Lilletorget in the centre of Oslo was outmoded. The existing office building did not meet the contemporary environmental standards and the square was failing to engage citizens and visitors. We were, therefore, invited to rethink Lilletorget and design a proposal for a new 25-storey office tower, entitled Urban+, with cafes and shops on the ground floor.
In response, we designed an office tower shaped by the pulse and activities of the city. A high-rise building that draws the city life in beneath it and rises in free-floating floors topped with a public rooftop garden with 360-degree views of Oslo. Beneath the building, a covered public square engages with the city life and provides a distinctive setting for public events such as concerts, exhibitions and markets. In addition, film and light shows can be projected up onto the building facade, adding new layers to the experience of Oslo city centre.
The office tower is constructed on top of a four-storey base, which forms the backbone of the square’s life and activities. To the north, the base is drawn in beneath the building, while to the west it extends out towards a park and to the east out to the concert hall Oslo Spektrum. In addition to forming the backbone of the square, the base conveys the transition from the city’s urban pulse to the park’s recreational atmosphere.
On top of the base, the office tower emerges as two cubic building volumes. Rotated 45 degrees relative to each other, the building volumes offer optimal views towards both the city and the park – closely aligned with the surrounding buildings. With diversity in mind, the building volumes have been designed to give the tenants the opportunity to customise each floor to fit their needs. Double-height floors consisting of open-plan offices thus provide a wide range of possibilities in the design of each floor, creating an open building structure that can easily be adapted to changing needs over time.