In Progress: Statoil / a-lab

© Jiri Havran

Architect: a-lab Location: Oslo, Norway Client: IT-Fornebu Eiendom Landscape Design: Østengen & Bergo Structural Engineer: Norconsult M&E Services: Electro : Føyn Consult / Ventilation : Norconsult Build Cost: 1,500 mill NOK Project Area: 117,000 sqm Photographs: Jiri Havran, Luis Fonseca

In Progress: Statoil / a-lab - More Images+ 18

Construction continues apace on Statoil’s new office at Fornebu, Oslo. Since January Skanska Norway have been progressing the above-ground works, building the superstructure at a rate of about one office lamella per month. Each lamell is 140m long and 12,5m/3 storeys high. Whilst the steel truss sections for the upper lamellas are being lifted into place by Northern Europe’s largest mobile crane, prefabricated façade elements produced in central Sweden are being mounted on the lower lamellas.

© Jiri Havran

Steel superstructure Each 140m truss is divided into 5 sections. Each 100 tonne section is welded together on site using prefabricated steel members that are delivered by lorry from Finland. The sections are then welded together in situ, inside welding “nests” hanging high up in the superstructure, before the temporary underpinning is removed. The steel subcontractor is the Finnish Ruukki corporation.

Facades The prefabricated façade is being delivered by Flex facades from Sweden using bespoke profiles from Schüco. Each element spans one storey and is 3m wide. The geometry of the facades has been developed to allow for fully integrated external solar shading. This has introduced a verticality to the façade which is solved with a continuous vertical cover profile every meter. These provide fixing for the cladding cassettes and a guide track for the blinds. The glazed panels are triple-glazed units with a U-value of 0,6 W/(m²K).

The scale and drama of the spaces created under the cantilevers is breathtaking and points in the direction of a remarkable achievement for both the client, IT Fornebu, and the architect, A-lab. The project won the Future commercial prize at the 2009 World Architecture Festival. Total area approx. 115 000 sqm, including 65 500 sqm above ground office space and 50, 000 below ground parking and technical areas.

© Luis Fonseca

The design for Statoil regional office building is a linear display of the tenants is an ambitious and courageous project. The building is located in Fornebu, in the former Oslo Airport Norway, house for the new Business centre for information technology companies, The area is experiencing a surge in development, transforming a previously Airport into a new city-wide destination for business. The Statoil regional office has approximately 65,500 m2, is been developed by the IT-Fornebu Eiendom and designed by A-lab architects. a-lab was commissioned to develop the building, after winning the competition in 2008, competing against 45 other projects.


Ambitions How to minimize the massive impact of 65 500m2 in the area? How to create a building that not just responds to the contextual issues, but that is capable of introducing a new impulse in IT-Fornebu? How to create a new identity/ icon for Statoil? Can we turn the constraints into exciting conditions? Can we create an office machine with the qualities providing an effective, efficient and healthy workplace, enhance communications and give a flexible layout?


Criteria The collocation project represents the beginning of a new era for Statoil’s international operations, joining disparate parts of the organisation, currently housed in several different locations with Oslo, in one office. The building design draws on the oil industry’s own construction forms and techniques. By setting extremely challenging energy requirements for the building, Statoil aims to lead Norway and the world in a new generation of energy conscious office buildings. The physical manifestation of these requirements ultimately result in an iconic building solution, creating a new landmark within the Oslo fjord landscape.

Concept In the design a-lab prioritized the synergy of the volume and the context. One of the main preconditions for the scheme is that the footprint has to fit inside the footprint of the existing multi-story car-park. This is achieved by breaking the homogenous office program into five equally sized lamellas, itch are dimensioned in order to get the most flexible office plans. The stacking of these then creates sight-lines between an minimizes the visual impact of the height required to fit the program within the tight site area. The primacy of the park is ensured by allowing the office lamellas to cantilever beyond the basic footprint. The in-between space created by the staking of the lamellas, is transformed in to a public covered “square” where all the activities came across. Is a monumental atrium, accommodating the public programs and the main circulation.


In the Façade, the further sub-division into prefabricated elements each in turn composed of 15 “pixels” introduces a human scale whilst simultaneously creating a pattern linked to the structure, legible as a “giant-order” from afar.The office machine provides innumerable possibilities for configuring the workspace, both at the individual level and as a whole within the organisation. The arrangement of the social cores within the overall framework of the circulation promotes positive interaction between employees, teams and departments. Optimalisation of the facades ensures the visual connection with the surrounding landscape, fjord and city in the distance.


Constraints The tight constraints of the actual site and footprint generate the dramatic volumetric composition. The extremely compressed procurement timescale (completion September 2012) is already leading to the development of new methods for prefabricating low U-value facades on a large scale, somewhat ironically using some materials and methods from the aerospace industry.



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Cite: Christopher Henry. "In Progress: Statoil / a-lab" 08 Sep 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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