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Helen & Hard, SAAHA, Creation Holz, SR-Bank, Timber Costruction, Office, Atrium, Norway, Glued laminated timber

Wood on a Large Scale: Finansparken in Stavanger by Helen & Hard and SAAHA

The Finanspark, which lies just northwest of Stavanger’s city centre, is the new HQ of the regional SR Bank. Its 13,200 m2 of above-ground gross area currently makes it one of the largest multistorey wooden structures in Europe. The striking triangular shape rises as high as seven storeys, thus mediating between three very different neighbourhoods: on the south-facing entrance side, it adjoins smaller single-family dwellings. To the east, there are multistorey apartment blocks, and to the north, the green space of the Bjergsted Park. Opposite the entrance to the park, where two roads meet at an acute angle, the office building reaches its greatest height; in contrast, to the south it has only four storeys. On the east side, the upper levels jut above their subconstruction, sheltering those waiting at a bus stop from rain. Vertical glass fins printed with spots give rhythm to the two longitudinal façades and protect the offices behind them from the sun.

Planned with Swiss Wood-Building Expertise
Between the west and east wings of the edifice, a spacious, glass-roofed atrium extends over the entire building. Here, the real eye-catcher is a dramatic stairway with various pathways. Its organically shaped flights are borne by stringers of curved beams of laminated timber and jut as much as 5 m into the atrium space. The remaining upper storeys also consist primarily of wood; the architects made the most of the expertise of Hermann Blumer, a civil engineer specialized in wooden structures, his studio Creation Holz, and of the Norwegian engineers from Degree of Freedom. The girders and columns, which are connected via a pincer construction and round dowels of beech, unmistakably bear Blumer’s signature. At the supporting points, the transverse girders reach their utmost height; organic coving runs through their centres. Four reinforced-concrete cores, surrounding edge beams of beech veneer timber on the façades and ceilings of cross-laminated timber stiffen the supporting structure. Because the columns and ceiling girders protrude over the ground floor, they consist of beech glulam in this area; on the other levels, the structural engineers chose laminated spruce, which has somewhat less bearing capacity.

BREEAM Outstanding
The wooden structure is one component of a sustainability strategy with which client and architects alike hoped to be awarded with certification at the BREEAM Outstanding level. An energy-efficient building shell and a heating system based on heat pumps and 24 geothermal probes contribute to the building’s ecological credentials as well. Moreover, the waste heat from the server rooms is fed into the heating system. Finansparken has been certified as “excellent” according to the BREEAM ratings.

Podcast-Interview with Reinhard Kropf from Helen & Hard.



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