Scandinavia doesn’t have much of a tradition for building high-rises. But this is changing, as more and more of the world’s population is moving into cities. High-rise buildings are contributing to more dense and unique cities, as they accommodate more citizens per square meter, and create a distinct identity for the neighbourhood in which they are built.
A number of Nordic cities have built or are planning to build high-rises in the near future; In Copenhagen high-rise buildings are built in Amager, at the Panum Institute and at the Scala site near the Central Train Station. Further north in Finland, a cluster of high-rises in Helsinki is on the drawing board. With between eight and ten towers, it is set to become one of the tallest urban neighbourhoods in the North. In Sweden the trend towards high-rises has been under way for some time, with projects like the Turning Torso in Malmö, the upcoming Tellus Tower in Stockholm and the 230-meter-high Polsstjärnan in Gothenburg, which, upon completion in 2019, will be Scandinavia's tallest building.
Henning Larsen Architects is participating in a competition for yet another high-rise building in Gothenburg. With the Gothenburg City Gate project, a new tower of 25-30 floors will be built. Construction of high-rise buildings requires different construction techniques than ordinary buildings due to the weight and height of the building. At the same time there are particular social issues surrounding this type of construction.
“One of the main challenges is to integrate a high-rise with its immediate surroundings. The design should interact with the urban context, and the ground floor must be inviting—it must engage with and contribute to the street life, and not simply put up an impenetrable wall,” explains Søren Øllgaard, a partner at Henning Larsen Architects and design responsible for the project in Gothenburg. “The design must also work with the microclimate, so the areas around the high-rise are comfortable urban spaces.”
Henning Larsen Architects has experience with high-rise construction in different cities, for example the Ferring International Centre just outside of Copenhagen, and several high-rise buildings in King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
According to the competition schedule, the winner of the competition to design Gothenburg City Gate will be announced at the end of spring 2015.