Oslo Airport

Oslo, Norway / Nordic - Office of Architecture assisted by NSW architects


A Scandinavian benchmark for sustainable airport design; Oslo Airport is one of the most energy efficient airports in the world. Designed by Nordic — Office of Architecture, it was important to set equally ambitious sustainability targets for its expansion, which comprises a 52.000 m² extension of the departures and arrivals hall, a 63.000 m² new northern pier and an expanded rail station.

The new extension is expected to be the first airport building in the world to achieve BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating.

Located 50 km north-east of the Norwegian capital, Oslo airport’s enhanced capacity is vital for the national infrastructure, as the country is highly dependent on aviation with long distances between cities and varying topographies. Connecting the various regions and improved transport links to and from Europe is vital for economic and cultural growth.

As part of a holistic sustainability approach, the airport has 70 % public transport connectivity to Oslo city centre; the vast majority by rail. This is the highest percentage for any major airport in Europe. During construction, both the airport and rail station remained fully operational.

The curved form of the new pier provides maximum spatial value whilst having a minimal external envelope. Optimal efficiency is achieved by stacking the domestic and international zones in the pier — enabling all travellers to use all gates and giving the building a significantly smaller footprint. The shape of the building takes advantage of passive solar energy and sunlight, and features low-carbon technologies like district heating and natural thermal energy.

A key requirement throughout the design phase was the approval of building materials by testing and documentation. The new pier is clad in oak timber to combine functional, aesthetical and environmental demands. The extensive use of glass in the facades provides views to the surrounding nature and changing natural light, creating a sense of time and place, while simultaneously taking advantage of passive solar energy and reducing the need for artificial light in daytime.

Energy requirements will be extremely low due to the use of ground source heat technology to provide heating and the use of snow from the airport’s snow storage depot as a coolant during summer. The enhanced levels of insulation and low air infiltration enable exemplary Passive House energy performance standards.

Utilising natural thermal energy was one of the key elements in the sustainability strategy for the new extension. A large snow depot preserves snow collected from airside areas during winter to provide cooling in the terminal during summer. This replaces approximately 5 MW of energy from the cooling plants and represents an annual energy reduction of about 2 GWh. Other low-carbon technologies such as heat retention through purified wastewater from the adjacent municipality, energy wells, ground water energy conservation and utilisation of heat pump technology, are all examples of measures implemented to save and reuse energy.

Our partners: COWI, Norconsult, Aas-Jakobsen and Per Rasmussen

Our Sub-consultants: NSW, Hjellnes Consult, Bjørbekk & Lindheim Landskapsarkitekter, Speirs + Major, BuroHappold Engineering, AKT II

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