In the historic industrial area by the river Akerselva in Oslo, Norway, Snøhetta has designed a building that explores the possibilities of the future in ventilation. Named Vertikal Nydalen, the building is a pilot in a research project on more sustainable ventilation and energy solutions and is the very first mixed-use building in Norway with naturally ventilated offices. It results from an interdisciplinary collaboration between engineers and architects and uses innovative architectural and technical solutions. Compared to traditional mechanical ventilation, naturally ventilated offices have less need for remodeling and maintenance and can potentially give a better experience for the users.
The 18-floor building hosts restaurants at street level, offices on the following five floors, and apartments on top. Each of the building's 40 apartments is unique, the sizes range from 44 sqm to 143 sqm with a variety of layouts. At the top of the two buildings, Snøhetta has designed roof terraces with a panoramic view of the city and a selection of plants that stimulates micro-habitats for endangered species.
2 Applied research
Vertikal Nydalen is the result of experiences and knowledge from the research project supported by The Research Council of Norway with 13 participants from the Norwegian construction industry. The ambition is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the construction industry by developing concepts, technologies, and strategies for natural ventilation. The project investigates the possibilities of reducing the use of energy and costs while creating high architectural qualities and maintaining a good indoor climate without mechanical ventilation.
3 Volume and ventilation
The design of the building has a central role in the natural ventilation solution. The volume is designed to create pressure differences that enable the air to move through the premises without mechanical fans. A generous ceiling height is also important for natural ventilation. Vertikal Nydalen is therefore built with offices with a height of 3,4 meters and apartments with 3,1 meters.
Traditional office buildings have a suspended ceiling of up to one meter to make room for ducts. Vertikal Nydalen uses the same space for light and air, and to create a good spatial experience.
The apartments are ventilated with vents in the facades and exhaust fans in the bathrooms and kitchen. The heat from the exhaust air is used to heat water. The restaurant area has a hybrid ventilation solution that allows for natural ventilation in parts of the year.
4 Triple zero
The building has achieved a 'triple zero solution', which means that no energy is purchased for heating, cooling, and ventilation. This is achieved by using geothermal wells, PV panels, and a low-exergy system for heating and cooling as well as natural ventilation. The building is a FutureBuilt pilot project and is certified according to BREEAM NOR, with the ambition of level Excellent for the office area.