nordic – office of architecture has expanded oslo airport with a new terminal that has received the world’s first BREEAM ‘excellent’ sustainability rating for an airport building. the 115,000 square meter expansion doubles the size of the existing terminal and includes a new 300 meter-long pier. nordic, who designed the original airport in 1998, also updated the existing railway station, enabling 70% of all passengers to access the site by public transport.

 

to understand more, we spoke with the architects behind the project who discussed the vast development in more detail. read our interview in full below, and see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here.

oslo airport nordic office of architecture interview
the terminal is the world’s first airport building to receive a BREEAM ‘excellent’ sustainability rating
image by knut ramstad (main image by ivan brodey)

 

 

nordic’s design increases airport capacity from 19 million passengers to an anticipated future capacity of 30 million. pedestrian flow has also been improved with a maximum walking distance of just 450 meters, much shorter than most airports. from an environmental standpoint, the scheme harvests as much on-site energy as possible. during wintertime, snow from the runways is collected and stored in a depot to be used as coolant in the summer.

oslo airport nordic office of architecture interview
the 115,000 square meter expansion doubles the size of the existing terminal
image by ivan brodey

 

 

natural materials have been used throughout the project. the new pier is entirely clad in timber sourced from scandinavian forests, while recycled steel and environmentally friendly concrete mixed with volcanic ash have also been used. consequently, the building’s carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced by 35%. enhanced levels of insulation mean the project has achieved passive house level performance standards, with energy consumption in the new expansion cut by more than 50% compared to the existing terminal.

oslo airport nordic office of architecture interview
natural materials have been used throughout the project
image by knut ramstad

 

 

throughout the scheme, a strong emphasis has been put on passenger comfort and well-being. for example, artificial lighting is used only as a minimal supplement to high levels of natural daylight, and can be set to reflect different moods according to weather, season, and time of day. meanwhile, the terminal’s compact and transparent layout enhances visual legibility and wayfinding. green walls and water features bring to mind scandinavian forests, while retail outlets have been conceived as organic stone forms associated with the norwegian landscape.

oslo airport nordic office of architecture interview
recycled steel and environmentally friendly concrete have been used throughout
image by ivan brodey

 

 

designboom: can you start by explaining the brief you were given for this project?

 

nordic: the aim was to improve capacity, to handle a passenger increase from 19 to 30 million passengers per year, whilst improving passenger flow through the airport and introducing high level of sustainability and passenger well-being. another key element of the brief was to update the integrated train station improving usage of public transport.

oslo airport nordic office of architecture interview
the design increases airport capacity from 19 million to 30 million passengers
image by dag spant

 

 

DB: how did it feel to return to the site 18 years after you completed the original airport?

 

nordic: we actually never stopped working on that project. throughout the years there has been a series of limited extensions and refurbishments, and we entered the international competition for the new expansion in 2008. it was an honor to win the competition so we were able to complete our original vision.

oslo airport nordic office of architecture interview
the terminal has a maximum walking distance of just 450 meters
image by knut ramstad

 

 

DB: how much of the airport design has changed since 1998?

 

nordic: there have been surprisingly few alterations made to the original design. we continued the timeless architectural expression and rational simplicity of the original airport. for the new expansion sustainability principles are embedded throughout the design. energy requirements will be extremely low due to the use of ground source heat technology to provide heating and the use of snow from the airport’s snow storage depot as coolant during summer.

oslo airport nordic office of architecture interview
the building’s carbon dioxide emissions have been reduced by 35%
image by ivan brodey

 

 

nordic (continued): enhanced levels of insulation and low air infiltration enable the project to achieve exemplary, passive house level energy performance standards. to enhance passenger well-being we introduced green walls and water features which are suggestive of scandinavian forests, the retail units in the new duty free areas in the departures area are conceived as organic stone forms associated with norwegian landscapes. the new departures hall on the second floor repeats the original terminal’s distinctive use of structural glulam roof beams, a reference to the local tradition for finely crafted timber engineering.

oslo airport nordic office of architecture interview
artificial lighting is only used to supplement high levels of natural daylight
image by ivan brodey

 

 

DB: how important was integrating the airport’s railway station as part of the scheme?

 

nordic: part of our holistic approach to sustainability was to integrate the train station and increase public transport usage. with the upgraded train station, 70% of all passengers now access the airport via public transport, which is astonishingly high compared to other airports.

oslo airport nordic office of architecture interview
lighting can be set to reflect different moods according to weather, season, and time of day
image by dag spant

 

 

DB: what kind of research and analysis goes into a project like this?

 

nordic: with infrastructure projects of this size, there is a lot of detailed research involved. we collaborated with a lot of experts. ranging from traffic forecasts, logistic simulations, sustainability simulations, passenger experience surveys, as well technical research, focus on improved passenger flows, energy consumption, and the overall carbon footprint.

oslo airport nordic office of architecture interview
retail outlets have been conceived as organic stone forms associated with the norwegian landscape
image by ivan brodey

 

 

DB: is there one aspect of the expansion you are particularly proud of?

 

nordic: the team was delighted that we won competition and were able to complete our original vision. the expansion is now embedded in the overall airport and is perceived as one holistic concept rather than an add on. we fulfilled the client’s expectations and delivered the project within time and budget – all whilst the airport remained fully operational. the airport was awarded the most punctual airport in europe during construction. our holistic and creative approach to sustainability has been awarded with BREEAM excellent.

oslo airport nordic office of architecture interview
the terminal’s compact and transparent layout enhances visual legibility and wayfinding
image by knut ramstad

oslo airport nordic office of architecture interview
enhanced levels of insulation mean the project has achieved passive house level performance standards
image by ivan brodey

oslo airport nordic office of architecture interview
snow from the runways is collected and stored in a depot to be used as coolant in the summer
image by ivan brodey

oslo airport nordic office of architecture interview
the new terminal building at oslo airport
image by knut ramstad

 

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