The double towers of “Norra Tornen” in the Swedish capital Stockholm have been recognized as the most innovative skyscraper in the world. The residential building won the International High-Rise Award on Thursday in Frankfurt am Main. The jury highlighted the boxed prefabricated concrete elements with which the facades of the “North Towers” are up to 125 meters high. It is a timeless, pioneering architecture that contributes to a coherent urban structure.
The final also included a new building in Frankfurt’s “Omniturm” banking district by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels. According to the jury, the building with its characteristic hip curve is one of the five best skyscrapers in the world. Like the other finalists, it was selected from 31 nominated buildings from 14 countries. The high prize is awarded 50,000 euros and has been awarded every two years since 2004 by the city of Frankfurt, the German Museum of Architecture and DekaBank.
The first 16 floors of the high-rise building have been inhabited since September 2018. At the end of 2018, a foundation was laid for the second, 110-meter-high tower on the opposite side of the street. At least it was the schedule of Oscar Engelbert, CEO of Oscar Properties and the owner of the multi-million dollar project, who deliberately opted for the architect de Graaf and his style a la “De Rotterdam” and “Timmerhuis” – two high-rise buildings in Rotterdam. The twins were completed in December 2018. They were built as a kind of gate to the right and left of the street that connects the two districts. Inside, there are common rooms for celebrations or movie nights, which residents can book through the app. There is also a sauna, gym and yoga room.
The “Norra Tornen”, the north towers, are 125 and 110 meters high. They were designed by the Dutch architectural firm OMA … Photo: Laurian Ghinitoiu
“Northern Towers”, as they are called in German, were designed by Rem Kohlhaas, a partner at the Netherlands’s Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Reinier de Graaf.
The director of the German Museum of Architecture, Peter Cachola Schmal, appreciated the use of façade elements, which also saved time and money. They allow generous window facades and are indented to create sheltered balconies.
Like Berlin, Stockholm is growing. Living space is scarce. The pair of high-rise buildings in the residential zone of the city, which was largely built before the Second World War, is therefore to accompany the future. The future of life. Engelbert imagines it denser, more compact and, above all, taller.
In 2013, Oscar Properties won a city competition for real estate, for which the then city architect Aleksander Wolodarski originally planned two towers that visually resembled the towers on Karl-Marx-Allee. Reinier de Graaf, on the other hand, wanted to go higher – and less smoothly. Hundreds of boxed bay windows protrude from the façade, the terraces are protected to the rear – a tribute to the brutalist concrete architecture that was shaped in Sweden.
Stockholm meets its arrival with prefabricated parts
The whole tower consists of a modular system of prefabricated concrete parts. “Plattenbau for the rich,” as de Graaf notes. However, prefabricated parts save time and money, and according to the architect, no one would remember how the building was built. In this way, the entire floor can be built in six days. Behind the colored concrete ribbed facade with a bare stone grain mixture, which is supposed to resemble the bricks of the surroundings, there will be 182 apartments with a size of 44 to 271 square meters. Price: from 572,000 euros upwards.
“The biggest problem was noise,” says de Graaf, looking at the eight-lane highway next door. Triple-glazed safety panoramic windows – as proof that the architect punches the glass on the 16th floor – should protect against car noise while letting in enough light. This is important in a city where it is seldom really clear for six months.