Element Architects scooped up all kinds of awards for their Teacher's House in Norway, which features an artsy silkscreen façade designed by acclaimed artist Jorunn Sannes, as well as a host of groundbreaking energy-saving technologies. Constrained by existing historical structures on either side of what is now the conference block for Norway's Teacher's Union, the designers sat in 75 meetings before the design was finalized and construction was allowed to proceed. But this caution has definitely paid off. Step inside for a closer look at how Element and Jan Petter Dybdahl created their soon-to-be energy-positive urban marvel.
As it stands, Teacher’s House (also known as the jewelry box) will rely on state energy supplies for about 50-100 peak hours a year, which isn’t much given the building’s northern latitude. So how is this possible? First, tubes that have been incorporated into the decks and concrete staircases circulate warm and cold water – depending on the time of year. Solar energy is collected through the southwestern façade and then stored in 10 energy wells 150-200 meters deep that are situated in the backyard. Lights, projectors and pumps run on electricity.
Eventually the heat pumps will be replaced with CO2 pumps which are far more efficient, using 1/6th of the energy consumed by their predecessors. This will bring the project’s annual energy consumption down to a measly 50 kw/h per square meter. LED tubes have also been incorporated into the main staircase and outdoor ceilings, further driving down energy consumption. Eventually, Element expects this to be a slightly energy-positive project.
The double-paned silkscreen façade was perfected by the same artist who is responsible for the Library in Alexandria designed by Snøhetta. In addition to symbolizing the importance of art in education and casting fascinating shadows, this beautiful addition acts as a sunscreen. There’s more to this design than meets the eye. We encourage you to dig deeper.
all images by Element