. This project shows that with some informed sacrifices you can reap the benefits of both and still have a good project. Does the sustainable design movement focus too much on environmental building performance to the neglect of other kinds of longevity? Our focus is on building performance with respect to energy consumption. It’s something we can measure. It’s something we do well, and for us it is a core value. It’s easy to criticize us on other terms, but we believe that the pitfall of trying to be everything to everyone is the most effective way to lose any sustainable potency in a project, and we do see this happening in projects around the world. Our hope is that we can all take our sustainable strategies as far as possible and be as effective as possible. We have chosen what is most important to us, and we make sure it flourishes in our projects. How important are aesthetic concerns in the effort to achieve sustainability? Our experience, even in environmentally conscious Sweden, is that people buy for aesthetics first and sustainability second. So if you want to promote sustainability you have to make it pretty.
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Previous page and this spread: The Power of 10, Friendly Building, Örebro These solar-powered row houses are designed for growing families. The site is an L-shaped corner of a larger city block, and it is this L-shape and its solar orientation that determined the form of the project. Four row houses are grouped together with an east-west orientation, and six with a north-south orientation. To articulate each flat individually, they all have an east-
west ridge line placed asymmetrically and mirrored to create two versions of the same roof. Each roof is lined with solar panels facing south. This lends individuality to each flat, while maintaining an overall cohesive appearance. The façade materials follow a similar logic. All façades that face east or west are treated with white plaster, and all façades that face north or south are covered in dark silver steel. Another façade layer of wood latticework has been added on top
of the steel cladding on some of the flats, to further articulate them individually and to add texture, warmth, and dimension to the façade. Location: Örebro, Sweden Building area: Ten row houses, 150 m2 each Type of construction: Prefabricated modules of steel and concrete Status: Completed 2016
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FASAD MOT NORR
FASAD MOT SÖDER
FASAD MOT VÄSTER
FASAD MOT ÖSTER
STR EET MO N K E Y A RC H IT E CT S
This spread: Rosendal, Friendly Building, Uppsala The building is located at the intersection of two parks that, together with several others nearby, form a green backbone in the area. The aim of the project was to create highquality living spaces and a visual extension of the park itself. The building has been wrapped in green wooden slats to allow plants to grow along the façades, and because the area itself is named “The Rose Valley,” a beautifully scented, climbing rose was planted around the building. The intention was to utilize the ecosystem services provided by the park rather than create a boundary to them, thus expanding on the existing landscape and effectively camouflaging the building in nature. The project was designed for certification by the Passive House Institute and therefore has a compact form. But the roof is climatically isolated, so that it could be used to break down the scale of the building without increasing its energy demand. Large integrated solar arrays on the roof make it a plus-energy building. Location: Uppsala, Sweden Building area: Eight row houses, 130 m2 each Type of construction: Prefabricated modules of steel and concrete Status: Schematic design 2017
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This spread: Playhouse, Friendly Building, Värmdö This debut project for the firm is situated on a forested, sloping site on a suburban island just outside Stockholm. The brief for the project presented three main challenges: 1. to accommodate the programme while remaining generous to the natural beauty of the site; 2. to make it energy-efficient; and 3. to build it using prefabricated modules. The solution came in the form of a simple, L-shaped floor plan with a cantilevered second floor. The floor plan creates three distinct outdoor areas for socializing: a morning garden, a rooftop terrace, and a sunset deck for dining. The cantilevered second
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floor extends out to create a place for the master bedroom and maintains a volume that sits lightly in the landscape. Thick, well-insulated walls, an airtight building envelope, and solar power reduce the energy demand of the house significantly compared to conventional Swedish construction. In contrast to the progressive sustainable strategies, the façade materials are rustic and industrial, reminiscent of old farm equipment. Location: Värmdö, Sweden Building area: 180 m2 Type of construction: Prefabricated modules of steel and concrete Status: Completed 2013
This page: Skapaskolan (the school that creates), Turako Skolfastigheter, Huddinge This proposed project will be home to a unique school that specializes in activitybased learning with an emphasis on health and technology. The programme of the school is organized into three rings: the heart, break-out zones, and learning studios. The heart is composed of makerspaces, such as a workshop, a production studio and a lab, which are directly connected to
collaboration spaces such as the library, a café, and an amphitheatre. The ring around the heart is called a “break-out zone.” Break-out zones are areas where a classroom breaks out into the corridor to form study areas for working in small groups. These spaces function as extensions of the learning studios and replace the traditional corridor arrangement seen in a conventional floor plan. The outer ring of the programme is composed of “learning studios” where the rooms are broken up into different
types of seating areas, each designed for a different type of teaching. Location: Huddinge, Sweden Building area: 5,000 m2 Type of construction: Prefabricated modules of steel and concrete Status: Under construction 2017
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This page: Berget (The Mountain), Turako Skolfastigheter, Stockholm The site for this kindergarten is a forested granite hill in a low-density, suburban neighbourhood of Stockholm. The challenge was to fit the programme discreetly onto a small site with difficult topography and somehow create a playground space for the children. The obvious solution was to use the changes in topography and the two adjacent streets to provide access to the
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building at two different levels and then create a playground on the roof. â€ƒ The roof is covered in artificial grass and lined with deep planter boxes to melt the roofline into the forest backdrop. Corten steel and wood cladding are used on the upper level that floats on a glass curtain wall to highlight the playground and to minimize the bulk of the building. â€ƒ The ground floor is protected with glass partitions but is still open to the outdoors and will be used both as an exterior
corridor and as a sleeping veranda where the children will take naps, even during the winter. Location: Stockholm, Sweden Building area: 1,000 m2 Type of construction: Prefabricated modules of steel and concrete Status: Schematic design 2016
The Norwegian architecture studio Snøhetta is a global thought leader in architecture. Their highly conceptual approach has not only produced an impressive amount of world class design, but is a key ingredient in their attempt to tackle the urgency of global phenomena such as climate change and mass urbanization. Founded in 1989, Snøhetta’s rise to fame came through the design of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt after winning an international design competition. Later followed the acclaimed Norwegian National Opera & Ballet, and, in 2013, the commission to design the new SFMOMA expansion. Architecture is obviously challenged by global agendas such as climate change. How should it respond? The seventeen UN Sustainable Development Goals sum up a set of high-priority focus areas that are of crucial global concern today. Strategies need to be redefined on every level – from urbanization, transportation, and land use, to recycling and the reuse of building materials – if we are to adapt to the many challenges that societies are facing around the world. The strong democratic tradition of the Nordic cultures – characterized by certain values such as transparency, proximity, and a feeling of trust between practices, academic institutions, and policy – helps forming an environment where this complexity can be met with constructive discussions in multidisciplinary teams. How is this manifested in your work? Green mobility, urban lifestyle, and the sharing economy are factors that, on a national level, require us to rethink the way we use space. Infrastructure developments – such as bicycle priority, comfortable and secure parking areas, and the introduction of electrical vehicles of all sizes – result in a need for charging stations and smart-grid solutions. All these “movements” have an impact on the design response, and have great relevance to the way we understand and address the value of physical space. But this is not only relevant to urban scale projects? That is correct. In contrast, the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Pavilion at Dovre – a keyless structure open to the public 24/7, heated by a fireplace, and lit up by a single light bulb – is a small-scale example. The wood of the building was carefully chosen to 392
withstand the harsh mountain climate, and the production was fully industrialized thanks to an architectural 3D model and a large-scale robot. The pavilion provides a great view, weather protection, and just enough comfort to enable people to stay for a few hours, a day, or to spend the night in this magnificent landscape on the mountain plateau. It exemplifies how architecture may respond to a site, to the local climate, to local resources, and to culture. It is a true public space and an example of how we can create socially sustainable cities. Has your design methodology been influenced by these challenges that you identify? At Snøhetta, we think of ourselves as contextual conceptualists creating projects that respond and adapt to local contexts – both at home and on an international scale. We develop specific designs for each case, since every project has its own unique preconditions, climate, culture, and history. In each task, at every stage of the planning and design process, the design team works with close attention to the premises of the spaces that they are shaping. This is the starting point for sustainable ambitions in any project – whether the aim is to reduce its carbon footprint or to encourage social diversity. I presume that this involves a very strong technology focus? We try to investigate different qualities; for instance, daylight optimization seen in parallel with solar gain protection as part of a design response, rather than the implementation of active technology (such as a solar shading system). The ZEB Pilot House is an example of this. By optimizing architectural qualities and technological solutions, the house meets both the living and energy requirements of a family home. And another project of ours, Gullhaug Torg, demonstrates how the ambition to achieve natural ventilation in a mixed-use building complex became the driver for rethinking the overall form, shape, dimensioning, and programming of the spaces.
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Previous page and this spread: Powerhouse Brattørkaia, Powerhouse, Brattørkaia The Powerhouse Group is creating the first office building in Norway that produces more energy than it uses. The result is a completely new architectural concept for what will be the world’s northernmost energy-positive building. Buildings account for 40% of the world's energy consumption, and energy-positive construction is an important part of the solution to global warming.
Brattørkaia is located by the sea in downtown Trondheim. This new construction is designed with the ambition that the excess energy produced during the building’s operational lifetime should exceed the energy used to create the building. The focus on energy production is a prominent design driver, resulting in the shape and surface of the façades and roof. The building’s estimated energy needs are only 30 kWh/m²/year, with an estimated energy production of 20 kWh/m²/year. The bound energy is estimated at 19 kWh/m² per year. The building will have a 26-degree
sloped, south-facing roof to best utilize solar energy. Seawater will contribute to cooling and heating of the building as needed. The design of the building has achieved the BREEAM NOR environmental classification “Outstanding.” Location: Brattørkaia, Norway Building area: 13,500 m2 Type of construction: Office building Status: Ongoing
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This spread: Under, Gaute and Stig Ubostad, Båly Under is Europe’s first underwater restaurant, located near the village of Båly at the southernmost point of the Norwegian coast. The restaurant – which will also operate as a research centre for marine life and as a public learning centre about the biodiversity of the sea – is designed to reflect its geographic and aquatic context. The building is encapsulated in a concrete shell with a coarse surface for mussels to cling on to. This will eventually turn it into an artificial mussel reef that will help purify the nearby sea and thus attract more marine life.
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Half-sunken into the sea, the building’s monolithic form breaks the water surface to lie against the craggy shoreline directly on the seabed five metres below the water surface. With metre-thick concrete walls, the structure is built to withstand pressure and shock from the rugged sea conditions. Like a sunken periscope, the restaurant’s massive acrylic windows offer a view of the seabed as it changes with the seasons and the varying weather conditions. Location: Båly, Norway Building area: 600 m2 Type of construction: Rough concrete exterior, oak interior, acrylic windows Status: To be completed in 2019
This spread: Hørsholm, Hørsholm Municipality, Hørsholm Hørsholm is a city of sprawl mostly characterized by single-family houses and row houses. Traditionally, living in Hørsholm has been a privilege of the upper class. The plan for this project is to target a new and less affluent market segment by providing a diverse selection of flat types that facilitates demographic diversity in
the area. Snøhetta wants to provide flats for young professionals, urban individuals, families with children, and older couples who wish to live in a suburb without the classic suburban traits. All plans are flexible and can be customized according to the residents’ needs and family situation. Moreover, climate adaption has been considered in the overall landscape treatment, and in the organization of building stock and
infrastructure. For instance, the need for rainwater management and a publicly attractive park informs the plan and layout of the area. Location: Hørsholm, Denmark Building area: 6 hectares Status: Proposal
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This page: ZEB Pilot House – Pilot Project, Optimera and Brødrene Dahl (Saint-Gobain) Ringdalskogen, Larvik Snøhetta is an active partner within The Research Centre on Zero Emission Buildings. ZEB Pilot House is a demonstration platform that facilitates the learning of building methodologies for plus-houses with integrated sustainable solutions. To achieve ZEB-OM classification, the project is required to document and verify a minimum of 100% CO2 offsetting. Solar panels, collectors, and geothermal energy provide all the energy for the house and generate enough surplus energy to power an electric car running yearround. Daylight, view, and contact with the outdoor spaces are reconciled with
the need for balancing the ratio of sealed walls to windows. Heating and cooling are handled passively, through the placement of glass surfaces, orientation, house geometry, and volume. The materials were generally chosen for their good thermal characteristics, while the interior materials were chosen for their aesthetic qualities and their ability to contribute to good indoor climate and air quality. Location: Larvik, Norway Building area: 220 m² (house), 220 m2 (site) Status: Completed 2014
This page: Gullhaug Torg, Avantor, Oslo Gullhaug Torg is Norway’s first modern, naturally ventilated office and housing complex, with a revolutionary low-energy solution for heating and cooling. The aim of the project is to demonstrate that it is not necessary to buy energy to manage the indoor climate in buildings. Through interdisciplinary design development, in which architecture and engineering complement each other, the project demonstrates that eco-friendly buildings can have a site-specific design that meets both urban and climatic needs and be low-tech. The project is moreover low-maintenance, flexible in use, open, and transparent. In comparison with mechanically ventilated houses, the building will have simpler operations, lower maintenance needs, a longer lifetime, less noise from technical facilities, and better indoor climate, spatial qualities, and design quality. With an ambition of reducing emissions by 50%, it is clad with a wooden façade treated to resist fire, be maintenance-free, and age with grace. The faceted geometry of the building facilitates more efficient crossventilation, and provides more daylight and views from both offices and flats. Location: Oslo, Norway Building area: 11,500 m2 Status: Ongoing
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This spread: Tverrfjellhytta – Norwegian Wild Reindeer Pavilion, Dovre The Norwegian Wild Reindeer Pavilion sits on a spectacular site on the edge of Dovrefjell National Park some 1,250 metres above sea level, overlooking Snøhetta mountain. Dovrefjell is home to wild reindeer herds, musk oxen, arctic foxes, and a variety of endemic botanical species. A long history shaped by travellers, hunting traditions, mining, and military activities has left its mark on the land.
It also holds significant importance for Norwegian identity. National legends, myths, poetry, music, and pilgrimages celebrate the mystic, eternal, and grounded qualities of this robust place. The building design is based on a contrast between a rigid outer shell and a soft organically shaped inner core. A wooden interior is placed within a rectangular frame of raw steel and glass. The core is shaped like rock or ice that has been eroded by natural forces, such as wind and running water.
Considerable emphasis is put on the quality and durability of materials so that the building can withstand the harsh climate. The shelter’s simple form and use of natural building materials reference local building traditions. At the same time, new technologies were utilized to bring modern efficiency to the fabrication process. Location: Hjerkinn, Dovre, Norway Building area: 90 m2 Type of construction: Keyless structure Status: Completed 2011
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T H IRD NAT U R E
Third Nature (Tredje Natur) is a Copenhagen-based office dedicated to the climate crisis agenda. Their projects range from utopian, large-scale research to actual climate resilience projects, primarily in Copenhagen. As an agenda-driven office, Third Nature has managed to combine a technical interest in the growing green movement with a strong focus on design as a guiding principle for architecture and architects trying to confront the escalating climate catastrophe. Your work revolves around the impact of climate change on cities and architecture. How do you see the Nordic countries perform in that context? Understanding the ecological footprint is key. The notion of “liveability” in Denmark and the Nordic countries is currently one of the most successful and counterproductive branding campaigns. From a planet perspective, the notion that Denmark is “liveable” and doing its best is misleading. Around the time when we founded our office Tredje Natur back in 2012–13, the UN’s World Happiness Report put Denmark at the very top, based on benchmarking in six detailed categories. Simultaneously, the grass-root organization Happy Planet Index (HPI) did a similar benchmark study, but also looked at the nations’ ecological footprint. Denmark was then shockingly ranked as number 111, as the country doing worst on the list! So the urban scale is at the centre of your sustainability focus? One of our most explicit design tasks is to create climate change solutions in the existing urban fabric. Rainwater especially is a huge issue in many large cities around the world, Copenhagen included. We focus on sustainable resilience planning on greenfield and post-industrial sites. We are, however, quite aware of the limitation impact of size constraints on our design. We also develop scalable industrial component solutions to target the huge swathes of generic and monofunctional infrastructure. Your project for Enghave Park in Copenhagen is an example of that? The climate adaptation of Enghave Park has many of the key elements signifying Tredje Natur’s approach. Heritage authorities consider the 85-year-old park an architectural masterpiece worthy of strict preservation, and given the one million annual visitors, it also means a lot to many 448
Copenhageners. When Copenhagen’s utility company asked us to make room for 24,000 cubic metres of so-called “monster rain” it was initially a catch-22 situation. Either we could bulldoze the park and fit in the huge amount of water, or we could keep the historical and recreational park and accept flooded basements and infrastructure. Our design solutions are highly geometricized to continue the park’s neo-classical order while also establishing a huge hydraulic functionality, turning the park into something highly performative to target contemporary climatic and social agendas. We designed a “non-invasive” project that could retain the water without killing all the trees, and which also gave rise to a wide range of new social and recreational features. But it is still primarily design-driven? The Prussian King Frederick the Great famously stated in the 18th century: “A crown is merely a hat that lets the rain in.” Our design is only beautiful because of what it does, not what it looks like. We talk about reflective and relational aesthetics at the office. Our design exposes something that is normally hidden or something that the city could normally not provide. This potent mix of desire and reason will hopefully serve a small patch of “world-altering” architecture that stimulates reflective behavior and promotes a desire for more meaningful urban environments. What sort of barriers do you encounter in your efforts? Last year we proposed a six-storey mass timber building to one of our clients. It would be the first of its kind in Denmark. The client loved the idea though and saw the positive impact it would have, but because the timber industry is poorly developed in Denmark and because of raised insurance premiums due to fire regulations, it is still uncertain whether it will be built. We generally have high building demands regarding energy, but the laws only look at the energy consumption after the building is finalized. If clients and architects were required to calculate the entire impact, both resource- and energy-wise, but also socially and ecologically, we would start to see completely different ways of building and living. People always state that climate change adaptation or the green transition is too expensive. But not if you calculate the holistic cost of continuing as usual. It’s the proverbial road to nowhere.
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Previous page and this spread: Enghaveparken, Copenhagen Muncipality, Copenhagen Third Nature has turned water challenges into a wide variety of new recreational, relaxation, and sensory experiences in Enghaveparken. It is a unique and historical space. The park’s strict tree structure calls for dedicated mono-functional spaces: Water Garden, Multi Court, Rose Garden, Library Garden, playground, reflecting pool, water fountains park, and stage. Some
cater to the sight, touch, and smell with colourful and fragrant flowers, while others encourage movement and recreation through sport, and provide the sounds of water splashing and children playing. New multifunctional programmes and interactive furniture will be integrated, culminating in a terraced reservoir that can hold water – from daily rain to cloudbursts. The dike can retain up to 24,000 m4 water, thereby reducing the pressure on the city’s sewer system and transforming the garden into a unique water garden. With these
features in place, Enghaveparken is well positioned to overcome the challenges of the next 100 years. Location: Vesterbro, Copenhagen Building area: 35,000 m2 Type of construction: Landscape project with a mix of construction types; concrete, wood, paving, plants etc. Status: Under construction, to be completed in 2019
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This spread: Climate Tile, foundation support: Realdania 2014–16 and The Market Development Fund 2016–18, Copenhagen The Climate Tile wants to teach the world how to walk on water. In connection with cities’ climate adaption processes and escalating density, we have developed an innovative climate tile for the future pavements and urban spaces. The climate tile handles climate change by managing rainwater whilst creating new adventures in the city. The Climate Tile has the potential to work in dense cities around the world. The tile reintroduces the natural water circuit in the existing cities. By collecting
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rainwater from roofs and sidewalks, it can turn the water into a resource while the risk for damages caused by the rain is reduced. The flow of water to the existing sewers will be significantly reduced, and with it the risk of flooding. This will reduce the need to establish costly new facilities or expand existing water management systems in the cities. Location: Nørrebro, Copenhagen, Denmark Building area: Test pavement: 100 m Status: Under development; test site built in fall 2017
This spread: Vinge, Frederikssund Municipality Vinge is a future city that works with natural processes and creates and incorporates authentic and compelling types of nature. By building on the ideal of a city in nature and integrating the best from both worlds, the plan creates the setting for an exciting everyday life full of experience in Vinge. The vision was to create a train station in the city centre that offered a seductive and topographically defined urban space that seamlessly handled traffic-related infrastructure, complete with the full range of accessibility requirements, including pedestrian flow, public space, nature, movement, and breaks. The city will
evolve around a wild and generous green heart that promotes contrasting types of nature and specific biotypes that could be catalysts for the first development phases. By working with a unifying topography the plan handles all the complexities of urban design in a single, undulating urban space â€“ creating a shared space and direction for everyone in Vinge. Location: Frederikssund Municipality, Denmark Building area: 150,000 m2, 9-hectare green corridor, station square Type of construction: Master plan Status: Under construction: Vinge Station to be completed in 2019
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U RBA N P OW E R
Shortly after its establishment in 2013, URBAN POWER (formerly BCVA) gained recognition as a young architecture practice in Denmark. URBAN POWER has a special focus on urban transformation. In visionary projects such as Ørestad 2.0, Brøndby Strand, Paper Island, Hvidovre Urban Centre, and Haarby School Plus, they have added new layers to existing contexts, bringing a clear sense of identity and a human scale to the projects. The B&W Student Halls, where a shipyard is transformed into an event space and housing for 1,500 students, is a landmark project pushing the profession into new territory by transforming the post-industrial cityscape. How does your work relate to the post-industrial city? Reurbanization puts the cities under pressure. Urban sprawl and newly developed areas with no history or identity are popping up in the cities. We believe in a densification strategy where we reuse and densify existing areas in the city. Reusing existing structures and adding new structures is a way to preserve cultural and historical values while adding new developments. The combination of new and old brings social value and a sense of identity to the neighbourhood. And that is a way for buildings and places to achieve longevity? We work by adding new layers to urban areas – preserving historical traces and adding new buildings, new functions, optimizing for climate, economy, and social sustainability. The demand for “new layers” changes over time, and, depending on the situation, specific new layers can be added. The most important thing is that we continue a development. We don’t start from scratch. This allows for a livelier and more interesting city, and thus also more socially sustainable. The development can take place over a longer period and change over time. You could call it reusing and upcycling urban areas and urban space. It is basically a sustainability strategy? Social impacts and social sustainability are important factors in our work. Our “layeron-layer” strategy invites users and residents to be a bigger part of the re-urbanization by adding their own layers of social events, temporary structures, and ideas for functions. If people are involved in the process, the city will function better, and 456
everybody will take care of the area and each other. The Danish social welfare system also implies a high level of social “control”. I mean this in a good way, in the sense of “quality control”. In Denmark, the municipality and the public have a lot to say in the process of urban transformation, such as how to activate the urban space, how to make room for cyclists, and how to create qualitative green areas. Your B&W Student Hall project in Copenhagen has attracted a lot of attention. Does it sum up your approach to sustainability? The B&W Student Halls represent our strategy on a building level. We preserve the historical building as an extraordinary heritage element and activate the building and, thus, the neighbourhood by bringing in 1,500 students. The building is insulated by means of the new “student room walls” and is thus able to function as a great event space all year round. Do you have an overarching philosophy that guides your work in this field? All over the world, people are moving into the bigger cities. We need to address this issue and use the population increase in a positive way, creating better and more sustainable cities in the process. We believe in the transformation and densification of existing urban areas. This involves working especially with areas that don’t function well today, and, with the increase in population, adding new layers of transportation, cultural functions, and attractive public spaces as well as new types of housing.
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E F FEKT
EFFEKT has made a name for itself by winning competitions on all scales. The two founding partners, Tue Foged and Sinus Lynge, studied together at both the Aarhus School of Architecture and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen before establishing the office in Copenhagen. EFFEKT has managed to be a driving force in the transformation of the building industry and architectural thinking by having a strong focus on the technical aspects of sustainable architecture in combination with a very high design level. In many projects they demonstrate the ability to span a large and complex field of cutting-edge knowledge and demanding architectural contexts. Do climate change scenarios directly influence your design thinking? In almost all aspects. Our generation has been given the most challenging and interesting assignment of all time. We need to entirely change our way of life from degenerative to regenerative. This has implications on the way we plan our cities, the way we build, the way we transport ourselves, and the way we produce, consume, and recycle resources, materials, energy, food, etc. In ReGen Villages and Helsinge Garden City we are investigating local on-site production of food, energy, water, and waste management. We are designing these communities as small advanced ecosystems, just like a piece of forest where solar energy and rainwater power and feed plants and animals on site, and where the output of one system is the input of another. We see these projects as testbeds for a slow revolution in the making that will hopefully convert our entire civilization into a stable ecology in peaceful coexistence with the natural ecosystem of the planet. How do you incorporate sustainability strategies in your work method? We start every assignment by assessing how we can positively impact (or EFFEKT) the surrounding world with our project from a holistic point of view. Often there is a number of technical strategies in material use, energy consumption, etc. that can be applied. But more than often you have to rethink the brief or value proposition to find the root potentials of a given assignment; An energy renovation may hold the potential to create social empowerment, local food production might drive new communities and real estate development, and excess heat 180
from a supermarket might heat up greenhouses feeding local communities, and so on. Waste management, food production, infrastructure, mobility, and other fields that traditionally would be considered to lie outside of the scope of architecture hold the potentials for new urban ecosystems. Working primarily in the context of the Nordic welfare state, how does it influence your work? In Denmark we have imbibed sustainable thinking with our mother’s milk. Only when working abroad you truly understand how deeply sustainable strategies are embedded in our mindset and method. The way we think, live, work, manage, and inhabit our cities is really the result of a long tradition of sustainable design. What is your studio’s overarching approach to issues of globalization and the many predictable and unpredictable consequences? Our generation grew up with globalization, and we have enjoyed all the benefits. We love the global exchange of people cultures and economies. We love to work on foreign continents and with people from all over the world. These are opportunities of globalization. Having said that, it is evident that the way we transport goods, food, and energy around the globe is threatening the social and ecological balance on a global scale. We work to define and promote a “luxury of the local.” Local food, local water and energy production, local culture and economies. We see this as a new model that empowers residents to control their quality of life and their environmental footprint. How should architects and planners engage and influence societal agendas (the architect as activist)? Architecture is a very powerful device to envision and create change. In fact, architects are trained to realize ideas and to shape the future of the world we inhabit. We think that implies a big responsibility to plan for and lead the way towards a green transition, which is the biggest societal agenda of our generation. We work proactively to define the new agendas of architecture. Harbour Farm and ReGen Villages are examples of proactive research projects with which we hope to invent new business cases from a triplebottom-line perspective.
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Previous page and this spread: ReGen Villages, ReGen Villages Holding B.V., ongoing The holistic concept of ReGen Villages combines a variety of innovative technologies, such as energy-positive homes, renewable energy, energy storage, high-yield organic food production, vertical farming aquaponics, water management, and waste-to-resource systems.
The housing units are organized in a circle with food production facilities in the centre. The units are encased in a glass envelope to extend the growing and living season in food production facilities and housing units. Infrastructure, electric car charging stations, and social spaces are placed between the buildings to extend complete integration of the community. By minimizing the footprint of the food production and housing units, the solution frees up space and provides
biodiversity, permaculture, and seasonal gardens, creating a village that does not deplete nature, but restores it. Location: Almere, the Netherlands Building area: 15,500 m2Â Type of construction: Self-sustaining residential community Status: Ongoing, concept developed 2015
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This spread: Helsinge Garden City, Gribskov Municipality, ongoing This master plan for a new residential enclave 55 minutes north of Copenhagen, Denmark, transforms the traditional monocultural agriculture fields into a diverse mix of wetlands, meadows, orchards, and agroforestry. Social clusters replace the traditional detached houses and
most of the land is shared among the residents, allowing for a larger managed food production that is fully integrated in the space between the buildings. By integrating residential development, decentralized energy production, and local organic food production, the new master plan enables its future residents to lead a more sustainable lifestyle with a higher degree of self-sufficiency, while offering the
same services, amenities, and freedom as urban life in the city. Location: Helsinge, Denmark Building area: 700,000 m2Â Status: First prize in competition 2016
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This spread: Harbour Farm, Copenhagen, ongoing Harbour Farm is an ambitious port regeneration project in Copenhagen that combines organic and sustainable production of seafood with social, educational, and recreational activities. The system includes a water monitoring laboratory, energy-generating turbines, and a natural waste system that will fertilize local rooftop crops, which complete the cycle by being served alongside the homegrown fish and shellfish in the restaurant. Oysters are grown in special “cassettes” next to the clams, which are grown on
ropes suspended under a pontoon on the surface. The fish live in a contained habitat among the cassettes and ropes, feeding from organic material in and on the surfaces of the habitat and thus keeping the growing environment clean. Social activities and recreation take place on the pontoon, including a restaurant where the harvested foods are enjoyed. Location: Copenhagen Harbour, Denmark Building area: 2,000 m2 Type of construction: Galvanized steel frame on concrete floatation pontoons with wood decking Status: Concept development 2013, ongoing
L E NDAGER G R O U P
Lendager Group is a trailblazing Danish practice that tries to radically change the building industry and material use. It was founded by Anders Lendager, an architect devoted to promoting circular economy and resource efficiency for dealing with climate change. Lendager Group manifests its work through buildings, masterplans, and exhibitions that always have a cross-disciplinary approach. The method of producing building materials by upcycling waste resources creates a very broad base for action on all scales. As they put it themselves: “Sustainable architecture is an opportunity to move from problem to solution by creating regenerative cities.” Lendager Group has specialized in sustainable building practices, but you have an even wider scope? Our mission is to create solutions to global problems through the built environment. It is thus our purpose to use sustainable architecture, healthy upcycled materials, and the notion of urban metabolism to help mitigate climate change and reduce the negative effects of urbanization by instead using it as an active tool for creating a prosperous future for our global population. We may for instance upcycle materials from old houses in rural areas to build new buildings in the city, where the demand for houses increases rapidly. What is the main challenge in the building industry? The main challenge in the built environment is that the industry currently is a large part of the global problem, when in fact it could be a huge part of the solution for mitigating climate change. What we need is a new mindset. When we start seeing waste as a potential resource based on the principles of circular economy, we may cater to the increasing global demand for new and better houses without increasing the use of virgin materials and CO2. Is the concept of circular economy the common denominator in your work? Yes. Since starting with Upcycle House – a house built entirely of upcycled materials that reduces CO2 emissions by 80% without compromising on price, quality, or aesthetics – the principles of circular economy have been a common denominator in our projects. One example is the new Pelican Self Storage building on Prags Boulevard in Copenhagen. 294
It is the first building that uses upcycled concrete made on site. Other examples are the Resource Rows and Upcycle Studios, which will be pioneering projects within housing. They are built on the principles of circular economy, and developed out of recycled and upcycled materials without compromising on function, quality, or aesthetics. Lendager Group was founded to improve the environment and create a more sustainable world, and everything is therefore based on the overall mission to fight global climate change through architecture, strategy, and production of upcycled building materials. We are already experiencing a high demand and can see that the potential for upcycled building materials is even greater. Is there a risk of sacrificing aesthetics in the pursuit of achieving sustainability? For us, sustainability and aesthetics go hand in hand. We develop sustainable buildings and upcycle products without compromising on aesthetics. And sustainability can even be a great design driver that enables new ways of doing and increases the aesthetic value. In some projects, sustainability is visible and gives the client added value and enables the public to engage with it through the building. In others, it is simply embedded without being visible. It all depends on the project and the needs of the client and the local community. We encourage all others to engage in circular design as well, and to collaborate with implementing circular economy and sustainable strategies in architecture and the built environment. Because on top of creating a more sustainable world, it is good business too! Do you see real change happening in the building industry on a notable scale? We must influence political decision-makers to focus on sustainability and circular economy. And, yes, change is already happening. But so much more could and should be done. If we as an industry work together to improve the environment through architecture, sustainable strategies, and upcycling, we will succeed in making our future world more sustainable, healthier, and circular than the world we currently live in.
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Previous page and this spread: The Resource Rows, NREP, Ørestad Urbanization is a tendency that provides both opportunities and challenges. People move from rural areas to the ever-growing cities, and new exciting housing areas are developed around them. But what happens with the buildings in the rural areas? When the empty houses are not resold, they are often left to obsolescence and, ultimately, to demolition – which leads to a huge amount of material going to waste. Lendager Group sees a major potential in bringing the material with us when moving to the city – and reusing it in new buildings – since newly built houses such as these reduce CO2 emissions by up to 70% during the construction phase, because the reused building material has already had a life in another building. The Resource Rows will be the first housing area developed of materials from old houses. The unique architecture includes, among other materials, upcycled brick walls and wood from the previous buildings. Location: Ørestad, Copenhagen, Denmark Building area: 8,000 m2 Type of construction: Upcycled brick walls, upcycled wood Status: To be completed in 2019
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This spread: Pelican Self Storage, Pelican Self Storage, Copenhagen Pelican Self Storage is a storage hotel made of upcycled concrete – the first building in Denmark made of this material – which sets new standards for sustainable architecture and handling of construction waste. When a concrete building is demolished today, the standard procedure is to crush the concrete – and when the CO2-heavy construction waste is recycled, it is used to refill roads. The concrete industry believes sustainable concrete already is a reality, because 96% of all concrete is recycled. But is it a sustainable solution to crush
the concrete and throw it into the soil as road fill? With Pelican Self Storage, Lendager Group challenges the standard procedure by upcycling the crushed concrete from the existing building to new concrete produced directly on the construction site, which means that one avoids having to establish new gravel pits to produce concrete for the construction of the building. Location: Copenhagen, Denmark Building area: 8,500 m2 Type of construction: Upcycled concrete Status: Completed 2015
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This spread: Upcycle Studios, NREP, Ørestad Concepts such as flexibility, symbiosis, and resource efficiency are important for many Danes today, which indicates that alternative approaches to life and social structures are in high demand. The progress of the sharing economy is a perfect example of this trend. But how can the sharing economy be manifested in the physical space? That was the leading question in the development of Upcycle Studios. Lendager Group has focused on the sharing economy because the basic concept of access instead of ownership encompasses several essential aspects of sustainable development. Partly because the sharing economy is about
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sustainable initiatives – resources – and partly because new communities emerge within the sharing environments. Finally, the sharing economy benefits both the consumer’s and the owner’s economy. The architecture of Upcycle Studios is based on the principles of circular economy. Lendager Group uses upcycled windows, which have been processed to appear as newly produced windows in quality, function, and style. Location: Ørestad, Copenhagen, Denmark Building area: 8,000 m2 Type of construction: Type of construction: Upcycle windows, upcycle wood, upcycle concrete Status: To be completed in 2018
L UND HAG E M
The acclaimed, Oslo-based studio Lund Hagem Architects has won numerous awards, earning them a prominent place on the Nordic architecture scene. These include a number of private villas and cabins, the Olympic Village in Lillehammer from 1994, and a 2001 Mies van der Rohe Award nomination for Ullensvang Research Centre. Founded by Svein Lund and Einar Hagem in 1990, the office works on a national scale, and the designs of all their projects are strongly informed by the character of the surrounding landscape. Critical detailing is a focal point of their work in both a poetic and a practical sense. The Nordic countries are experiencing rapid change to the fundamental conditions of cities in light of climate change and urbanization. Where do you see this manifested? Like other places, the Nordic countries are experiencing a growing pressure on urban areas, where the authorities are forced to implement strategies to handle the increased pressure on the housing market. In and around Oslo this is being implemented through a series of plans to densify areas around the main hubs of transport. Parallel to this development is the constant reminder of the importance of forests and green “lungs” in and around towns and cities, and how this has to be an integral part of any new plan, to combat the increasing threat to the natural ecosystems and biodiversity. Is there a project that exemplifies your approach to sustainability? One of our best examples is the housing project in Barcode, B13, in the centre of Oslo. The project is one of many in a new plan for Bjørvika as a whole. It provides an ambitious, sustainable foundation for urban development. As the tallest residential building in Norway, B13 responds to Oslo’s huge demand for housing. The solution further emphasizes the need for creating an answer that allows for a sustainable social mix, through the varying types and sizes of flats and combined with public spaces and functions on the ground floor. What other sustainability strategies have you applied? In practice we are conscious of the importance of further education in the field. Over the last few years, while working on the new main library in Oslo, we have developed a specific interest in aspects 308
regarding ventilation and heating. We’ve been looking into how we can develop ideas based on reducing the need for mechanical installations, to meet the requirements of today and the future. Are Nordic architects somehow uniquely equipped to handle sustainability strategies, as some claim? We would argue that the wealth in the Nordic countries, in itself, could be a hindrance, as luxury solutions not necessarily reflect the general climatic challenges that face us, but rather the client’s desires. As architects practising in the Nordic countries are yet to be forced into practising in a way that is more focused on implementing sustainable strategies, on a much bigger scale than today.
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Previous page, this spread and the next: Knapphullet, private, Sandefjord Knapphullet (The Button Hole) is a small annex to a family holiday home built in a rocky landscape by the sea. This type of landscape, characterized by smooth rock formations falling directly into the ocean is common along the Norwegian coastline. These locations are beautiful but often exposed to harsh climate conditions. The existing rock formations inspired the sculpted concrete roof, which folds down to create a ramp leading up to a viewing platform connecting to the upper cliff. The annex replaces two small sheds on the property and contains a suspended bed for two, a small living space and a bathroom. The building has a small footprint yet expands vertically into three levels: the basement, the ground floor, and the roof. In the interior, the acoustic ceiling forms a continuous surface that complements the solid-oak box. The previous owner’s respect for nature makes this a special site. All vegetation is preserved or reused, from wild apples to rare flowers, and from half-rotten trunks to moss-covered rock shelves. The craftsmen adapt to the situation and help to preserve this sensitive environment Location: Sandefjord, Norway Building area: 30 m2 Type of construction: Concrete Status: Completed 2014
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This spread: Barcode B13, OSU, Oslo S Utvikling, Oslo As a part of the Barcode development, B13 is comprised of three residential towers on a base containing a kindergarten and commercial premises. The placement of the towers optimizes access to sun, air, and views. The residents have access to common facilities and a variety of outdoor spaces, including balconies, roof terraces, and courtyards. Strategically placed open spaces are designed to create a protected macroclimate, offering much-needed shelter from the coastal climate. With 50% of the area as green roof, featuring vegetation from the nearby
islands, the buildings contribute to the local biodiversity. The façade on B13 consists of two layers, an insulated inner façade containing windows and doors and an outer skin integrating balconies and winter gardens. The façade of building A features dark folded, perforated aluminium panels, while building B consists of woven, galvanized steel elements, and building C features printed glass panels that form a semitransparent skin. Location: Bjørvika, Oslo, Norway Building area: 20,000 m2 Type of construction: Concrete floor with steel columns Status: To be completed in 2017
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This spread: Deichman Library, City of Oslo, Oslo The core of the new Deichman Library is based on light and space and continuous diagonal views established between the interior and the surrounding streets/square. Atriums and openings on the different floors connect the library to the city outside. The top of the library cantilevers out to announce its presence to the visitors arriving from central Oslo and the Central Station. Big cuts in the façade mark the entrances on three sides of the building,
welcoming people arriving from all parts of the city. The façade diffuses the sunlight, creating a calm interior atmosphere. At night, the building glows and varies its appearance as a reflection of all the different activities and events inside the library. The Deichmann Library is the first “passive-house” built in Norway, with energy class A. New composite materials were used to create the innovative, translucent façade. The floor ventilation contributes to a lower SPF-factor and the cooling of the building in combination with
the specially designed roof. The volume of the library ensures an energy-efficient construction. Location: Bjørvika, Oslo, Norway Building area: 18,000 m2 Type of construction: Concrete construction of the columns, slabs, and roof. The roof is a special “folded” concrete construction that makes the roof strong enough to carry suspended cantilever slabs Architects: Lund Hagem and Atelier Oslo Status: Estimated opening 2019
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T H AM & V I DEG Ă…R D
Since its founding in 1999, Tham & VidegĂĽrd Arkitekter has attracted attention for its experimental approach and innovative built works. To Tham & Videgard, since a building should stand for hundreds of years, it is inevitably not only contemporary but also a form of continued history projected into the future. Seen from this perspective, all the ordinary circumstances affecting the conception of a new building or a new urban environment are secondary to the lasting impact and quality of the construction: its long-term environmental effect, its architectural integrity and function, its capacity to convey the ideas and ideals of society. How do you achieve longevity in your work? We have come to be even more interested in the importance of the original craft that drives the profession and the potential that the process from idea (concept) to construction represents. This has added inspiration to our research on what makes a real difference in architecture, and how to best use these observations and this accumulated knowledge as a guide for architectural design. How is that translated into strategies and real projects? Architecture is the combination of ideas and the physical realization of those ideas. In fact, some of the best ways of construction in relation to a life-cycle perspective are often found in very basic construction methods, free from fragile high-tech features. In short: a compact building, a sound relationship between construction methods and materials, distribution of glazing etc. This goes for all kinds of building types. Good buildings can stand for centuries. Does the sustainable design movement focus too much on environmental building performance and ignore central design aspects? Throughout history, architecture has always been a generalist profession. Everything from hard facts, such as building regulations, ground conditions, construction methods, project economy, plumbing, air ventilation, and energy consumption, to soft values, such as social quality, functionality in relation to programme, light conditions, acoustic and spatial experience, proportion, and scale, have all been included in the scope of work involved in making a successful building. Today, you may get the impression that some of these aspects or factors will in fact 438
overrule the others (sustainability, economy, design process) and be sufficiently influential to motivate and build what otherwise would be considered as poor architecture. We find this short-term and process-driven perspective strange. The focus of architectural work has to include everything in order to reach beyond the singularity of technical or administrative limitations. What is the role of aesthetics in achieving sustainability? Since the built environment is something that we cannot avoid being exposed to and which consequently affects us all, there is a responsibility to society. Cities, buildings, and urban spaces are the results of our common efforts to construct society, and as such, they are dependent on more or less well thought-out ideas as well as economic and political conditions. The general level of architectural quality is a direct result of how the culture of architecture is valued within society, since this in turn determines the acceptable cost and time frame of each project. History shows that buildings of high architectural quality tend to be well cared for and well preserved, which over the years has turned the initial investment into a success, from an economic and cultural point of view. What these buildings have in common is that they have all provided both functional and aesthetic values that have lasted for many generations, independent of variations in prevailing tendencies and specific uses. This supports the idea of creating an efficient and sustainable architecture, an architecture that lasts over time, both as physical construction and as usable architecture, by virtue of its generic spatial qualities.
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Previous page and this spread: New School of Architecture, Royal Institute of Technology, KTH, Stockholm The New School of Architecture is built in a triangular courtyard at the KTH campus, a protected historical environment: Erik Lallerstedt’s original, monumental brick buildings from the early 20th century. Within its rounded contours, the building contains 6 floors, a sunken garden, and a roof terrace. The deep red corten steel exterior relates to the dark red brick of the existing buildings. Curving walls create a free flow of contiguous space that enhances the sense of openness. Extensive use of glass on the façade offers light and transparency, while maintaining the climate and energy efficiency of the whole building. As a result of the compact foot print and the well-insulated building envelope, the overall performance as regards energy efficiency is very high. Materials such as corten steel and exposed concrete are more or less maintenance-free, in line with sound long-term construction needs. Location: Stockholm, Sweden Building area: 9,140 m2 Type of construction: In-situ concrete Status: Completed 2015
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This spread: Creek House Located on the southwestern coast of Sweden in an old agricultural area, the house is carefully adapted to the natural features of the site. Spread out over a single storey, each function is contained in a separate spatial unit, all created like boxes of varying scales and heights. The building consists of a
series of sturdy, loosely arranged volumes constructed from deep red, handmade bricks. Masonry was chosen to deal with the occasional flooding of the site. It is a durable construction method that requires a minimum of maintenance. A small creek passes through the house, bridged over by the entrance hall. Inside, common and private areas are separated into different levels, and each room is
characterized by a vaulted ceiling mirroring the outside. Location: South coast of Sweden Building area: 285 m², site area: 1,586 m² Type of construction: Masonry Status: Completed 2013
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This spread: Västra Kajen Housing, Vätterhem and Riksbyggen, Jönköping Located on the quayside of the Munksjön Lake, this residential complex in central Jönköping is assembled into two volumes rather than a row of standard housing slabs. The two compact volumes minimize the building envelope and energy consumption. A layer of terraces surrounds the perimeter of the buildings and provides all flats with generous outdoor spaces. These are contained within an anodized aluminium screen that diffuses light and creates alternating open and filtered views. The voids in the screen are offset every second level, creating a characteristic pattern that unites the six floors into one distinct cubical volume. The apartments are organized around a large, vertical atrium, which provides natural preheating of fresh air. Location: Jönköping, Sweden Building area: 10,900 m2 Type of construction: Prefabricated concrete Status: Completed 2015
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This spread: Wooden high-rise housing, Folkhem, Stockholm This new mixed-use development in Loudden, Stockholm, comprises four 20-storey residential buildings designed to form a new landmark in the area. Gaps between the buildings leave open views from the block behind and let in direct sunlight to the promenade. The towers are interconnected by a threestorey base and constructed entirely of solid Swedish wood. Thanks to the consistent use of a renewable materials, the result is a sustainable, well-insulated, and robust structure. Swedish forests produce the
amount of wood needed for the four towers every 10 minutes. In the Nordic countries, solid timber construction makes sense, as it is a local and renewable resource. The roof of the lower base is covered with sedum plants, while the roofs of the four towers are fitted with solar cells. At the top of each tower, a shared winter garden invites recreation and social activities. Location: Stockholm, Sweden Building area: 24,700 m2, 240 flats plus shops and offices Type of construction: Solid timber Status: Project 2014 –
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WI NGÅRD HS
In 1988, Wingårdhs’ first new construction project, Öijared golf club in Lerum, opened and received the first out of five Kasper Salin awards. To Wingårdhs, their work is defined by a combination of decisiveness and the ability to listen. A commitment to “sense-making” and to a broad acceptance of proposals is matched by the power that emerges from having one single person at the top. Wingårdhs exhibits independence when it comes to defending architecture in general, and this is evident in their oeuvre. Faced with global phenomena such as climate change, rapid urbanization, and mass migration, how does architecture intersect with politics? There are some aspects where we have a stronger resistance, for natural as well as for political reasons. The problem of elevated sea levels affects us less than Polynesia, we have an abundance of freshwater, and we are a recipient rather than a provider in migration. But with all these things comes an obligation. We have to create solutions, not at least for all the people who now have arrived from Syria and Afghanistan. This is a big challenge, and something that affects us all. What is the main design criterion when it comes to longevity? We believe in the kind of sustainability that comes from good proportions. The essence of flexible buildings is that the walls should continue to do their job whatever changes will come. This is not to say that we try to implement some kind of universal, optimized design; it is rather the opposite. Significant spaces can be surprisingly generic. To produce these good spaces is the core of architectural knowledge, and we are proud if we can make some contributions to this legacy. As energy consumption provides the main ecological footprint of any building, we do of course always try to create efficient and multitasking solutions for our buildings. But if they fail to create environments that make people proud, they have failed utterly. How do you work on a typological level to explore the potentials of sustainability in your projects? The offices for NEWS and EAIG represent a topological approach to climate and the sun. That makes them fundamentally sustainable, but that is also mainly the technological perspective. The water 502
tower in concrete represents sustainability in an even more fundamental way – it is a truly necessary construction. The office was founded in the 1970s, and one of our first jobs concerned a contribution to an exhibition on ecology. These matters are in our blood. The means have changed throughout the decades, but the issue remains basically the same: to create the most efficient buildings in every respect. It has a crucial role in making people feel confirmed as cultivated humans by the built environment. This goes for both interiors (as we spend more than four out of five days of our life indoors) and exteriors (as architecture must provide the compensation for values that vanish as we make our cities more and more dense). Are Nordic architects uniquely equipped to handle sustainability strategies? We are probably better equipped to handle sustainable strategies at home, but as soon as we begin to work in other cultures and other climates, we must first and foremost be humble and admit the limits to our knowledge. However, this can also be a fortunate position. When you learn from scratch, you approach matters without blind spots. What developments in design make you most confident in humankind’s ability to adapt to global change? Our behaviour is very cost-driven. If the problem is that we burn too much fossil fuel too fast, changes that make other resources cheaper will have an immediate impact. We are not there yet, but that day will come, and change will come with it. In terms of construction, we are almost there.
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Previous page and this spread: Umestan, Umestan företagspark, Lerstenen fastighets AB, Umeå Project Umestan met the demands for the enviromental certificate ”Miljöbyggnad” gold level, where daylight was the main challenge. The solution was a façade where an outer skin of perforated foil added colour while also providing transparency and sun protection. The façade is a screen of glass mounted slightly in front of the climate envelope. The outer glass surface is laminated with a semi-opaque screen-printed raster, giving the façade, in effect, millions of miniature round windows. While the outside surface is red, the inside is black, making it nearly undetectable at close range. Instead, one sees the landscape outside, subtly tinted. The raster gives the façade a reddish hue that harmonizes with the pale yellow render on the nearby barracks, but it also reduces the solar heat gain of the building. The path from darkness to light is enhanced by the walls that surround the atrium – white metal panels with a pattern of holes that references the façades. Here the holes provide an acoustic benefit: because the need for sound attenuation is greater at the bottom of the space, the holes are larger there. As the dark holes grow smaller towards the top, the panels become brighter, enhancing the effect of the light, which culminates in the fine web structure that crowns the space. In the interior, the almost military rigour of the exterior dissolves into light. Location: Umeå, Sweden Building area: 9,900 m2 Type of construction: Steel, concrete Status: Completed 2017
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This spread: EAIG, Office building, Abu Dhabi Inspired by the desert environment and its impact on buildings, this project in Abu Dhabi considers the exposure to constant sun and occasional sandstorms. The layouts of the floor plans are allowed to vary between storeys, creating terraces and
ever-changing vistas. Alternating stainless steel and glass seals the floors, creating a vaguely textile appearance. It also reduces the use of glass, which is environmentally difficult, by half. This skin is wrapped in a stainless steel mesh, tensioned between the top of the building and the ground. The mesh is raised up, to create the entrance, and hung in great arches, in the nature of
a textile. The mesh catches the rays of the sun and breaks the hazardous wind, thus blocking the grains of sand and minimizing the impact of a sandstorm. Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE Building area: 26,000 m2 Status: Ongoing
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This spread: Water Tower, Nordvästra Skånes vatten och avlopp AB, Helsingborg Most water towers are sturdy containers on one or a group of legs. In reality, most are made up of two circular tanks surrounding a vertical shaft for access and piping. The conventional solution would have been a cantilevering cistern held up by a central pillar. In this project, the water was instead led in a long orbit straight across several slender pillars, a solution that reduced the amount of concrete used, cutting construction costs by 10%. Inspired by the Stonehenge monument, Wingårdh’s tower moves the vertical shaft to the periphery. The geometry is redistributed, and the result is a typological innovation with a significant interior space. Location: Helsingborg, Sweden Building area: 2,800 m2 Status: Under construction 2018
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1. The common solution is actually subdivided into three parts. An inner core containing pipes, stairs, and a lift. A surrounding tank holding 3,500 cubic metres of water. A second surrounding tank that also holds 3,500 cubic metres of water.
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2. When the core is removed, the volume is perceived as a ring.
3. The ring is proportioned to match the site. The ring creates a public internal space.
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This spread: Liljevalchs konsthall, Fastighetskontoret, City of Stockholm, Stockholm The main building of the art gallery Liljevalchs was inaugurated in 1916 and heralded as a forerunner of Swedish Grace. It was executed with a load-bearing structure of reinforced concrete, which the new addition pays respect to.
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Four new art spaces, a cafĂŠ, a shop, and a new entrance allow the art gallery to operate without interruption between exhibitions. It also showcases the best of the Swedish building trade by featuring metre-wide walls and skylights, balancing on razor-thin edges. The exterior skin holds thousand of special glass bottles that catch the sun in an ever-changing interplay of light and shadow.
Location: Stockholm, Sweden Building area: 2,400 m2 Type of construction: In-situ concrete Status: To be completed in 2020
This spread: NEWS office building, Husvärden AB, Mölndal Inspired by the natural conditions of the site, NEWS has announced the Council of Green Building Award Winner 2015. The NEWS building presents four radically different façade strategies. Towards the north, glass fins catch the setting sun; towards the east there is a space within the double-glazed skin; a commercial greenhouse sits towards the south; and a colourful display of Venetian blinds represents the west. Location: Mölndal, Sweden Building area: 15,200 m2 Type of construction: Steel, concrete Status: Completed 2014
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