30 January, 2017
With its proposal “Under one roof” White Arkitekter won the design competition for a new station and City Hall in the southern Swedish city of Växjö. As the motto suggests, the building gathers several functions in one volume and connects the city’s different parts. This new ‘living room’ is open, welcoming everyone from teenage girls and senior citizens to municipal employees and visitors. The building also creates a new silhouette in the city.
In an anonymous competition with five international teams, White was the jury’s unanimous choice. The jury stated:
“The proposal presents a coherent and characterful building with a strong expression, a new silhouette and a new landmark for Växjö … The building has three main entrances that connect well to the city’s structure. The entrances intertwine elegantly in the interior, creating ‘Växjö’s living room’, a beautiful vertical wooden room that connects all the building’s different levels … Overall, the winning proposal is an elaborate building which is able to meet Växjö’s requirements and intentions of a sustainable future throughout.”
– We are extremely proud to design a building for the future in “Europe’s greenest city.”
We have placed the public living room in the centre of both City Hall and the station, creating a space that unites travellers, visitors to City Hall and local residents under one roof, says Klara Frosterud, Lead Architect at White.
The 14,000 m2 wooden structure will be a new focal point in the middle of the city. A meeting place with a tourist office, exhibition area, waiting room, cafés and shops, meeting rooms for various occasions and a modern workplace for municipal employees.
A series of public spaces, including a new park, a square and a wooden bridge with a green roof, connect the building to its direct surroundings and the city. Inside, the station and City Hall are linked together by a wide staircase, designed as a meeting place where visitors can sit down and experience the city. The building’s various functions are organised around “Växjö’s living room”, a new public meeting place for citizens, visitors and employees.
– Växjö’s identity is reflected in our choice of materials; glass and wood, and in the smart and sustainable technical solutions. Our goal has been to create a building at the forefront of development in sustainable construction as well as to achieve the highest Swedish environment certification. People are placed at the heart of this building which will be socially, economically and ecologically sustainable over time, says Klara Frosterud.
The compact volume is strategically adapted to the city scale. Towards the north and east the volume is considered as a two story building with a large sloping roof. The sloping roof reduces the building’s envelope and ensures lower energy consumption throughout the building’s life. The design minimises the use of building materials and waste, leading to reduced environmental impact and a faster construction process. The project sees White continue its successful collaboration with Oslo-based structural engineering company Florian Kosche, which specialises in wooden structures.
Rickard Andersson, Communications Officer
+46 72 173 30 72
About White Arkitekter
White Arkitekter was founded by Sidney White in 1951 and is Scandinavia’s leading architectural firm with over 900 employees working in 16 offices in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the UK. Our work is research focused and our expertise encompasses architecture, urban design, landscape architecture and interior design. For nearly two decades, White has invested in establishing a unique research-based organisation of highly qualified experts in the field of sustainable design. Our founder’s aim was to improve society through architecture and his legacy lives on in our ambition to contribute towards the building of a sustainable world.
By: Rickard Andersson
Published: 30 January, 2017
13 October, 2016
White Arkitekter’s CEO is the 2016 recipient of the annual award presented by the Swedish Professionals for the Built Environment, who praised Monica von Schmalensee’s “strong commitment to architecture, urban development and sustainability” and her “contribution to the creation of beautiful and sustainable cities”. The award has been presented annually since 2013.
How does it feel receiving this recognition?
– It’s fantastic to be recognised with an award like this, especially considering the many people in our industry who contribute to increasing knowledge and commitment on sustainability issues.
Why do you think you were named a “society builder”?
– White Arkitekter has been very active in issues regarding sustainability through the knowledge and passionate engagement of our employees, who have contributed considerably to sustainable solutions. Thanks to our position as the third largest architectural practice in Europe, we can make an impact. I am very committed to understanding how we can meet tomorrow’s challenges and regard myself as a Swedish ambassador exporting our knowledge and experience to the rest of the world.
What is White’s role in contributing to a better society?
– We prioritise quality over quantity. Our role as architects and urban planners is really about long term and sustainable thinking. We work across disciplines, which means we work in teams with a varied set of expertise and competences. Also, we have a strong initiative in research, collaboration and education which contributes to development, both for our clients and ourselves.
The Swedish Professionals for the Built Environment has approximately 5 000 members, representing professions involved in every step of the building process – from initial idea, through projecting and production to management of buildings, bridges and other constructional works or spatial planning and environmental control. Members also include chartered surveyors and real estate economists. Members are either publicly employed by the government or the local community or employed by privately owned companies.
By: Ann Nilsson
Published: 13 October, 2016
13 October, 2016
Opportunity Space is an international design-build competition challenging multidisciplinary teams to propose a temporary, mobile structure in an effort to support economic opportunity and social inclusion. Its first edition will take place in Malmö, Sweden.
The winning team will receive a $10,000 prize, a travel stipend, and up to $25,000 to implement a prototype of its proposal in and around Malmö’s Enskifteshagen Park. The competition is organised by Van Alen Institute in cooperation with the City of Malmö, White Arkitekter, Architects Sweden and Individuell Människohjälp.
‘Opportunity Space’ is the first in a new Van Alen Institute series of Flash Competitions: challenges that bring together multidisciplinary teams of designers and other experts for short, intense projects in cities around the world to take on urgent societal issues through design. White is proud to be part of this collaboration, which has the ability to generate real solutions. By organising this competition to activate engagement and reach out to other architects and related professions, White hopes to help solve urgent social issues through great teamwork.
“White Arkitekter knows Malmö well and we know that there is both talent and conditions to create a project that contributes to a city where everyone can thrive. I’m convinced that Malmö will inspire other cities around the world”, says Monica von Schmalensee, CEO at White.
Pre-registration deadline is November 7. Applications can be submitted until November 18. The jury will announce the winning proposal in early December.
For more information – and to pre-register for the competition – please visit Van Alen Institute’s website.
For media queries, please contact Sergio Guimaraes (*protected email*, 446 851836588).
By: Sergio Guimaraes
Published: 13 October, 2016
30 June, 2016
White Arkitekter’s Copenhagen studio has won a competition to design 115 individual homes in Alleroed. Located north of the Danish capital and bordered by woods and a lake, the new neighbourhood invites nature to flow between the buildings and their interiors. The project challenges stereotypes about affordable housing while dissolving conventional boundaries between public and private space.
“There is an unfortunate stigma attached to social housing; they are grey, static, generic, colossal buildings surrounded by parking lots, empty lawns and concrete. For us, it was important to have none of that, so we decided to let nature lead the way. Nature is dynamic and resilient – just like we want our neighbourhood to be,” said Morten Vedelsbøl, Creative Director at White in Copenhagen.
Unlike traditional social housing developments, there is not an abrupt cut between public and private. Nature gradually transitions into the five rows of housing as comes into the interiors, inviting residents outside to socialise in the common areas.
“You need to be able to see that people live here”, Vedelsbøl adds.
‘By the Woods’ consists of 115 mixed-sized row houses of two, three or four rooms. Situated in harmony with the hilly terrain, the houses resemble roots on the forest floor and the neighbourhood is built with, rather than against, the uneven landscape. The buildings are clad in sustainable wood siding on both exterior facades and the interior walls. The spaces between the structures as well as rooftops have a varied and lush nature.
“We deliberately created the sensation that nature is taking over. We wanted residents to have a sensuous experience with the woods when outside or looking through the kitchen window from the inside”, says Mikkel Thams, Design Architect and Project Manager at White’s Copenhagen studio.
The development is both private and open. Individual terraces are sheltered on the sides allowing residents to move their living rooms, garden furniture or planting beds outside. However, the neighbourhood is designed to be fence-free as private areas are less excluding with less static boundaries – a clear departure from typical row house planning.
“Traditionally, the transitions between private houses and the outside were abrupt, discouraging people from personalising common areas and the exterior of their homes. This sends a signal that the community comes before the individual, but it also alienates residents from using common areas, which turns them into dead zones.” says Vedelsbøl.
The project is due to be completed in 2018.
+46 (0)72 173 3109
Julie Boldt Mark
+45 61 97 79 23
+45 31 10 16 05
Image: Beauty and the Bit
By: Margaret Steiner
Published: 30 June, 2016
16 June, 2016
White Arkitekter’s entry, ‘The Eyes of Runavik’, has won the Nordic Built Cities competition in the category Vertical Challenge. The winner was announced on 16th June, in Helsinki, Finland. Departing from the same local climatic and geological conditions that challenge it, the design reveals a new and sustainable residential area in the Faroe Islands with the traditional local farming and settlement modes as the source of inspiration.
- Steep terrains with views over fjords and islands, strong winds, geothermal heat, basalt rock and sheep wool are some of the elements which have been carefully considered when designing the project ‘The Eyes of Runavik’. The jury from this initiative – by Nordic Innovation, the Nordic governments and the Nordic Council of Ministers – praises the “iconic character” of the proposal and the mark it leaves on the community, “creating new thinking in relation to traditional construction in Runavik”.
“Minimal impact starts with understanding the conditions, accepting them and making the most out of them. We asked ourselves – how can we create an environment on such a steep slope and in such harsh weather conditions? We decided to transform those challenges into our tools and identity markers,” says Morten Vedelsbøl, Creative Director at White Arkitekter in Denmark.
The project explores historical modes of farming and settlement, where the meadow (‘hagi’) is used for summer grazing and the cultivated land (‘bøur’) is generally used for growing crops. By adapting these concepts, the new development helps to create a unique harmony between the wild nature and man-made interventions. There are five houses with a total of residential 100 units in this development, all built on the steep slope with dramatic views over the fjords and the islands. Each building is shaped like a ring – or an eye – and is a self-contained settlement, surrounded by a meadow – ‘hagi’ – with raw Faroese nature and enveloping an inner cultivated microclimate – ‘bøur’. The latter serves also as a more inhabitable outdoor social space for residents.
“The wind is an omnipresent natural force lashing the Faroe Islands from the open ocean, the narrow fjords and the steep mountainsides. Traditionally, this has kept residents indoors when they want to socialise. Our proposal creates protected social areas which are sheltered from the rough weather”, says Morten Vedelsbøl.
Exterior spaces that are located inside each ring partially change the climate zones and increase the biodiversity of the site. This is the key element making it possible for growing a wider variety of vegetables and other vegetation.
Traditional buildings in the Faroese Islands sit on stone foundations, which counteract the steep slope while allowing the abundant rain water to flow from the mountains past the structures. ‘The Eyes of Runavik’ employs new, less invasive construction techniques which incorporate minimal foundations but still serve a similar purpose. With almost no blasting or excavation, the natural contours are preserved and the native biodiversity is promoted. The circular settlements fit the wild Faroese landscape, transforming into eye shapes as they individually respond both to the unique terrain and the prevailing wind. Even the contours of the green roofs directly mimic the shape of the terrain below.
The three storey buildings will have an area of 17,550 sqm and will be built using timber construction and local sheep wool. Combined with the efficiency of a passive house type and renewable energy, this will create conditions for the residences to live by zero emissions over a long term.
The main path connecting the ‘eyes’ to the landscape as well as the town will offer a pedestrian area, making the car a more subordinate character on the road.
About Nordic Built Cities
The Nordic Built Cities Challenge is an initiative by Nordic Innovation, the Nordic governments and the Nordic Council of Ministers and is an open, needs-driven competition for the development and visualisation of innovative solutions for liveable, smart, and sustainable cities. In the category Vertical Challenge on the Faroe Islands, architects and engineers were challenged to design a new residential area with infrastructure, landscape, and housing on a steep, currently undeveloped and uninhabited hillside. As potential developers will be attached to the site, the project will enter an operational phase.
(Images: White Arkitekter/Beauty and the Bit)
By: Sergio Guimaraes
Published: 16 June, 2016
7 June, 2016
White Arkitekter has won an international design competition for Skellefteå’s cultural centre and hotel, which will be completed in 2019. Located just below the Arctic Circle in northern Sweden, the city of Skellefteå has a long tradition of timber architecture which inspired the winning proposal ‘Sida vid sida’ (Side-by-side). The design was selected from over 55 entries from ten countries.
’Kulturhus i Skellefteå’ is planned to be a 19-storey structure reaching a height of 76 metres. It will house the ‘Västerbottensteatern’ (the county theatre of Västerbotten), the Anna Nordlander Museum, Skellefteå’s Konsthall (art gallery), the city library and a new 16-floor four-star hotel.
The 24,940 sqm BTA building will be timber framed with a glass envelope and has been designed to allow flexibility of use with retractable walls for rooms to be expanded or divided to serve a range of functions from a smaller exhibition to expansive conference facilities.
“We’re very proud to have the opportunity to create a new home for the visual arts, theatre and literature. It’s when these different disciplines meet that the magic happens”, says Oskar Norelius, Lead Architect, White Arkitekter.
“We want to engage the wider public, not only arts lovers and the building’s transparency offers passersby the opportunity to witness behind-the-scenes work, such as an exhibition or new stage set coming together”, says Robert Schmitz, Lead Architect at White.
Skellefteå is surrounded by dense forests and has an acclaimed timber-built architecture and White Arkitekter felt it was important to harness this local knowledge and technical expertise.
“A cultural centre in Skellefteå just has to be built with wood! We’re paying homage to the region’s rich tradition and we’re hoping to collaborate with the local timber industry. Together we will create a beautiful venue, open for everyone, which will both have a contemporary expression and timeless quality”, says Oskar Norelius.
The glass façade will reflect the sky and, at the same time reveal the interior’s spectacular exposed wood-framed ceiling, which is an important detail guiding visitors throughout the venue. The structural framing is a hybrid of glue-laminated timber strengthened with steel trusses, which is to be sourced locally. For the timber construction detailing and specifications, White Arkitekter will collaborate with structural engineering firm Dipl.-Ing. Florian Kosche AS (DIFK). The centre is designed to endure all weathers with an efficient energy consumption record. The building will have a green roof, providing thermal insulation, sound insulation, biodiversity and rain water absorption.
The venue will be the tallest building using wood frame construction techniques in the Nordic countries, allowing for views from the hotel rooms which stretch for miles. With a stage located in the middle of the venue and with different functions visible from the outside, the centre will breathe new life into the city. The ground floor will have multiple entrances to create a dynamic lobby and contribute to life of the city centre.
The winning proposal foresees bicycle and pedestrian routes connecting different areas of Skellefteå to a new planned travel centre. On the waters of the Skellefte River (which passes through the city), a stage is proposed as a satellite venue to the cultural centre.
For further information:
Client: Skellefteå Municipality (competition organised in collaboration with the Swedish Association of Architects)
Partner: Dipl.-Ing. Florian Kosche AS (DIFK)
Schedule: estimated completion 2019
City: Skellefteå, Sweden
Images: White Arkitekter
Lead architects: Oskar Norelius, Robert Schmitz
Team: Axel Bodros Wolgers, Karl Tyrväinen (landscape architect), Anders Johnson, Björn Vestlund, Sarah Dahman Meyersson (environmental specialist), Robert Niziolek (images), Katharina Björlin Wiklund (images)
Structural engineers: Dipl.-Ing. Florian Kosche AS (DIFK)
Structural materials: massive wood, steel trusses, concrete, prefabricated wood modules.
Façade materials: wood clad panels and louvres, structural glazing
White Arkitekter was founded by Sidney White in 1951 and is Scandinavia’s leading architectural firm with about 900 employees working in 16 offices in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the UK. Our work is research focused and our expertise encompasses architecture, urban design, landscape architecture and interior design.
For nearly two decades, White has invested in establishing a unique research-based department of highly qualified experts in the field of sustainable design. Our founder’s aim was to improve society through architecture and his legacy lives on in our ambition to contribute towards the building of a sustainable world.
Dipl.-Ing. Florian Kosche AS (DIFK)
Dipl.-Ing. Florian Kosche AS (DIFK) is an engineering company specializing in construction development and dimensioning. The company was founded in 2007, and our staff consists of highly skilled engineers with many years of combined experience. DIFK is member of RIF the Association of Consulting Engineers in Norway since 2009. In close collaboration with architects we develop structural concepts, and follow our projects closely through all stages. Through a creative design approach we aspire to create exciting architecture and stunning engineering structures. We believe that in order to create spectacular projects, close interdiciplinary collaboration is essential.
Sergio Guimaraes, email@example.com, +46 (0)72 173 3109
Oskar Norelius, firstname.lastname@example.org, +46 (0)72 158 3019
Robert Schmitz, email@example.com, +46 (0)70 374 2652
By: Sergio Guimaraes
Published: 7 June, 2016
19 May, 2016
Liselotte Hjorth is the new president of the board of directors at White Arkitekter. She is an economist with a vast experience from the finance and real estate sectors in Sweden and abroad. She is currently the head of the board at Kungsleden, East Capital Explorer and Hoist.
White is one of the largest architectural firms in Europe and is involved in many societal projects both in and out of Scandinavia.
”I am proud to be asked to take this position as president of the board at White. During the two years I have been in the board, I have had the chance of witnessing the company’s growth and development, creating engaging architecture. I look forward lead the board’s work as we become more international, strengthen the role of architecture and use our strong finances to invest in research and innovation”, says Liselott Hjorth.
White is employee-owned, has 117 partners and approximately 900 employees. The company was founded in 1951 and had a turnover of 824 million Swedish kronor last year. Also part of White’s board are Maria Wetterstrand, former leader of the Green Environmental Party and head of the Swedish governmental council for the climate goals, Magnus Thure Nilsson, CEO at Media Evolution in Malmö, White’s CEO, Monica von Schmalensee as well as five partners and employees.
For more information: Liselotte Hjorth, +49 172 685 77 23
HD press photo: http://www.white.se/press-images/
Published: 19 May, 2016
4 March, 2016
Children suffering from severe illness have a difficult life, often affected by distress and uncertainty. In many cases, these children have to leave their homes and families in order to get the healthcare they need. In five of the six Swedish regions which are responsible for healthcare in the country, there is accommodation for the relatives in the vicinity of the larger paediatric clinics.
A ground-breaking ceremony for the largest of these accommodation units in the region of Norrland – “Hjältarnas Hus” (i.e. “a home for heroes”) in Umeå – is scheduled for Friday. White Arkitekter designed this homelike facility away from difficult treatments and with no medical staff in scrubs within visual range.
Anna-Carin Dahlberg is the head of the Umeå studio of White and has extensive experience working in hospital environments. Having worked at the County Council (the Swedish public administration level responsible for healthcare in Sweden), her experience was put to good use in this project. The goal was to create a warm, comfortable environment with a healing and calm atmosphere, so that children and families can have, to the largest extent possible, a normal everyday life.
”What’s most important for us is that the house contributes to making their hospital stay less sombre. Architecturally speaking, we’re connecting the existing gate guard house with a new building. This will create a very interesting meeting between the old and the new”, says Anna-Carin.
The new building will feature rooms for overnight stays, cooking and social areas. The building can also be expanded so as to accommodate more rooms.
There is no medical treatment taking place at “Hjältarnas Hus”; only health and well-being set the tone. At the planning stage, children, parents and hospital staff had the opportunity to contribute their wishes to the architects. Those staying in this home should be able to choose between privacy, socialising in small groups or participating with bigger crowds for collective activities like music. An Exercise and Playroom is also planned with enough space to include, for instance, a treadmill, a ping-pong table and a soft rug to lie on and relax.
”Our ambition was to create a general warm, homelike impression with natural materials, soft colours and welcoming lighting in all rooms. Pleasant indoor climate and consideration for the environment and long-term sustainability were guiding parameters in our work”, says Anna-Carin.
“Hjältarnas Hus” is located in a beautiful park in the vicinity of, but without even a glimpse of the University Hospital of Umeå (NUS, in its Swedish acronym). The hospital park features space for play and relaxation and is located near large green areas. In the direct vicinity of the rooms, there will be balconies and patios where overnight guests can sit in complete privacy.
The ground-breaking ceremony this Friday will be officiated by children and youngsters associated with the Play Therapy Unit at NUS.
The Västerbotten County Council is building this home and will be rented to the association ”Hjältarnas Hus”, taking the role of operational manager. There will be a total of 15 rooms at “Hjältarnas Hus” with an estimated construction completion date in February 2017.
Contact person: Anna-Carin Dahlberg, head of White Arkitekter in Umeå, +46 (0)90-704167
High resolution press images: http://www.white.se/press-images/
By: Sergio Guimaraes
Published: 4 March, 2016
8 February, 2016
Southern Sweden’s open air baths in Karlshamn took home first prize in the category of Urban Planning, a newly established award by the Municipality of Karlshamn. White Arkitekter’s design is open to all, blending with the landscape while standing out.
The new cold baths in Karlshamn are an example of the revival of a tradition with historic roots. The city has been the previous home to several open-air baths — none of which exist today. White received the commission by the association “Karlbadhusets vänner” with the brief to design a new bath accessible to everyone.
“I already knew that the bathhouse was appreciated by the residents. Now we have this official recognition, which is very rewarding. I have a strong feeling that the bath house in Karlshamn will inspire other Swedish cities”, says architect Sven Gustafsson from White’s office in Malmö.
White’s design results in a structure that blends magnificently into the landscape and at the same time stands out with a bold symmetrical elegance. The bath house is constructed entirely of wood and accommodates two dressing rooms, two saunas and a community hall. Together with the adjacent “Väggabadet”, it equips the area with indoor, outdoor and cold baths and optimally located boasting magnificent views of the Bay of Hanö.
“The building, which is an excellent example of good Scandinavian architecture, reflects well its time, connects to the local history and helps to bring back a long-awaited feature which previously existed in the area”, the jury wrote.
For more information: *protected email*, +46 406609324.
Foto: Jonas Gustafsson
By: Ann Nilsson
Published: 8 February, 2016
5 February, 2016
“The Eyes of Runavik” is a landmark which explores historical modes of farming and settlement in an innovative way, and suits the steep terrains and the climatic conditions of Runavik in the Faroe Islands. A collaborative effort between White Arkitekter and the Norwegian engineering company DIFK/Florian Kosch, the project stands as one of four finalists of the prestigious Nordic Built Challenge.
“The Eyes of Runavik” aims to establish a harmony between nature and man-made, with low impact and high standards of economic, social and environmental sustainability. It draws inspiration from traditional Faroese agriculture, where the outfield, “hagi”, is used for summer grazing, whereas the cultivated land, “bøur”, is generally used for growing crops. Each building ring – or “eye” – can be seen as a settlement in itself, with the outfield as the landscape all around, and the infield as the cultivated microclimate in the centre.
“It’s an innovative landmark building typology adapting to the terrains in Runavik and respecting the local climatic conditions and resources. The interior garden shelters from the harsh Faroese winds, while the area surrounding individual homes remains an unspoiled wilderness”, says Mikkel Thams Olsen, architect at White’s office in Copenhagen. “To adjust to the steep terrain, individual building rings are created; each “eye” possesses a unique character while every home has a view over the fjord”.
White’s team will now move into the design development phase as the project enters the competition’s second phase.
“Nordic Built Challenge is an important competition for us. We’re happy to pool resources and expertise from White’s offices in Denmark, Norway and Sweden, bringing the strongest skills to the table. We have also been collaborating with a Norwegian engineer familiar with projects sited on this challenging terrain”, says Morten Vedelsbøl, creative director at White.
The proposal is a direct composition of Faroese context and uses local resources, such as basalt rock, water, wind, geothermal heat, vegetation and sheep wool. The aim is to make the buildings and the roads highly sustainable and harmonious with local architecture and the surrounding nature.
Contact and photos: firstname.lastname@example.org, +45 601 50 660
About Nordic Built:Nordic Built is initiated by the Nordic Ministers for Trade and Industry. It combines key Nordic strengths, provides attractive and effective arenas for collaboration and realises concrete projects that demonstrate world-class scalable solutions. http://www.nordicinnovation.org/nordicbuilt/
By: Ann Nilsson
Published: 5 February, 2016