Danish firm Henning Larsen Architects (HLA) have won a competition to design the new Nordea Bank and trading floor location with their proposal to create a versatile, multi-use space that integrates interior and exterior environments, in a complex of sustainable buildings expected to attain LEED Platinum certification. The 40,000 square meter complex will include some serious office space, including Scandinavia's largest trading floor. Although the environment will be packed with busy workers, rolling digital ticker displays and computer screens, HLA's medium-scale concept provides an open-plan interior which promotes collaboration while offering peaceful views of open green space.
The winning design adds to Henning Larsen Architects’ recent string of successful bids – the eminent Danish firm also won a competition to design a new theater and zoo entrance in Emmen. Their concept for the Nordea Bank, while visually very different, incorporates similar stylistic innovations and holistic sustainable design solutions. To ensure the energy efficiency of the new bank, HLA simulated energy consumption through studies of “volumes, materials, room heights, light and shadow, noise, wind and feasibility of indoor and outdoor spaces.” Once solar cell systems are installed, the building will have an energy consumption of 18.8 kWh per meter squared per year.
Working with landscape architects SLA and with workspace design by Signal Architects, HLA have applied their holistic approach to the building’s interaction with both those outside on the street, and the many workers who will fill the 40,000 sq meter structure. Organized as a “city — offering quiet, more intimate places as well as squares and streets full of life and activity,” the bank’s first stage of construction will consist of two buildings placed atop one single open-plan ground floor base. Office floors are placed on higher levels of the minimal structure so as to ensure the openness and walk-ability of the complex as workers navigate between buildings and greenery filled spaces. The exterior of the structure will feature a sloping park landscape across the south facade of the building. HLA’s Design Director, Louis Becker explained “Nordea’s new building interacts with the city, opens up and invites for activity at different levels. It will be a place in the City that offers activity inside as well as outside.”
The upper level offices are similarly versatile. Comprised of open-plan offices and private meeting spaces, they provide a range of working spaces to allow individuals access to the environment which best suits their style and needs. Light-filled rooms are carefully shaded to ensure energy-efficiency while providing natural surroundings for the 1800-2200 employees of the financial institution who will work in the new facility. The jury for the invitational competition declared that Henning Larsen Architects‘ winning design “relates to the urban context and in all ways constitutes a beautifully designed and convincing office building. The proposal is innovative and challenges the surroundings and Nordea, but also to a certain degree represents a both recognisable and robust architecture.” Work on the new Nordea Bank is scheduled to begin next year, with inauguration planned for 2016.
All images © Henning Larsen Architects