OMA has completed the first of two towers that comprise ‘norra tornen’ — a residential complex in hagastaden, a new district in the north of stockholm. titled ‘innovationen tower’, the building’s design is the expression of a modular system of precast exposed concrete elements. the structure, which rises to a total height of 125 meters (410 feet), contains 182 units ranging from one-bedroom apartments to a penthouse on the top floor.

 

designboom was invited to tour the building, where OMA partner reinier de graaf presented ‘innovationen tower’ alongside oscar engelbert, CEO of development firm oscar properties, karin björnsdotter wanngård, mayor of stockholm, torleif falk, stockholm’s city architect, and ines coppoolse, the ambassador of the netherlands to sweden.

OMA norra tornen
the building is the first of two towers that will comprise the ‘norra tornen’ development
image by laurian ghinitoiu, courtesy of OMA (also main image)

 

 

‘innovationen tower’ has been conceived by OMA and reinier de graaf as a tribute to brutalist architecture, which, according to architecture critic reyner banham, was invented in sweden. with a wall-to-floor ratio coming close to 1 the design would have probably discouraged most developers (for a tower, it rarely goes above 0.5). however, oscar properties recognized that, in a country with scarce daylight for half of the year, the extra square meters of windows and multiple orientations for each apartment would be a precious asset. indeed, all of the 182 apartments were sold before construction even broke ground.

OMA norra tornen
the development is located in hagastaden, a new district in the north of stockholm
image by laurian ghinitoiu, courtesy of OMA

 

 

‘the norra tornen project represents a milestone achievement for us: the culmination of an ongoing effort by our office to create the next generation of modern housing typologies, creating the largest possible variety from a limited number of (prefabricated) elements, allowing the usual formalism of the apartment tower to give way to individuality, domesticity… and perhaps even humanism,’ says reinier de graaf.

OMA norra tornen
the design is the expression of a modular system of precast exposed concrete elements
image by laurian ghinitoiu, courtesy of OMA

 

 

‘the norra tornen project started with two inherited building envelopes, the remains of a cancelled project initiated by the former city architect aleksander wolodarski,’ de graaf explains. ‘each a kind of ‘crescendo’ composition of different heights – neither slab nor tower – prohibit the unfolding of an uncompromised typology. conversely, the opted program, apartments with an emphasis on large outdoor spaces, prevented too literal a translation of the envelopes into architectural form.’

OMA norra tornen
the structure contains a total of 182 units
image by ossip van duivenbode, courtesy of OMA

 

 

‘through a kind of ‘freudian flight forward’ — a passionate embrace of the inevitable in order to conquer and overcome one’s initial fears — the prescribed building envelope was adopted as a given,’ continues the OMA partner. ‘its initial vertical segmentation was complemented by a second, horizontal segmentation that gives the buildings’ exterior a single, homogeneous treatment: a rough skin, formed through an alternating pattern of withdrawn outdoor spaces and protruding living rooms.’

OMA norra tornen
balconies offer sweeping views across the city below
image © designboom

 

 

‘the chosen material, ribbed colored concrete brushed with exposed multi-colored aggregate pebbles, echoes brutalist architecture and that is not by chance,’ de graaf states. ‘according to architecture critic reyner banham, the term brutalist architecture was invented by hans asplund, the son of gunnar asplund, when referring to a design of his studio colleagues in a letter to his british architect friends.concrete at norra tornen comes in the form of prefabricated panels — a construction technique that allows work on the building site to continue even below the five-degree celsius limit which prohibits in situ concrete pouring. prefabrication also significantly reduced construction costs.’

OMA norra tornen
the tower’ has been conceived as a tribute to brutalist architecture
image © designboom

 

 

the residences are complemented by a cinema room, a dinner room for parties and celebrations, a guest apartment, a gym with a sauna, and a relaxation area. ‘innovationen tower’, which is the highest residential building in stockholm’s city center, will be joined by ‘helix tower’ at the end of 2019 — completing the norra tornen project. the development is the result of a land allocation competition held by the city of stockholm in 2013, which was won by oscar properties. the inauguration is part of a one day event that includes the opening of another project commissioned by oscar properties — BIG’s ’79&park’. see designboom’s coverage here.

OMA norra tornen
looking down from one of the high-rise’s apartments
image © designboom

OMA norra tornen
all apartments were sold before construction even broke ground
image by laurian ghinitoiu, courtesy of OMA

OMA norra tornen
the lobby and reception area at ground level
image by laurian ghinitoiu, courtesy of OMA

OMA norra tornen
the structure rises to a total height of 125 meters (410 feet)
image © designboom

OMA norra tornen
large windows embrace and activate the building at ground level
image by laurian ghinitoiu, courtesy of OMA

OMA norra tornen
the tower also includes a gym with a sauna and a relaxation area
image by ossip van duivenbode, courtesy of OMA

OMA norra tornen
the building will be joined by a second tower, which is scheduled to complete next year
image by ossip van duivenbode, courtesy of OMA

OMA norra tornen
OMA partner reinier de graaf led the project’s design
image © designboom

 

 

project info:

 

name: norra tornen
competition: 2013
construction start: december 2015
occupancy: september 2018
client: oscar properties
address: torsplan 8, 113 65 stockholm, sweden
program: 320 apartments, retail
partner in charge: reinier de graaf

 

concept
associate: alex de jong
team: philippe braun, diana cristobal, roza matveeva, edward nicholson, peter rieff, carolien schippers

 

competition
associate: alex de jong
team: alexander giarlis, timur karimullin, vladimir konovalov, edward nicholson, victor nyman, vitor oliveira, cecilia del pozo, john paul pacelli, peter rieff, carolien schippers

 

design development
associates in charge: alex de jong, michel van de kar
team: isa olson ehn, tobias jewson, edward nicholson, peter rieff, silvia sandor, lukasz skalec, jonathan telkamp

 

collaborators
structural engineer: arup
mechanical engineer: arup
façade engineer: arup façade engineering local engineer: sweco
fire safety: tyréns AB
acoustics: ACAD
fire safety: tyréns
code consultants: tengbom

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