This façade in Oslo made from recycled aluminum saves up to six times the amount of CO2 emissions
”And its green roof has become northern Europe’s largest roof garden with edible plants,” tells Dark Arkitekter’s CEO Arne Myklestad.
17 Jan 2022

As part of the transdisciplinary Dark Design Group, with more than 160 designers in 5 locations, Dark Arkitekter won the design competition for Økern Portal in 2011. Their proposal, Arne Myklestad tells, was to create a green ”courtyard” and a portal between the residential development of the Løren area and a future commercial development of Økern.

— Instead of placing an office building in the middle of the site, he tells, Økern Portal would relate to the surrounding roads and create an internal park as a reference to the classical European urban, residential typologies. The idea was to create an office building that would create 3,000 new jobs in an area under development, but at the same time give back a green, public space to the neighbourhood. During the process of developing the project, more qualities were added to support the concept, resulting in an 80,000 m2 office building that leaves an area equal to the site available to the public through the courtyard park and a 7,000 m2 green roof. What also makes it unique, in addition to its innovative working environment and focus on sustainability, is the green roof that has become northern Europe’s largest roof garden with edible plants. The building’s 9 restaurants serve food made from vegetables grown on the roof, and there are also parcel gardens available to the public for urban farming. The whole project is extremely complex, and wouldn’t have been possible to design without close cooperation between architect, interior architect Zinc, and landscape architect Lark.

Photograpghy: Roger Hølmen

Økern Portal is covered with 14,600 m2 of façades made of a special aluminum called Hydro Circal by German manufacturer Wicona, a subsidiary of leading Norwegian company Hydro. The European average of emissions is 8.6 kg of CO2 per kg of aluminum. Globally, the average is 18 kg. With Hydro Circal, this number decreases to around 2.0 kg of CO2 for each kg of aluminum, the lowest CO2 emissions on the market, and it saves six times the amount of carbon.

— The façade is made from recycled aluminum — Hydro Circal is made from post-consumer scrap, with 75 % reused aluminum, Arne Myklestad tells.

How do you work with sustainability in your other projects?

— We are currently moving away from using the word ”sustainability”, and instead focusing on more concrete applications within the concept. In our planning and urbanism projects, the social dimensions and ”livability” are important to create structures that don’t fill the need for housing or offices but that prevent loneliness and enrich the lives of its inhabitants. We are increasingly working with upcycling and direct reuse of materials, and we always try to incorporate nature in our projects for biodiversity, stormwater management, and a ”softer” approach to urbanism. We are also working with several innovative projects for eco-tourism, like Vju hytta, to reduce the impact of tourism on the natural environment. We have also designed Norway’s first BREEM Communities project in 2020 Park, which has received BREEAM Outstanding status. We also just completed, and moved into, Spor X, a 10 story massive wood building in Drammen, which is made from locally sourced trees in cooperation with Splitkon. As most of the buildings of the future are already constructed, our Redesign department is growing and about 30 % of all our projects are transformation of existing buildings into new uses, Myklestad concludes.