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The planning and design of Sandvika centre north opens for rethinking Sandvika’s ongoing development intentions, which seems to be lacking overall coordination and an overarching holistic approach. Our proposal aims at revitalizing the discussion on Sandvika’s future through the design of the Viken headquarters, speculating on the added value such a building program could bring along both locally and regionally. 

Together with Grindaker Landskapsarkitekter we introduce a stark blend of architecture and landscape, we aim at balancing and contrasting Sandvika’s urbanity with a broad landscape structure which substantially expands the Rønne river green environment.

Our competition entry consciously promotes strategies for mixed-use buildings and mixed-use development. We imagine all new construction, including the Viken headquarters, as being programmatically hybrid and suitable for repurposing, we propose more than one use per building from day one.




Viken Fylkeskommune

Project group:

Ghilardi+Hellsten Arkitekter, Grindaker Landskapsarkitekter

Sweco Energi og Miljø


Sandvika, Norway


25.000 m²


Masterplan, Corporate space


Ghilardi+Hellsten Arkitekter, Grindaker



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Our masterplan proposes a systematic extension of the green environment of the river which covers all sites assigned for development, including the Viken offices plot. The result is a drastic increase of the local ecosystem, increasing also permeable surfaces and surface water management for the whole of Sandvika north. A rich network of paths facilitates accessibility and promote soft mobility, building volumes articulate both in plan and section to better adapt to the existing built environment across the river.


Our proposal consists of 4 nature-based urban spaces: a recreational zone along the Rønne river which restore the local ecology, a green park for surface water management between Viken HQ and the railway, and an activity-based urban space to the southwest.


Centrally, and connecting Viken HQ to the station entrance, we propose a hardscape plaza tailored down to the necessary minimum capacity.

Conceptually we work with two approaches to landscape. To the north and east we restore and strengthen the local ecology along the Rønne river, also extending the existing river promenade from the south and connecting it with the Enger lake in the east. This promenade is designed as a hovering boardwalk, which facilitates universal accessibility while protecting the green environment. To the south and west we propose a green urban structure, designed to handle a high degree of mobility and user activity. Surface water management is integrated in the design, delaying and filtrating rainwater before its transported to the river.  



The footprint of the building and the overall building volume is designed as a direct response to variating existing conditions on the north and south side of the site.


The suburban context on the north calls for a less monolithic character and benefits from new buildings being composed of smaller parts. On the south side the highest point of the building faces the urban plaza, stepping gradually down towards the Engervannet landscape on the east.


At its base the building is also retracted on two corners, giving space to the river on the north and inviting people in from the main urban plaza on the south.

The articulation of the building volume also provides variation of depth at multiple levels, these different floorplans can adapt to current and future needs. Most of the common and public areas for the Viken offices are located on ground floor.

The ground floor is split in two levels following the terrain of the site, connected by a ramping exhibition space displaying the county landscape from mountain to fjord. A large wintergarden on the station side acts as lobby, café and buffer between the station plaza and the Viken offices. On the north corner, an auditorium space follows the terrain and opens to an outdoor stage along the river side.


All semi-public spaces such as the county-hall and conference facilities are located on the first and second floor with direct access from the wintergarden, which is located around a double height space over the exhibition ramp.


Canteen and project zones are located in the base, right over the conference floor. These two levels function as transition floors between the public areas in the lower base, and dedicated office floors for Viken on level 5-10. The double height space of the canteen allows visual connections between the social functions.

The office levels for the Viken program are designed for maximum layout flexibility and adaptability, catering to the constant evolution of working routines. Compact support areas around the cores allow for efficient working areas on all sides. The shift of the plan generates additional corners and allows for deeper daylight penetration, which increases the number of workplaces and social areas.


The retracted upper levels perform as flexible rental space for other office tenants, also dimensioned for conversion into residential units or hotel.  Such an approach prolongs the lifespan of the building through easy repurposing and can also provide a mixed-use building from day one.

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Though the way we work is constantly evolving the standard cell office module has remained more or less unchanged since the 1950’s. The space requirements for equipment, storage, and furniture in the private office has been dramatically reduced by digitalization, in addition to the fact that a typical working day is often spent in multiple locations and constellations. 

Today we work more collectively, in teams and project based. For Viken we have updated the office module to fit contemporary working methods and processes. With its dimensions of 3,8m x 1,8m the module is suitable for single users or small teams, the combination of two or three modules results in a variety of meeting rooms and project rooms. 

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To ensure a vibrant urban neighbourhood through mix-use, we designed the building with an option for housing at the upper levels. In such an option the surplus office space of the Viken program can be traded with residential from neighbouring housing sites. Upper- level housing will enjoy the best views and sun conditions, while the commercial program will remain linked to the urban spaces on the ground floor.

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