Snøhetta designs the world’s northernmost energy-positive building in Norway
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Snøhetta designs the world’s northernmost energy-positive building in Norway

Powerhouse Brattørkaia, a new landmark in the city of Trondheim, sets a benchmark for the buildings of tomorrow as it produces more energy than it consumes.

by STIRworld Sep 06, 2019

International architecture and design firm Snøhetta recently completed Powerhouse Brattørkaia in Trondheim, Norway - the world’s northernmost energy-positive building. The project brings forth a new standard for the construction of the buildings of tomorrow by producing more energy than it consumes.

The 18,000 sqm powerhouse sits by the Trondheim Fjord where its façade, clad in black aluminium, renders beautiful reflections in the harbour. It houses office spaces for a diversity of commercial tenants, including construction and shipping firms, along with a space for public programmes.

A view of the Powerhouse Brattørkaia  from across the Trondheim Fjord harbour | Powerhouse Brattørkaia | Snøhetta | STIR
A view of the Powerhouse Brattørkaia from across the Trondheim Fjord harbour Image Credit: Ivar Kvaal

As sunlight varies greatly between seasons in the city, the site has been carefully chosen to ensure maximum exposure to the sun. A skewed, pentagonal roof and the upper section of the façade clad in 3000 sqm of solar panels harvest as much solar energy as possible, while ample space for energy storage designed within the building footprint caters to winter months when daylight is at a minimum.

  • A massive cut out within the center of the building’s plan allows daylight to enter the various office spaces  | Powerhouse Brattørkaia | Snøhetta | STIR
    A massive cut out within the centre of the building’s plan allows daylight to enter the various office spaces Image Credit: Synlig.no
  • A view of the cutout within the sloping roof | Powerhouse Brattørkaia | Snøhetta | STIR
    A view of the cutout within the sloping roof Image Credit: Ivar Kvaal

The building’s sloping roof reveals a cut-out in the centre of its plan that allows daylight to flow into the various office spaces. Within this illuminated core is an atrium that functions as a public garden with horizontal glass windows on its sides. This skewed lightwell controls the amount of artificial lighting that is used inside the building while creating a comfortable and naturally lit working environment.

The mantra of the design industry should not be ‘form follows function’ but ‘form follows environment’. This means that the design thinking of today should focus on environmental considerations and reducing our footprint first, and have the design follow this premise. –Kjetil Trædal Thorsen, Founder, Snøhetta
An inviting atrium of light | Powerhouse Brattørkaia | Snøhetta | STIR
An inviting atrium of light Image Credit: Ivar Kvaal

The building leverages a series of technologies to radically reduce energy use for its daily operations. This is accomplished through insulating the building for maximum efficiency and installing solutions for air flow to reduce the need for heating. Taken together, the various strategies allow Powerhouse Brattørkaia to consume only about half the amount of energy for lighting than a typical commercial office building of a comparable size would. 

Naturally lit transition spaces within the building | Powerhouse Brattørkaia | Snøhetta | STIR
Naturally lit transition spaces within the building Image Credit: Ivar Kvaal
Naturally lit transition spaces within the building  | Powerhouse Brattørkaia | Snøhetta | STIR
Naturally lit transition spaces within the building Image Credit: Ivar Kvaal

A visitor centre and a cafeteria on the ground floor open to the people of Trondheim as an educational resource to disseminates knowledge on sustainable building strategies for the future.

Black aluminium panels alternate with glass windows and solar panels on the facade | Powerhouse Brattørkaia | Snøhetta | STIR
Black aluminium panels alternate with glass windows and solar panels on the facade Image Credit: Synlig.no

The buildings we inhabit and spend most of our lives in need to be built with as much consideration for natural preservation and energy efficiency as for the comfort of the people inside them. As the world’s northernmost energy-positive building, Powerhouse Brattørkaia has set a benchmark for responsibly constructing homes and office spaces for the future.

  • Powerhouse Brattørkaia and its context | Powerhouse Brattørkaia | Snøhetta | STIR
    A closer view of the building from across the harbour Image Credit: Ivar Kvaal
  • Powerhouse Brattørkaia and its context | Powerhouse Brattørkaia | Snøhetta | STIR
    Powerhouse Brattørkaia and its context Image Credit: Ivar Kvaal

Project Details

Name of the project: Powerhouse Brattørkaia
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Client: Entra ASA
Gross area: 17, 800 sqm
Architect: Snøhetta
Collaborators: Entra, Skanksha, ZERO, Snøhetta and Asplan Viak

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STIRworld

STIRworld

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