WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange immediately came to mind when we first saw this cavernous yet light-filled internet provider facility buried 30 meters below the earth. Built amidst the stark granite rock of Stockholm's Vita Berg Park, what was once an anti-atomic shelter has been transformed into a semi-modern office building. Albert France-Lanord Architects left much of the shelter undisturbed in order to capitalize on the rock's powerful presence, and then took over other parts with small spotlights, plants, and technology.
This is definitely one of the most interesting examples of creative re-use that we’ve ever seen. AF-L (A) wanted to treat the rock as a living organism to which the humans had to adjust. They achieved this in part by wrapping circular offices in glass so that there is very little visual distinction between the office and the rock outside. In other cases, they had to clear out some of the rock in order to install the internet provider’s servers and other equipment. A long tunnel permits daylighting from outside, which is then buttressed with small spotlights illuminating select areas. And finally, loads of plants and shrubbery not only improve the subterranean air quality, but must also help the employees feel less claustrophrobic working so far below ground.