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A sound investment in glass and timber . Stavanger/NO

For the »Bjergsted Finanspar­ken« newbuild, the headquarters for SpareBank in Stavanger in south Norway, Helen & Hard collaborated with SAAHA to create an exciting hybrid construction and an icon of contemporary timber architecture. What's special about this building is that the structure, which is made predominantly out of timber, is clad in a classic, geometric Schüco mullion/transom glass façade to contrast with the warm, organically formed wood interior of the complex. 

 © Photo: Sindre Ellingsen
© Photo: Sindre Ellingsen

With a gross floor area of over 22.000 m2, the project is one of the largest multi-storey timber constructions in Europe – the triangular complex has seven storeys at its northern tip and drops down to four storeys across a length of 83 and 97 metres along its edges. At the heart of the building, between the sloping vents, is a huge atrium with a glass roof. A sweeping timber staircase winds its way spectacularly across all seven floors and projects up to 5 metres into the air space. 

Iridescent glass and timber construction: what initially sounds like an antithesis has been achieved with great success by the architects of this bank building.
The seven-storey building unveils its unusual interior in the atrium.

The austere façade stands in stark contrast to this with a geometric shape that is further reinforced with mounted vertical glass brackets. The glass panels with printed dots attached to the outside of the classic Schüco FWS 50 façade add rhythm to the two lengthwise façades and provide additional sun shading to the offices inside. Furthermore, the external CTB sun shading is integrated in the Schüco FWS 50 façade. The glass façade allows passers-by to see into the organic interior rooms and the open timber construction of the building, giving them a glimpse of the different styles and symbolism: strong, well-fortified and disciplined on the outside; dynamic, inviting and sustainable on the inside.

Structurally, the building consists of three layers. The basement levels and four service shafts were designed in reinforced concrete and have a fortifying effect. The load-bearing structure on top of these is a timber frame construction with supports and carriers made from high load-bearing laminated beech veneer. The intermediate floors are made from glued laminated wood or cross laminated timber, depending on the load-bearing capacity, and are reinforced with a continuous edge beam along the façades. The Schüco building envelope is the third, final, room-enclosing layer which covers the timber construction, while a green roof adorns the top of the building.  

The result is an innovative and sustainable building which, thanks to the use of natural materials, creates a healthy, inspiring working and customer environment. The building was developed to meet the high criteria of the BREEAM Outstanding certification. Finanspar­ken i Bjergsted is the perfect example of modern timber construction, which has long since shed its low-tech, eco image.

The clearly structured façade with eye-catching vertical glass swords is in deliberate contrast with the curved forms of the interior.
The interior is characterised throughout by the warmth of the timber and the views from the large glazed façade.


Finansparken i Bjergsted


Christen Tranes gate 35, 4007 Stavanger/NO 


Sparebank 1, SR-Bank 


Helen & Hard, Stavanger/NO
SAAHA, Oslo, NO 



Gross floor area  

22.500  m2 
(13.500 m2 above, 9.000 under ground)

Main contractor 

Veidekke Entreprenør AS

Structural design

Multiconsult AS
Degree of Freedom, Oslo/NO

Timber construction

Creation Holz AG,  Herisau/CH

Façade construction

Rubicon AS

Schüco systems

CTB sun shading,
FWS 50 façade

Energy sources

Geothermal energy;
use of excess heat from data 
cooling (approx. 35 kW)

Annual energy consumption

74 kWh/m2


BREEAM Outstanding (target)

Words : Bettina Sigmund
Photos : Sindre Ellingden
/ Schüco International KG