Scandinavia’s Striking Superstructure

On the idyllic shores of the Oslofjord in Norway stands the new international headquarters of Norwegian energy producer Statoil. Unique even by Scandinavian standards, the iconic structure was created with the premise of consolidating disparate parts of the organisation under one roof. A key challenge of the project was to balance size and architectural expression with the building’s surroundings while introducing new impulses that enliven the park and commercial areas . . .

Rather than conform to the singular high rise volume of a traditional ‘office machine’, the building is deconstructed into 5 office modules or lamellas that are intricately linked by an undulating propeller glass roof – the first of its kind in Scandinavia. At 3 stories high, 140 metres long and 23 metres wide, each module is cantilevered and oriented differently to optimise internal daylight conditions and views toward the fjord landscape. The sustainable design concept not only minimises the environmental footprint of the building, giving space back to the park, but also has a high degree of flexibility to ensure it can easily be adapted to changing future needs.

True to the nature of modern Scandinavian architecture, the modular design combines the benefits of prefabrication and sustainability. The construction of the modular building took less than 20 months to complete, with most of the building – including the steel and concrete superstructure, facades and glazed structures – being prefabricated offsite. It also has a calculated energy use of just 103kWh/m2/yr, which is achieved through several methods including the use of heat from the remote centralised heat source, 85% energy recycling and a triple glazed, airtight skin for increased thermal performance.

Although an untraditional office building, the new Statoil offices represent typical Scandinavian values by emphasising democracy and social equality. Both placement and orientation reflect optimised adaptation to the building’s surroundings and create a much appreciated contrast in terms of accessibility and universal design.