IT-Fornebu Portal building / A-Lab

© Terje Løchen, Løchen Media Web

Architects: A-Lab
Location: Fornebu, Norway
Partners in Charge: Odd Klev, Geir Haaversen, Adnan Harambasic
Design team: Jan Petter Seim, Tonje Løvdahl, Tor Inge Hjemdal, Jarand Midtgaard, Inger Totland
Client: IT-Fornebu Eiendom
Landscape design: Asplan Viak
Structural engineer: Rambøll Norge AS (competition phase: Arup)
Electro: Føyn Consult
Ventilation: Norconsult
Project Area: 28,000 sqm
Budget: 500 mill NOK
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Luis Fonseca

general plan

The building is located in Fornebu, the former Oslo Airport, Norway. The new Portal building is an extension to the old Airport Terminal building housing the Business and incubation centre for information technology companies; IT-Fornebu. The Fornebu area is experiencing a surge in development, transforming a previously Airport into a new city-wide destination for business. The IT-Fornebu Portal building consists of approximately 28000 m2, was developed by the IT-Fornebu Eiendom and designed by architects.

A-Lab was commissioned to develop the building, after winning the competition in 2004.

© Luis Fonseca


In 1998 the Old Fornebu airport closed after 60 years of function. A platform of possibilities was left open for new fields of investment. The new Business centre for information technology was created then by the IT Fornebu AS group responsible for administering and developing the IT Fornebu vision. Therefore it was required that the design of Portalbuilding would combine the vision of the new Fornebu Business centre and establish an efficient and flexible cluster of offices in the area.


In the design A-lab prioritised people. The design criteria’s were to reduce volume and waste, provide an effective, efficient and healthy workplace, enhance communications and give a flexible layout. We believe that successful organizations are made of people who are connected and inspired, who learn through collaboration, share ideas and are motivated towards excellence. We imagined a place where people are present and engaged in mind and body.

exploded axo

The building supports the development and transmission of knowledge, skills, values and ideas, as well as the opportunity for companies to express their own identity.


How to make a speculative office building respond to ultimate typological efficiency? How can a building be flexible in order to adapt to several plan typologies? How can an office plan be adjusted to different organization criteria’s, from the smallest office unit to large corporate companies? How to reconcile both the developer’s economic requirements for a spec office with the architects vision?

flexibility diagram


The main concept was to strip and divide the program into independent architectonic elements, clearly defined by function, in order to gain maximal flexibility and distinct architectural identity. A continuous base resolves the height difference of the terrain between the main street and the existing Terminal building, and forms a multifunctional floor for the Portal building. The project consists of four glazed office blocks, where light, views and acoustics are optimal, four stone clad supply towers and the public Hub covered in “mandarin red” aluminum composite panels, lifted over the main entrance.

© Luis Fonseca


The four office blocks have a rectangular and rational form and are relieved of all the internal cores and vertical structure allowing an efficient and flexible internal organisation, based on a flexible open floor, a tabula rasa plan, where different users can define and design their special necessities, with a variety of possibilities. Each office block has 5 floors with a total area of 3,750 sqm.

The structure is put outside the exterior façade. It is shaped as a diagonal structure around the block and is attached every 4,8 meters with a joint through the façade to the floor beams.

© Luis Fonseca

All shared functions such as vertical communication, technical services and wet cores are placed in intermediate towers, detached from the working areas. The towers are designed as closed massive monoliths, where the program that does not need daylight or views is located.

The free-form orange Hub is an exception and has a clear identity, it acts as a strategic element that glues all the activities, highlights the synergy between the existing terminal Building and the new It-Fornebu Portalbuilding.

Cite: "IT-Fornebu Portal building / A-Lab" 21 Jan 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • raúl

    Does it transforms to a giant robot?

    • INawe

      hahaha… that’s epic

  • munibazo
  • Kaffilars

    Its even worse IRL. I promise you.

  • Nicholas Patten

    Colorful: IT-Fornebu Portal building.

  • WPstudios

    RT @nicholaspatten Colorful: IT-Fornebu Portal building.

  • Alucobond Europe

    The hub was realized with Alucobond….