White Arkitekter designs a new ‘living room’ for the city of Växjö with wood and glass dominating the structure
With its proposal “Under one roof” White Arkitekter has 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."
Commenting on the project Klara Frosterud, Lead Architect at White Arkitekter said: “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 the City Hall and the station, creating a space that unites travellers, visitors to City Hall and local residents under one roof.”
The 14,000 sq m 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.
Klara Frosterud went on to say: “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.”
The compact volume is strategically adapted to the city scale. Towards the north and east the volume is takes shape as a two storey 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.
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