“The sea is a precondition for life on earth,” says GertWingårdh, principal architect for a shimmering blue building meant to serve as a hub for the United Nations initiative Our Ocean, Our Future: Call for Action, and a manifestation of the political momentum that has developed for saving the world’s seas.
Fornebu is a village just outside of Oslo where the Norwegian company REV Ocean was looking to build a corporate landmark and a headquarters with space for workplaces, research, education, and especially meetings between people.
Four firms were invited to compete for the job of designing the World Ocean Headquarters (WOH)—Snøhetta, 3XN Architects, Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter, and Wingårdh. The winning scheme is characterized by its shimmering blue exterior. We called it The Big Blue.
“The way the sky is reflected in the glass waves of the façade and the changing appearance of its stepped volume from different viewpoints will give completely different experiences of the building,” says Fredrik Lyth, architect at Wingårdh.
Clad in faceted glass, the façade is a direct reference to the sea. Just as the wealth of the sea is hidden beneath its surface, this building’s real assets are to be found inside its blue glass façades: research and knowledge.
REV Ocean’s new headquarters will be about sixty-stories high, with space for a number of public areas on various levels. It will have a large conference center with meeting rooms for about 900 people, as well as space for exhibitions, a hotel, café, and a rooftop restaurant with views over Oslo and the Oslofjord.
The Big Blue is here to protect the sea, and the building project itself strives to advance the leading edge of sustainability both in terms of construction and energy conservation. The goal is for the building to generate at least as much energy as it uses.