The International Highrise Award celebrates the world’s best skyscrapers, whether for their beauty, their environmental friendliness, or for their innovation. This Award is organized by the city of Frankfurt and the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM), has selected Norra Tornen, the residential towers designed by OMA / Reinier de Graaf as the winner of its ninth edition. Granted every 2 years, to architects and developers for buildings of minimum 100 meters in height, completed in the last two years, Norra Tornen was selected from 31 projects from 14 countries.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
The Norra Tornen project started with two inherited building envelopes, the remains of a cancelled project initiated by the former city architect Aleksander Wolodarski. Each a kind of ‘crescendo’ composition of different heights – neither slab nor tower – prohibit the unfolding of an uncompromised typology.
Through a kind of ‘Freudian flight forward’ – a passionate embrace of the inevitable in order to conquer and overcome one’s initial fears – the prescribed building envelope was adopted as a given. Its initial vertical segmentation was complemented by a second, horizontal segmentation that gives the buildings’ exterior a single, homogeneous treatment: a rough skin, formed through an alternating pattern of withdrawn outdoor spaces and protruding living rooms. The chosen material, ribbed colored concrete brushed with exposed multi colored aggregate pebbles, echoes brutalist architecture and that is not by chance.
Concrete at Norra Tornen comes in the form of prefabricated panels – a construction technique that allows work on the building site to continue even below the five-degree Celsius limit which prohibits in situ concrete pouring. Prefabrication also significantly reduced construction costs.
In a city center with a housing stock largely built before the Second World War, Norra Tornen introduces a new way of living which brings together density with the possibility to enjoy outdoor space (Stockholm ranks fourth among the cities with the highest air quality in the European Union).
The Innovationen Tower comprises 182 units ranging from 44 sqm one-bedroom apartments to a 271 sqm penthouse on the top floor, with the majority consisting of two- or three-bedroom apartments of 80 to 120 sqm. The residential units are complemented by a cinema room, a dinner room for parties and celebrations, a guest apartment, a gym with a sauna and a relaxation area, and retail space at the ground floor. The Helix Tower includes 138 units, plus amenities.