The way people work today is silently building up a demand for new kinds of spatial configurations which stretch far beyond “creative” interior-design layouts. We believe there is a real need for a fundamental revision of the traditional office building which stems from the necessity for mobility, fluidity and interconnectivity. These tendencies, in both the physical and the digital world, are becoming more and more difficult to accommodate in those properties administrated and controlled by a monotonous market, which is irrevocably turning obsolete. 


Completed March 2015


Entra, Futurebuilt

Project group:

Ghilardi+Hellsten Arkitekter


Oslo, Norway


60.000 m²


RIB Florian Kosche, Norsam


Office, retail

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The situation
The site as it appears today is defined by cars, waste handling and transport of goods, both to the existing building and to the neighbor Oslo Spektrum.  Although it is on the threshold between two of the most vibrant parts of Oslo the site appears as a void in the urban fabric.
Back to front
Lilletorget has the capacity to reform the urbanity of Vaterland. While the drop-offs and the traffic machines of Schweigaards gate has (ironically) consumed the plaza of the SAS Radisson towards the south. The project aims to establish a new direction and common plaza towards the east - a new pedestrian center in the core of Oslo. 
A pedestrian future
A core ambition of the project is to support and prioritize pedestrian and bicycle flows as opposed to cars. In the larger context we propose a process of removal, cleaning and connecting. 

Work culture and contained ecologies 
The ground level of the building will feature the lobby and a multipurpose space (i.e Kulturhuset). Long opening hours, varied events and an atmosphere for both work and culture makes it an ideal program for the ground floor. The second floor provides informal working spaces and an auditorium that can be used both for presentations, performances and film. This level could also hold an office hotel that further blurs the transition between public and private (work). Both the lobby and Kulturhuset will provide access to the public roof garden. This contained ecology receives residual heat and energy from the building and is conceived as a multipurpose space that can hold a variety of events both for the public and tenants in the building. The space will mix both productive and esthetic plants and will feature a Bio-restaurant among other things. As a public space it is an uncontested and unique attraction in the city of Oslo. 


Upgrade and reduce
An upgraded office type, Architecture vs Interior Design
Design innovation and design intelligence, within office architecture, is mostly in the hands of consultants, product manufacturers, tenants, and their interior architects. In most cases Architecture plays an orchestrating role, helplessly trying to mitigate clashes between interest groups. This lost coherence or dissociation between the overall building concept and its interiors will always hinder the possibility for integral and robust environmental solutions.
Therefore our proposal primarily speculates and experiments with the key architectural components of the office tower. The footprint, working area, support space, building envelope, structure and vertical circulation are rethought and recombined as a platform for environmental design.  We analyze the origins, evolution, and the working cultures behind international office-building paradigms in order to reclaim lost values and predict a future model. 
Consuming less Producing more
Pure green energy production, in the field of architecture, is limited to a few technologies, primarily photovoltaic panels and solar-heat collectors. These technologies don’t necessarily prompt architectural and environmental innovation. In our proposal we investigate less “technologically dependent” principles which can deliver significant reduction on energy demands per m2, and can also incite spatial and functional reformulations.

Environmental strategy

We believe all open architectural competitions present challenges for design innovation in multiple aspects, which include, but it’s not limited to, the question of energy. In this particular field, what might look surprising today, will be the standard tomorrow. 
Our environmental strategy is heavily rooted in architectural and typological experimentation, and starts with basic conclusions derived from common sense.


More urban than urban, first step towards sustainability 
We maximize FAR due to sheer urbanity and proximity to one of Oslo’s major public transport junctions; we propose a volume that can contain between 61000 and 69000m2 Gross Floor Area. Consequently, the building’s footprint grows larger at the upper floors to absorb mass and to avoid excessive height, giving the overall structure its iconic shape. The actual geometry of this increase is dictated by urban parameters and interior space logics.

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Natural ventilation

Thermal mass


Thermal mass

The skin

The frame




Compact office buildings are energy efficient, but offer challenges in terms of light and working conditions. We see this as an opportunity to let the office typology evolve from its current state, and investigate improved spaces for work...



...Enter the super-floors!

Superfloor example 1

This concept introduces a proposal for a next generation office-floor type, based on a simple principle of scaling. The enlargement process is applied proportionally in both plan and section, with the resulting floor-area and floor-height increase. 
Advantages are multiple: floor area / façade ratio remains unaltered, avoiding additional building costs and increments in energy consumption; it allows for 10% to 15% reduction in artificial lighting due to the increase of natural lighting; it optimizes cooling demands, allowing for warmer air injection since hot air ascends and flow above the working areas, due to the generous interior heights. 
Finally and most importantly, it delivers space volume, a new kind of universal space  that can serve a variegated array of present and future working cultures.

Superfloor examples

Superfloor mezzanines

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Mid-superfloor cieling

Upper office floor cieling

Area efficiency
All the plans are compact rectangular to almost square and equipped with two sets of cores placed nearby the diagonals on each side of the center of the plans. This relation between the shape of the plans and the place of enter cuts down a lot of corridor/traffic area compared to more slim shaped plans entered from one side. The shape combined with the structural system and daylight conditions gives very flexible plans with multiple possibilities to furnish.

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Reaching out to the public

The lower floor of the project aims at opening up to its context, both programmatically and visually. The gesture of retreating from Vaterlandsparken to allow for a direct connection between Oslo S flow and Brugata, is also establishing the space around the building as something unique. Its a space defined by the presence of the building above, and becomes a new urban plaza in the cross roads between the natural flows of the urban condition. 

Making the ground floor a new home for the establishment; Kulturhuset, promotes urban activity that is also connected to the rest of the program in the building. A gradual transition from pleasure to work, trough the Office Hotel on the second and third floor, and on to the regular tenants above is established through sheared use of functions, such as auditorium and multipurpose spaces on the lower floors.  

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We believe Oslo is reaching an inflexion point in the high-rise debate, a coming-of-age moment, which will open for good the city’s future as European destination. 

Compact gradient envelope
Due to the generous bulk and building compactness we can achieve a floor area enclosure of 0.39m2 façade per m2 GFA, with roughly 18% of GFA in full glass. The building skin is designed as an energy performing gradient, gradual transition from “less to more” glazing, from the northeast corner to the southwest corner. Fully Glazed areas are also synchronized with the super-floor strategy by positioning the mezzanines towards the southwest, allowing for support and service programs in areas with less transparency.

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South-west facade

South-east facade

North-east facade

North-west facade


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