Crowned with timber
A mixed-use project in Sweden’s Gothenburg is being crowned by star architect Dorte Mandrup. The jewel in this crown is its use of timber. The new eco construction is intended to become an icon in sustainable urban architecture.
Star architect Dorte Mandrup is well known for her sustainability expertise. Her focus on environmental protection and her spectacular eco buildings are also acclaimed. Projects such as The Whale, the Bestseller Tower and the Karlskrona Culture House are clear evidence of this. A new sustainability icon fits perfectly into the portfolio of the award-winning Danish architect: her office has won the international competition to design a sustainable mixed-use complex in Gothenburg. Mandrup is crowning this project with a sophisticated use of timber.
New sustainability icon
The jury of the competition organized by Swedish real estate company Vasakronan, the city of Gothenburg and Swedish Architects selected Dorte Mandrup’s proposal from among 43 designs submitted by renowned architectural firms. Situated on the banks of Gothenburg’s river, the construction is anticipated to become the city’s new icon for sustainability. The striking feature of the winning project, which was developed in cooperation with Bisgaard Landscape and Rambøll, is the unusual wooden crown that lends the whole complex its special look.
The 37,500 m² (123,000 ft²) eco building plans to achieve carbon neutrality. Responding to her success in the competition, the architect commented: “I am proud that we have managed to bring a sculptural quality into the large volume and create a sustainable construction that allows flexibility over time.”
Vasakronan’s ambitions allowed them to challenge conventions: “It was possible to create a future-proof building that at the same time holds a high architectural value.”
Eco construction with cool flair
Named “Kromet”, the new building has an open, transparent base that connects the various levels of the surrounding urban spaces. It also forms a vibrant connection between the quay, street and bridge.
This produces an urban zone with a colourful, cool flair: niche stops, co-working facilities, a bicycle workshop, restaurants and possibly a theatre will generate a bustling atmosphere in and around the eco building. And a trendy sourdough hotel run by Urban Deli is planned here as a service for Gothenburg’s private sourdough enthusiasts while they are on vacation.
The design will also maintain the nocturnal hustle and bustle, as paths and streets will lead through and around the new eco building. Even when Kromet closes its doors for the night, the public will be able to move around freely.
Glass and wood
The base of this prospective sustainability icon has a lightweight glass surface. As described by the Vasakronan jurors, it “communicates openness and accessibility. It carries a wooden crown with a uniform and refined wooden facade, with glass surfaces creating intriguing shading effects.” The jury also remarked that “Kromet” is a distinctive figure with a strong and clear identity.
Besides offices, restaurants and space for cultural activities, the crown will offer a variety of housing solutions. The plans include owner-occupied apartments as well as rental and student apartments, and also co-living units.
Fresh air and greenery for all
The people living in this eco building can look forward to a number of features that will increase their quality of life. Balconies are found all over the timber façade, fitted with integrated plant boxes that are intended to serve as semi-private outdoor areas with lush greenery.
Bees on the roof
The plants and materials used in this building will naturally mirror its pursuit of sustainability. Swedish trees, bushes and grasses will be chosen to suit the building’s height and microclimate. Rainwater storage and beehives on the roof will be integrated into the life cycle, and aim to contribute to the biodiversity of the project.
The design of this eco building was centred on achieving the coveted LEED Platinum certification for excellent energy and environmental planning. For instance, concrete from the existing building will be crushed onsite and reused in the base of the new construction. Recycled glass will be given a new lease of life as the terrazzo coating of the concrete surface.
Eco buildings to embrace change
Timber constructions are enduring and an expression of regrowth. Columns and beams are made of glulam; floors and walls are cross-laminated timber (CLT). This allows the use of prefabricated elements, which in turn creates flexible buildings equipped with spaces and functions that can be changed over time. It will also enable this timber-crowned masterpiece to live up to its reputation as the pinnacle of sustainability for years to come.
that might interest you
The city of San Diego in Southern California has plans for a new district, one that will be entirely void of cars. Known as Neighborhood Next, it must be one of the most radical projects in the USA.
The new urban quarter Zwhatt near Zurich is designed to enable climate-neutral living at affordable prices. One of its buildings is a 75-metre-high timber hybrid tower known as Redwood, whose facade generates solar power.
Timber construction can be decidedly high-tech, as illustrated by the head office built for SR Bank in Stavanger, Norway. Bjergsted Financial Park offers workplaces that are fit for the future, and it is among Europe’s largest engineered timber buildings.
HafenCity Hamburg is an urban quarter fit for the future. Its eco cherry on the top is the “Null-Emissionshaus” (Zero Emissions Building), which is completely carbon-neutral – and can be dismantled like a Lego house.
What used to be a single-purpose neighbourhood is being transformed into a versatile motor of urban progress: Eindhoven is turning its railway station district in Fellenoord into a buzzing new area where all kinds of innovations are set to flourish.
The eco-friendly residential project Roots will be the new landmark of Hamburg’s HafenCity and the tallest timber high-rise in Germany. Architect Jan Störmer reveals what its future residents will have in common.
The Danish office 3XN is planning to build North America’s tallest timber office building in Toronto. Called T3 Bayside, the complex will offer more than 500,000 sq. ft. of next-generation office space when completed.
Oslo was once built entirely of wood. The project chosen to redesign the area around its railway station heralds the return of this traditional building material to the Scandinavian metropolis. A spectacular office tower with an innovative hub is being developed, named Fjordporten.
Dutch architectural firm Gaaga has designed a residential building in Eindhoven that is distinctly people- and environment-friendly. Surrounded by trees, it is situated in the middle of a park.
An office building is being constructed in Madrid that even does some work itself: generating solar power. More power than it actually needs.
A woodland of man-made and native trees has sprung up in Shanghai, named Solar Trees Marketplace. It even generates its own solar power.
Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and Australian artist Geoff Nees teamed up to design the Botanical Pavilion – a wooden pavilion that is constructed like a 3D puzzle – without using any kind of glue or screws.
Japanese architectural firm UENOA has created a wooden office that has no need for bearing walls. Folded origami-style, the ceiling construction gives a whole new lightness to cross-laminated timber.
In 2021, IKEA will open its most innovative furniture store to date in Vienna. Designed by querkraft architects, the city store will bring cooling greenery to the Westbahnhof neighbourhood. For climate protection, against climate change – and GREENPASS Platinum-certified.
There is a new building taking shape in New Orleans that fits perfectly with two very pressing issues: the new Ochsner Center for Innovation will be devoted to developing modern healthcare solutions. The project, which has already won numerous awards, is geared wholly towards sustainability.
A good four years ago, OXO Architectes and Sou Fujimoto embarked on an adventure called Mille Arbres – a mega-project with a plant biotope over Paris’s famous Périphérique ring road.
Sustainability is a top priority for the Powerhouse Company. In an interview, partner Stefan Prins explains why this means more than just a careful choice of materials and energy efficiency, and how essential it is to consider all the changes brought about by climate change when building.
EU President Ursula von der Leyen wants to put climate neutrality centre stage. The first official related project is called Sunflower House and is based on the internal workings of sunflowers.
The Life Cycle Tower One was the first timber high-rise in Austria and the prototype for a new type of serial construction. CREE founder Hubert Rhomberg explains the green building concept and why we have to learn to think in lifecycles.
Researchers at Cambridge University are helping to turn London’s spectacular vision of a wooden skyscraper into reality. The Oakwood Timber Tower is to rise 300 metres into the sky, almost level with the tallest building in the city.
Milan’s iconic but disused Pirellino office building is to be renovated in spectacular style and renamed Pirelli 39. Its special greenery will even adapt its colours to the passing seasons…
Most people looking for a new home with a sustainable design need to have deep pockets. Rotterdam’s Pendrecht district aims to buck this trend courtesy of timber building Valckensteyn, the brainchild of the architects at Powerhouse Company.
In Düsseldorf, The Cradle is gradually taking shape. The timber hybrid office building is being constructed according to circular economy principles, and these will also govern its future use.
The Dutch city of Eindhoven will soon be home to the world’s highest “plyscraper”. The two towers – 100 and 130 metres high and known as the Dutch Mountains – are to set new standards in high-rise timber construction.
Workplace ahoy! Architecture studio Powerhouse Company has designed a concept for a floating office building. Sustainable, energy-neutral and made of wood, it will serve as the headquarters for the Global Center on Adaptation in Rotterdam as of autumn 2020.
Following an initial defeat by the authorities, in the second leg Zaha Hadid Architects managed to gain planning permission for the world’s first timber football stadium.
The ancient Romans used to bathe in healing waters here, and aristocrats from all over the world came to socialize during the Belle Époque. The historic baths in France’s thermal spa resort Aix-les-Bains are now on course for new fame: eco-architect Vincent Callebaut is turning them into a green paradise.
Once Europe’s largest freight station, Brussels’ monumental Gare Maritime is now the largest European CLT project. Neutelings Riedijk Architects have transformed the historic structure into a covered district, giving it a sustainable new lease of life using cross-laminated timber.