Scandinavia is admired for its advancements in many areas, and one of their most impressive achievements is their collective advancements in sustainable design and architecture. In this article we look at one of the most impressive examples of such advancement, Oslo International Airport.
The general idea behind an airport is difficult to name sustainable, considering its consumptive nature and archaic technologies that remain at the helm of the business model. Norway, however, is working to part ways with that ideal. An expansion project of the Internal Airport Gardermoen by the Oslo based firm Nordic-Office of Architecture has increased the airport in size while collectively decreasing its carbon footprint. The expansion doubled the size of the terminal building, and added a new 980ft (300m) long pier. Nordic stayed true to the airports original architectural design in Scandinavian simplicity, while adding a slew of renewable energy technologies that lead to the airport being given an “Excellent” rating in BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method), the first airport to receive such a designation.
As quoted from the Arch Daily, “the multi-disciplinary team applied a holistic approach to sustainability, including the harvesting of as much on-site energy as possible.” This sums up one of the most impressive achievements behind the development of this new terminal; its use of local energy and natural resources. Snow that is collected during the winter months will be stored on-site and used to cool the building during the warm, summer days. The new 300m pier is made entirely of timber sourced from Scandinavian forests, and recycled steel combined with specialty volcanic ash cement has been used throughout the development. All of this has caused the buildings CO2 emissions to fall by 35%. The airport is also allowing for its sustainability to expand outside of the grounds, with an upgrade to is central train station. This inclusion in the development now allows for over 70% of all passengers to access the airport by public transport.
From my times in Oslo Airport, the experience can be something out of a dream. When leaving through Gardermoen, passengers can sip cappuccinos beneath a large, live green wall, while across sits an oyster and wine bar with its ingredients delivered fresh daily. Arriving at the airport is another experience all together.
Walking from Customs to Duty Free and baggage claim, you follow along the long piers that are floored with warm timber, and lined with wall-to-wall glass on either side, giving a glimpse of other passengers in the terminal, either coming or going. There is an inexplicable feeling of being home that comes with the airports aesthetics, and is no doubt also in thanks to its sustainable efforts. The simple and rational aesthetic design paired with the sustainable efforts and renewable technologies, makes Norway a must-see in understanding the future of design, even if it is just for an extended airport layover.