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COWI on the team winning the Norwegian Nordic Built Challenge

Photo: schmidt hammer lassen architects


​As member of an interdisciplinary team, COWI has just won the Nordic Built Challenge in Norway with the project ‘Urban Mountain’.

When the refurbishment and extension are complete the building will reach a total size of 79,000 square metres and will be a sustainable landmark for the city of Oslo. The building will be the tallest in Norway and the first high-rise building in Norway to enjoy natural ventilation.

Norwegian mountain in downtown Oslo

The building will be a sustainable organism focusing on key qualities that we find in nature: clean air, sensory environments with green plants, water, light and shade. At the same time, the building will meet modern man’s need for comfortable, high-tech smart solutions as an integrated part of the future’s workplace.

Michael Nielsen, Technical Director in COWI, is thrilled about the win:
“In terms of energy efficiency and cradle-to-cradle principles, the level of ambition displayed in this competition and by the client, Entra Eiendom, was extremely high. So we needed to apply a holistic and innovative approach to the project – and that was only feasible by combining interdisciplinary competencies. We are so thrilled that we succeeded.”


Aiming for BREEAM certification

Based on principles from Cradle to Cradle (C2C) thinking, the target is to recycle as much as 90% of the demolished existing materials into new and upgraded building materials; 80% directly used in the new refurbished building. As an example, all the façade elements from the existing building are being re-used in the new façade design. Furthermore, the design concept operates with measurable C2C goals in areas of flexibility, biodiversity and recycling of water, heat and organic waste.

On this basis, the target is to achieve a BREEAM Outstanding certification.

Visible sustainable solutions

An important part of this project is to allow the sustainable measures to be visible to the users and the city, hereby raising awareness of how the building works. For instance, when you look at the building from the outside the façade is characterized by a series of ‘green lungs’ - an innovative part of the natural air intake in the building.

With the use of regionally found plants, the ‘green lungs’ contribute to enhance biodiversity locally and to create a better and healthier indoor climate. The green plants clean, humidify and reduce the CO2-concentration of the incoming air for the comfort of the staff and visitors.

Solar chimneys run from the bottom to the top of the building. A greenhouse on the rooftop captures and reuses the excess heat of the building and the solar heat gain of the solar chimneys. The result is a recognizable building design – a sustainable landmark in the urban setting of the Oslo skyline.


Public access

To integrate the office building into the local community at street level, public access is given through an Urban Green Mall, selling healthy quality food and locally produced products. Here, people will meet and interact in the large atria, on terraces, in cafés and restaurants.

Nordic Built Challange

The Nordic Built Challenge is a Nordic competition organized by Nordic Innovation. The ambition is to create five lighthouse projects for the Nordic region, one in each country, demonstrating the solutions for sustainable refurbishment of the existing building stock, which the Nordic building industry is able to deliver.

By winning the Nordic Built Challenge in Norway, the design team behind URBAN MOUNTAIN is one of the five teams in the running to become the overall winner of the Nordic Built Challenge Award with a prize of one million NOK. The overall winner will be announced on 17 October 2013.


LAST UPDATED: 16.09.2016