Aker’s Mechanical was the first construction project as part of the Aker Brygge Masterplan. Originally built by Aker’s Mechanical Industries in Oslo in the middle of the 19th century as production facilities for maritime diesel engines, the buildings underwent major changes in the 1940s, 80s and early 2000s in the conversion to shopping mall and office building. The large volumes were filled with floor slabs to the point where hardly any spatial qualities remained, and numerous alterations, including the incorporation of a theatre with stage tower, resulted in a bespoke and chaotic structure.
The series of reconstructions, façade alterations and added exterior elements gradually erased the building’s original character. The office spaces were inflexible and the retail areas did not attract enough customers as an introvert mall unrelated to the surrounding streets.
The new project reorganized the program, pushing the shopping to the ground level and exteriorizing the shops and corporate lobbies in order to activate the streets. The building renovation focused on 6 main elements:
The building’s exterior was cleaned up; extension and front elements were removed, windows on lower levels given new and sleek steel profiles, sills under windows cut away so that the building can contribute to an active street environment. The project was developed in close dialogue with the Local Heritage Authorities.
Retail and restaurants fills the ground floor new double height spaces created by the removal of floor slabs along the building perimeter. Major structural work was undertaken to both raise and lower the internal floor levels to meet street levels. A new internal shopping street cuts through the building, as part of a new clean cut connection also running through the adjacent buildings, which linking the square in front of the City Hall to Aker Brygge’s main internal plaza.
The offices were reorganized to bridge the former longitudinal atrium, so that the space could be utilized better in terms of flexibility in size and maximizing the potential of the deep floor plate, reorganizing functions based on access to daylight. Floor height is low, and slabs were removed to give variation in heights, a quality rarely found in modern offices. The office lobbies were moved from their previous shopping mall location to the streets, giving the side streets a corporate identity, differentiated from the restaurant promenade at the water side and the shopping street to the rear of the buildings.
The new Aker’s Mechanical has attracted quality tenants in finance, retail and the restaurant industry, and has become a new up-market location for offices, shopping and eating in Oslo.
Glass & Fasade 2-2014
Aker Brygge, Oslo, Norway
25 000 m2
Complete renovation of industrial building of historic value: retail, restaurants and offices
Approx. 550 mill. NOK construction value ex. shops and restaurants
Space Group / Ghilardi & Hellsten
Space Group Team: Gary Bates, Gro Bonesmo, Adam Kurdahl, Jens Noach, Inês Almeida, Gesine Gummi, José Hernandez, Thomas Bang Jespersen, Claudia Laarmann, Svetlana Muromkaya, Naofumi Namba, Jens Niehues, Anna Nilsson, Anne Wodstrup, Kristian Grostad, Haakon Walderhaug, Jan Martin Klauza /Ghilardi+Hellsten Team: Franco Ghilardi, Ellen Hellsten, Erik Stenmann, Espen Krogstad
AJL, Erichsen & Horgen
AJL, Erichsen & Horgen
Foyn Consult, ECT
Brekke & Strand
Space Group/Eve Images