The proposal is composed of tightly linked timber framed modules that spiral upwards in a flattened helix. The form loosely fits the profile of a typical pitched roof home, with select modules carved away to maximize the reach of daylight in the center of the block. The open ground level encourages people to move freely through the space; as you move up through the building the core is hollowed to create a light well and frame a sun-soaked urban living room at the building’s heart.
The Lilla Bommen area was once an industrial part of Gothenburg, but with shipping and harbour activity moving to different areas, the neighborhood has begun to grow in new ways.
Just a 15 minute walk between the Kromet site and central station, the Växa proposal shapes a hub for life in the changing city.
The mixed-use structure collects numerous programmatic elements, including housing, office, commercial/retail, flex space, and a variety of public spaces scattered throughout. The ground level is left open to the public, allowing people to move freely between shops, restaurants, and spaces for relaxation as they move from the city out to the waterfront. Housing is focused on the facade that faces the water, receiving soft morning sun from the city side and views to the water that flow in the soft light of the setting sun. Flex space creates a physical buffer from the noise pollution of the adjacent Hisingsbron.
Public program, including restaurants, shops, and gathering space, is concentrated at the ground level, allowing fluid movement between the city and the riverwalk.
The design is inspired by natural forms, the massing forming a protective frame around the buzzing center - like petals surrounding a flower's center.
Like a flower, the design also takes advantage of its situation, maximizing sun exposure and directing water through the site.
With its location on the banks of the Gota River (Göta älv), passersby can slip easily between the waterfront path and the Lilla Bommen neighborhood that stretches out to the east. The massing is stepped to create terraces that take advantage of sun exposure and are protected from prevailing winds. Windier terraces are outfitted with solar panels to assist with energy production for the structure.
Rainwater helps to nourish the green roofs throughout, and runoff is directed through the facade and underneath the ground level to filter out into the river.
The distinctive massing and warm timber frame allows Vaxa to stand out amongst its neighbors, including the eponymous and adjacent Lilla Bommen building (known as 'The Lipstick') by Ralph Erskine. Vaxa, rather than focusing on its presence on the skyline, engages more with the ground, stretching out and taking nature back to the city and port. An expansive urban living room becomes the heart of the house, tracing up through the building as a landscape with paths and plateaus from the bridge to the quay.