An invited competition to redesign the Forus West campus of major energy company Statoil based in Stavanger, Norway to provide work places for 3,500 employees has been won by the Swedish firm Wingårdhs for its progressive design dubbed ‘E=mc2’.
Wingårdhs bested shortlisted teams Snohetta (Norway) and Helen & Hard Norway) with SAHAA (Norway); Foster + Partners (UK) with Space Group (Norway); and OMA (the Netherlands). OMA withdrew from the competition before the final judging.
The jury, which included four Statoil employees and three architects, said the Wingårdhs project, with its distinctive shape, has good potential to be a landmark and a point of reference in the Forus area. They also noted that it 'coexists with the existing Forus West building in the best possible way'.
Wingårdhs proposal takes the form of an ellipse. The building volume is chamfered, falling from a 16-storey height towards the ground floor facing south to take advantage of solar access. The sloping south-facing roof is made of glass and solar panels with recessed terraces that give the building a distinctive shape.
Parking facilities with an overhead sports hall are located under an undulating roof surface along Vassbotnen. As required by the program, the building is designed to Passive Haus standards. And whilst no calculations have been done to support this the jury believes the project has great potential to achieve these energy objectives.
According to the jury, the office and work areas are solved in an inspiring, clear and forward-looking manner. All work spaces are on the building’s perimeter to take advantage of natural light and views. At the core of the building are three atria, service elevators and staircases.
Because of the building’s sloped shape, the office floors get progressively smaller toward the top. This results in different group sizes and identities which the jury saw as a positive feature. This treatment also means the atria are becoming fewer and cropped differently on each floor which contributes to variation and results in exciting spatial sequences.
While the jury was effusively positive about the scheme, they said the design has some fire safety challenges that can be solved. These challenges include the glazing in the atria and at the forefront of the terraced office spaces against the glass ceiling in the south.
"The jury sees the potential for the project to be a distinct identity carrier for Statoil, which will both strengthen the Forus area and give Statoil employees pride and inspiration. The project has a significant innovative nature through advanced technological solutions, which fits well with Statoil as a leading technology company," it was concluded.