Landscape architects: Land Arkitektur, Stockholm (SE)
Façade: NBK, Emmerich (DE)
Terracotta XXL: Heating Plant in Stockholm
Client: Stockholm Exergi, Stockholm (SE)
Architects: Urban Design AB, Stockholm (SE) ; Gottlieb Paludan Architects, Nordhavn, København (DK)
Structural planners: WSP, Stockholm (SE) ; BUMA Factory, Kraków (PL)
Location: Jägmästargatan 2, 11542 Stockholm (SE)
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The Värtaverket heating plant in the northeast of Stockholm has been there since the beginning of the 20th century. The plant’s vital role in electrifying the city can now be perceived only from the main building, which is from 1903. This brick structure was designed by Ferdinand Boberg, one of Sweden’s most prominent art-nouveau architects.
Urban Design and Gottlieb Paludan Arkitekter have connected the new plant, known as KVV8, to the architecture of its historical neighbours. The new building is Sweden’s largest power plant that is fired with biomass; indeed, it is one of the largest in the world. It will provide 200,000 households with CO2-neutral heat. During the design phase, the architects faced the challenge of translating the brickwork aesthetic of Boberg’s façades into a contemporary architectural language. Moreover, they were charged with realizing their plans as cost-effectively as possible and creating a building using prefabricated industrial methods to a significant extent. To this end, they mounted large-format terracotta elements as a rear-ventilated façade cladding in front of the insulated building shell.
The biggest part of the new building by far is clad with flat plates of terracotta that jut in V-shaped pairs, giving the façade a strikingly vertical relief. On the north face, around the main entrance to the building, the profiled façade makes way for a simpler covering of level plates. A third variation on terracotta can be found in the rod-shaped baguette elements on the recessed top storey of the plant.
Few openings interrupt the homogeneous terracotta shell. Most of the V-shaped elements carry on in front of the window bands, for these must only let light in, not allow views of the outdoors. Only the north side features some larger glazed openings. A covering of perforated sheeting that tonally matches the terracotta elements has been installed in front of the ventilation grids of the transformer rooms. This means that only the doors and a few automatically driven metal portholes in the upper area of the façade. In cases of deflagration in the boiler house, these will serve to equalize the pressure.