Saturday, September 19, 2009

V.O.B. - Architecture: MVRDV: construction begins on dnb nor headquarters, norway

in 2003, MVRDV, together with norwegian firms dark and a-lab, won the competition
for the bjørvika waterfront development and designed a dense urban master plan along
nyland allé, the oslo barcode, that will be developed and realised by OSU in phases.

the international norwegian financial institution dnb nor decided to concentrate their
twenty office locations currently dispersed over the city in the barcode. in 2007,
the master plan team was commissioned by developer OSU to design the urban concept.
a new cluster of three volumes and a common basement with a 3,000m2 underground
concourse, which interlinks the three buildings of the bank, was developed. MVRDV
was commissioned as architect for the central building and co-responsible for the concourse.
the development of a new headquarter cluster is a strategic operation aiming for synergy
and a clear identity. the objective was to translate the social and democratic character
of the organisation into a building with excellent working conditions and spatial qualities.
the structure is conceived as a steel ‘rack’ which permits adaptation to the flexible nature
of the organisation.

the steel rack is wrapped in a stone skin, which adopts norwegian environmental standards.
it appears as a rock, a strong shape within the boundaries of the barcode. the niches of this
rock provide space for vegetation growth: the positioning of the pixels creates roof gardens
or outside areas for every floor.
along the façade the communal programme manifests itself: at the bottom the main entrance, in the centre the trading room, at the left
the executive lounge, at the top the canteen, connected by the staggered route of which the stairs are visible through the glass façade.

the generic office floors recline and are recessed in various places to reflect the urban
context and to create communal indoor and outdoor areas and outstanding daylight
conditions. at street level the building volume is opened by sheltered entrance zones,
and intersected by a public passage leading to the oslo central station. the pixelated
design allows this specific response whilst being highly efficient and flexible. as a
result, every floor of the building is both unique and generic: the pixelated volume
makes the generic specific.

besides more than 2,000 flexible work spaces the building contains a panoramic 140
seat canteen on the top level, the executive lounge with a view over the fjord,
the board room, in the heart of the volume, dnb nor’s trading room with 250 work
stations, and the main entrance with a reception and access to the concourse. these
collective elements are connected by a staggered continuous internal route of terraces,
encouraging informal meetings and communication between employees.
the route meanders from the reception upwards through the building, connecting all
office levels with the communal areas. a series of wooden stairs and bridges allow
employees to switch levels or even to walk the 17 levels up to the canteen on one side
of the building and down on the other side. the route accommodates communal areas
to the office floors and is made homely with a series of pantries, informal meeting areas
and fire places. it gives access to the various outdoor terraces and roof gardens. all these
collective spaces are designed as glass pixels allowing views over the surroundings
and transparency from the exterior. the route is naturally ventilated and has a high
performance glass fit for the cold norwegian winter.
on behalf of OSU, MVRDV collaborates with norwegian co-architect dark arkitekter
as and various norwegian engineering firms. project management is executed by
norwegian firm vedal project as. the second building of the dnb nor cluster is designed
by a-lab and the third building by dark arkitekter, all within the overall master plan
and the barcode urban master plan by MVRDV / dark / a-lab.

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