Schmidt hammer lassen architects have just won the competition for a new zero-energy administration building of the Municipality of Aarhus. The competition, involving six architecture firms, was won in collaboration with the contractor E. Pihl & Son, Engineers Grontmij / Carl Bro and GHB Landscape Architects.
Schmidt hammer lassen architects has taken the environmental ambitions of the municipality of Aarhus as a key driver for the project and created a zero-energy office building, the first of its kind in Denmark. The building has 1,100 m2 of solar cells for the production of electricity, 420 m2 of solar thermal panels for absorption cooling and heating water, and rainwater harvesting for reuse in lavatories and for watering.
“This is a genuine sustainable design. For instance, we use recycled glass for the facades and reuse 96 % of the materials from the demolished building on site. Moreover, it has been crucial to us to keep the design on a human scale to offer the best possible physical conditions to the users,” said architect John Lassen, partner of schmidt hammer lassen architects.
The new building for 240 staff and their clients will be built as an extension to the municipality’s existing administration office dating from 1965. The complex will be situated on a hillside in the southern part of the city and be highly visible from the passing intercity road.
The access to the new building will go through an existing alley of unique and beautiful plane trees. The overall proposal is based on the qualities of the old buildings and the preserved charming garden. Even before it is built, the new complex is already equipped with garden spaces, trees and plants that it would otherwise take decennials to grow.
The full complex will appear as a fully integrated classic modern composition. The new extension is an independent unit consisting of two parallel wings of 2-3-storey buildings connected by towers concentrating stairs, elevators, lavatories and washrooms. Consequently, the office areas are liberated from functional units and are flexible to any sort of organization. Three gardens are placed between the two wings to draw nature into the building and enable the employees to follow the seasons from their desks.
The new project is part of the schmidt hammer lassen strategy to focus their Architecture on sustainable design. The company is currently working on two other office building projects with a clear focus on sustainability.
The “Crystal”, a new head office of Nykredit in Copenhagen, is a 6,800 m2 crystalline structure which manages to combine a completely transparent building with an energy consumption of 25 % less than the present energy legislation. Photovoltaic panels on the roof producing 80,000 kWh per year is one of the features to lower consumption.
The 42,000 m2 mixed-use office complex Amazon Court in Prague, Czech Republic, incorporates a range of sustainable design solutions. Throughout the design process, there has been close collaboration with engineers in order to reduce the building’s energy consumption to about 50% less than that of a standard office. This building is soon to be inaugurated.