As part of the Bjørvika Barcode neighbourhood on Oslo's waterfront, MVRDV was asked to design the headquarters of Norwegian DNB bank. The building unites workers formerly housed in 30 different offices, with the trading floor, a naturally lit space high up in the building’s heart, and an open route through the building, connecting communal spaces and facilities. The building offers maximum user quality and embodies the transparency of a modern banking institution.
Jeroen Zuidgeest has been in charge of the design development and project management at MVRDV.
The development of the new headquarter cluster is a strategic operation concentrating the DNB offices at one location, which formerly had been spread out over Oslo, aiming for synergy and a clear identity. The objective was to translate the social and democratic character of the organisation into a building with excellent working conditions and spatial qualities that would stimulate efficiency, identity and collaboration.
The structure is conceived as a steel rack wrapped in a brick skin, covering all exterior terraces, walls and ceilings, which adopts Norwegian environmental standards and gives a human scale to the building. It’s like a rock within the boundaries of the Barcode.
The design for is based on an ideal work group of the bank, a pixel of 6x6 meters, whose versatility permits adaptation to the flexible nature of the organisation. Besides more than 2,000 flexible work spaces the building contains a panoramic 140 seat canteen on the top level, the executive lounge with a view over the fjord, a board room, DNB´s trading room with 250 work stations in the heart of the building volume, and the main entrance with the reception and access to the concourse that connects to the two neighbouring volumes. The collective spaces are connected by a staggered continuous internal route of collective terraces, all being executed as glass pixels, encouraging informal meetings and communication between employees.
The route meanders from the reception upwards through the building, connecting all office levels with the communal areas. A series of wooden stairs and bridges allow employees to switch levels or even to walk the 17 levels up to the canteen on one side of the building and down on the other side. The route accommodates communal areas to the office floors and is made homely with a series of pantries and informal meeting areas. It allows access to the various outdoor terraces and roof gardens. All collective spaces are designed as glass pixels allowing views on the surroundings and vice versa. The route is naturally ventilated and has a high-performance glass fit for the Norwegian winter.
At street level the building volume is opened to give space to sheltered entrance zones, and intersected by a public passage creating a public route between Oslo Central Station and the fjord. The pixelated design allows this specific response whilst being highly efficient and flexible. As a result, every floor of the building is both unique and generic at the same time.
Photography: Jiri Havran, Jeroen Musch