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SOM wins contest for 60-storey Swedish skyscraper

The London office of SOM has beaten four other finalists, including Zaha Hadid and Ian Simpson, to win the contest to design one of the tallest buildings in Scandinavia

The practice also saw off Manuelle Gautrand Architecture of France and Swedish outfit Wingårdh arkitektkontor to land the project for a 230m-tall, mixed-use tower in Gothenburg.

More than 50 firms from around the world entered the contest, organised by the Swedish Association of Architects, the city’s planning department and developers Älvstranden Utveckling, for the waterfront project on the North River Bank next to the Lindholmen Science Park.

Dubbed the Polestar, SOM’s victorious proposal will house a mixture of homes ranging from single storey flats, loft-style apartments and duplexes.

‘The form is inspired by ribbons blowing in the wind’

According to the practice, each flat will have a balcony to ‘provide flexible living space’ and ‘accentuate the fluid geometry of the building…a form which takes its inspiration from ribbons blowing in the wind’.

The tower, which will sit within a cluster of mid-rise towers, will be topped with an observation deck.

Working with Copenhagen-based architects Entasis, the practice has also drawn up a masterplan for a ‘highly animated 143,000m² mixed-use district’ around the centrepiece tower.

Selected jury comments:

Winner

Architect: SOM
Scheme name: The Polestar
‘The proposal is successful in its endeavor to create an attractive urban setting and a visually striking superstructure. The project is easily divided into phases and has every possibility to move from one phase to the next. The proposed design principles can act as a guarantor to maintain quality over time.’

Runners-up

Architect: Ian Simpson Architect
Scheme name: The Kiss
‘The jury regards this proposal as determined by its form, thus complete, and therefore not changeable or divisible into stages. The proposal is seen as too refined and polished, with a private tonality.
‘The proposal’s constructional organization means the skyscraper will be costly to build. The description of the barrier structure facing Karlavagnsgatan is too flawed to be assessed.’

Architect: Manuelle Gautrand Architecture
Scheme name: Ursa
‘The proposal is cursorily described and therefore not easily judged, nor does it present satisfying rationales regarding sustainability and energy solutions. Building in wood from floor 40 to 60 is deemed too unsafe and too large a challenge for this project. The proposal has unconnected arteries, which risks empty environments. The proposal has many green spaces but these are located in the skyscraper, and do not result in positive impacts on the urban area, though positive for the residential environments.’

Architect: Wingårdh arkitektkontor
Scheme name: Crystal clear
‘The proposal presents a good portrayal of the ground floors which are attractive, and provide the opportunity for twenty-four hour activity that is largely perceived as safe. There is a risk of wind tunnel effects resulting from the curved facade of the lower body of the building. Trees positioned to counter the resulting wind are excellent examples of the use of greenery as a resource in the urban environment. Green roofs for absorption of storm water works. Indigenous species are easily maintained over time and require less maintenance.

Architect: Zaha Hadid Architects
Scheme name: Swell
‘The proposal is presented in a sterile manner, with an exclusive expression that results in more of a business impression than a residential one, and fails to suggest a clear goal.
The street environment feels inhospitable and unsafe, and does not constitute an inviting setting for gatherings - with pointed, raised podiums that obstruct visibility.
The proposal is not especially production-friendly. The jury, in discussion of how, and in what material, the facades might be actualized, noted that if they could be made of sheet metal produced locally in the Gothenburg harbor area, this would be of particular interest.
It is not necessary for all the buildings to have the same concept in facade composition, nor are five buildings needed.’

See full jury statement attached

Previous Story (AJ 28.05.14)

Revealed: hat-trick of Brits shortlisted for 60-storey Swedish skyscraper

Concept designs by the five finalists including Zaha Hadid, Ian Simpson, and SOM, have been revealed in the contest to design one of the tallest buildings in Scandinavia

UK practices Zaha Hadid Architects, Ian Simpson Architects and the London-office of SOM have drawn up schemes for a 200m-tall, mixed-use tower in Gothenburg.

The trio of Brits is lined up against Manuelle Gautrand Architecture of France and local practice Wingårdh arkitektkontor in the competition organised by the Swedish Association of Architects, the city’s planning department and developers Älvstranden Utveckling.

The detailed concepts went on anonymous, public display earlier this week (26 May).

More than 50 firms from around the world entered the contest for the waterfront project on the North River Bank next to the Lindholmen Science Park.

The 60-storey skyscraper is being billed as a new landmark for the ‘old port and shipyard’ and an ‘exciting part’ of the wider Karlavagnsplatsen project.

According to the brief, the proposed tower must be ‘feasible in a rational manner and with cost awareness’. 

A winner is expected to be announced next month. 

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