various architects: skagen okontor
various architects: skagen okontor various architects: skagen okontor
jan 20, 2010

various architects: skagen okontor

skagen okontor by various architects all images courtesy various architects

norwegian firm various architects together with engineers from ramboll UK  and pollen architecture, USA have designed skagen okontor (‘eco-office’) as a model for sustainable low-energy/low embedded carbon office buildings that are suited to the nordic climate. with a calculated net energy consumption of 72 kWhr the okontor is the most sustainable office building currently planned in norway. the project was recently shown at cop15 climate change conference in copenhagen.

the building’s wooden facade of individually operable insulated shutters is it’s most visible and dynamic feature. floor height shutters can be opened during the day to allow in daylight and passive solar heat, or closed after sunset on cold days for added insulation. the shutters can transform the facade from 60% to 20% window area. the inside surface of the shutters are tiled with LED lights to produce artificial daylight during the dark winter months to help provide a well-lit and healthy working environment year round. the insulated shutters are calculated to provide an additional 15% savings on heating yearly.

the natural resources of the seafront site are all carefully utilized by the design. 4 quiet revolution wind turbines on the roof provide 24.000 kWhr of clean energy (10% of the building’s energy demand). the windy and often overcast weather on the norwegian west coast, combined with long dark winter nights made wind a more efficient alternative to solar panels in this case. the sun is controlled for solar shading and passive heat in the west facing atrium space, and through the many south facingwindows. sea water is used as an energy source for both heating and cooling via water cooled heat pumps and sea water free cooling. this, coupled with high efficiency air heat recovery, demand led controls, and high levels of thermal insulation have significantly reduced the thermal plant demand. natural ventilation is possible for most of the year, with cooling through refrigeration only necessary when sea water temperatures are at their peak (no more than 4-8 weeks a year). green roof surfaces collect and filter the area’s prodigious rainfall in rooftop water tanks for use in low-water fixtures and fittings, reducing the need to waste treated water.

low embodied carbon materials were chosen where possible to reduce the project’s overall CO2 footprint. a structural system of cross-laminated timber (CLT) panel walls and floors was chosen for being locally sourced with a high level of carbon sequestration. CLT represents a significant reduction in embodied CO2 compared to a traditionalconcrete or steel frame. the building exterior and insulated shutters are clad in kebony, a norwegian wood product that is sustainable, low-maintenance, and suitable for the exposed seaside climate.

model of skagen okontor (‘eco-office’)

‘we wanted to present the developer with an environmentally friendly alternative for their site that was both innovative and buildable. this design is site specific, but it contains many concepts that can be applied elsewhere in the nordic countries.’ – jim dodson, partner at various architects.


site plan

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    architecture news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    502,534 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample