- Building category
- Office and Business
- Transom/mullion Façade
- Oslo, Norway
- a-lab AS
An office building par excellence – a state-of-the-art design, maximum prefabrication, gigantic steel constructions, an extremely short construction period, an enormous media presence, and loads of praise. In just 20 months, a sensational architectural landmark was built in Fornebu near Oslo. Already in the planning phase, laurels were heaped on the new regional office of the Norwegian energy producers Statoil ASA. Even before the architectural office a-lab began construction, the office building was marketed as a new “icon building” of the future.
The new building of the regional office of Statoil ASA, which was completed only recently, impresses with its future-oriented design, flexible structure, and environmentally friendly energy concept. The new building is embedded in a landscape park on the area of the former multistory carpark of the Fornebu airport. The airport closed in 1998, and since then the IT Fornebu Properties AS real-estate company has converted the existing terminal buildings into office buildings. The a-lab design prevailed in a competition. One of the most important goals of the design, which was inspired by the seemingly random bundling of sticks in the game of mikado, was to minimise the footprint of the building in the park. Another objective was to create a flexible work environment, with all of the offices commanding a view of the surrounding fjords. The new building, which offers office workspaces for around 2,300 employees, is also intended to illustrate the corporate values of Statoil ASA. All of this is reflected by a-lab’s open architecture, which is oriented to all sides and inviting.
The building consists of five beams stacked on top of one other that are arranged on three levels and turned against one another. The beams make contact with each other at only four points; the stairway and elevator cores were arranged at the overlapping areas. Forming the center of the building is a climatised, six-story atrium housing common areas. The beams are each 12.5 m, or three stories, high, about 140 m long, and 23 m wide. The steel constructions enable enormous overhangs of up to 30 meters.
Gigantic steel construction and maximum prefabrication
The short construction period posed a special challenge. In March 2009, a-lab was commissioned to plan the 65,500 m2 c omplex a s well a s a 52,400 m2 subterranean garage. After the existing parking garage was torn down, the construction work for the basement was begun at the beginning of 2010, while the design development was still in full swing. To keep to the tight construction schedule, the largest part of the building, including the steel and concrete constructions and the façade units, were prefabricated and assembled right at the location. This guaranteed a higher degree of precision and accelerated the processes. The 140 m-long steel constructions were delivered in 100-tons units by truck from Finland and welded together at the site Europe’s largest mobile crane was used to position and stack the different elements.
Special façade constructions
While the steel constructions of the upper beams were being placed, the company Flex Fasader AB attached to the lower beams the prefabricated façade units that the façade construction company developed as a special construction along with Schüco. 80 mm wide profiles give the façade modules stability and enable element dimensions of 3 m wide by 4.7 m high. On all three storeys, the white longitudinal façades allude to the respective construction below and from afar appear to be resolved in individual pixels. It was important to the architects that every side of the façade appears to be a uniform and seamless surface that is not visibly interrupted by technical necessities. For this purpose, a façade cassette with a depth of 250 mm was developed that incorporates all of the technical aspects, including solar shading louvres. Due to their depth, the façade units comprised of powder-coated aluminum sandwich panels give the façade a relief character and additional natural solar shading. The closed façade surfaces reach a U-value of 0.18 W/m2K, and the glazed surfaces a U-value of 0.6 W/m2K. According to the architect, a ratio of 65% glass surfaces to 35% closed façade panels would strike an optimum balance between daylight and heat from solar radiation. The prototype of the façade construction was examined in advance at the Schüco Technology Center regarding the requirements for water- and air-tightness. The short ends of the beams are reminiscent of show windows or peep boxes. A black glass façade extending over all three floors, which was also developed by Flex Fasader AB in cooperation with Schüco, contrasts with the white longitudinal façades. Each gabled façade consists of 180 glass louvres. These are held by special profiles on the ground and the upper side; the fittings are standard elements of the Schüco system ALB. The Flex Fasader company arranged the glass louvres so that they overlap slightly, giving the glass façade a regular structure. The glass elements themselves consist of black-colored double glazing with a dark core, creating a deep black impression when seen from the outside. Additional solar shading is not necessary thanks to the arrangement of the panes. The 4.2-meter-high louvres are connected with a driving rod and moved by means of a linear drive. The latter are arranged at a different angle depending on the direction they face, following the position of the sun based on a pre-programmed pattern. This solar shading is not visible from inside the building despite the room-high glazing. The G-values of the all-glass panels lie between 0.24 and 0.36 W/m2K, depending on the direction they face. A total energy consumption of 103 kWh/m2a was calculated for the building. The energy concept is based on different components, including the use of district heating, about 85 % energy recycling, and of course the highly insulated façade systems.
The building is a bold example of creative use of prefabricated products and individualized standard components which makes a sensible contribution to future-oriented, expressive architecture that is anything but standard.