DnB NOR HEADQUARTERS By a-lab
In 2003, MVRDV (NL) / a-lab (NO) / Dark architects (NO), won the competition for Oslo’s new waterfront development along Bjørvika with the design of the “BJØRVIKA BARCODE” for Oslo S Utvikling (OSU). a-lab has built the first building of the master plan, the Oslo Headquarters of PricewaterhouseCoopers – PWC in 2009.
With construction already underway, the second a-lab project in the Barcode is part of the currently largest single commercial commission in Norway: the headquarters of Norwegian financial institution DnB NOR, a cluster of 3 buildings of the Barcode with approx. 70,000 m2 above ground. Each building is being designed by one of the 3 original master plan winners: MVRDV who is responsible for the design of the A-building, Dark for the C-building, and A-lab for the B-building.
A detailed project description of the B-building from a-lab:
“The barcode master plan offers very specific constrains and limitations for the building. The envelope in is cut out as a strip 21×105 with a maximum height of 54m2. A-lab’s part of the DNB project consists of a mix-use building of 15 stories: 8 floors of DnB NOR offices, topped with living units, in a total of 22,000 m2.
The design addresses this program by efficiently compacting flexible office spaces, and optimizing the views and outdoor spaces of housing units, organized around a raised covered garden. The planning of the office levels allows different combinations of layouts, from open landscape to office cells – the possibility of variation of the circulation path (along cores or facades) guarantees efficiency in the different solutions, as well as the best working conditions according to the strict Norwegian regulations for the working environment.
Contrasting with the enveloped “machine” underneath, the housing units rest on 1.000 m2 of common open areas, a garden/terrace elevated from the street level. With its panoramic elevator and open bridges, this green foyer acts as a buffer that every resident crosses.
Opening in both ends to terraces overlooking the Oslo Fjord to the south or the cityscape towards the north and east, the covered garden is the result of an uncompromising real estate strategy of the Barcode Plan: one-sided apartments are not allowed – raising the environmental standards and the living qualities in the new city waterfront.
The result was equally uncompromised, with one gesture the housing area only facing the long facades was removed, creating the garden and adding two more “inner facades”. These give the opportunity to open an extra window to the outside garden and to the views of the Fjord or the city – Oslo being relatively low-rise.”