An incredibly beautiful new building in the Swedish city of Växjö designed by White Arkitekter will showcase sustainable architecture at its very best. The combination of uses it is intended for may seem improbable, but White Arkitekter has managed to create a design that is both beautiful and functional. Apart from looking gorgeous from both the inside and outside, what makes this structure so special?
By combining a city hall, a station, shops, exhibition area, and an aesthetically appealing community space where locals and visitors can meet up, relax, and enjoy the vista over the city, Växjö has chosen to use its city-space wisely, limiting urban sprawl. In addition, building multiple different structures to serve each of these purposes would have meant a considerably greater spend on construction materials and other resources.
The Renaissance of Wood as a Construction Material
In a world where we have grown accustomed to seeing concrete, steel and glass buildings, the materials chosen may come as a surprise: wood and glass dominate. New technologies are enabling architects to get creative with wood, and there are even wooden skyscrapers being erected today.
The advantages to the environment are many. After all, wood harvested from commercial plantations is a renewable resource, and the carbon fixed in the wood once came out of the atmosphere. Thus, wood not only reduces the need for concrete that is made using polluting processes but helps to clean the air, combatting climate change.
And in case you were wondering, sturdy wooden laminates are believed to be safer materials than steel would be if a building were to catch fire. Whether you’re interested in sustainable architecture or not, the aesthetic advantages of wood as a modern construction material are beautifully showcased in White Arkitekters’ design.
An Intra-Urban Meeting Place That’s Energy-Efficient Throughout
The new landmark will have a strong focus on energy-efficiency, and apart from adopting the usual tactics such as highly effective insulation, its elegantly sloping roof, while beautiful, is also functional. Its form was chosen to reduce the building’s energy consumption. The final effect will be light, airy and spacious, and a variety of amenities will make it a favorite with locals and visitors alike.
Sustainability Needn’t be Spartan
We’re inclined to think of sustainability as a “doing without” scenario, in which Spartan solutions replace the luxuries we once enjoyed, but Växjö’s new building shows how sustainable practices can bring beauty, convenience, and social benefits.
Imagine this: you arrive at the City Hall by train, meet up with friends at the intra-urban meeting place provided, enjoy coffee from a café, and perhaps do a little light shopping in the retail space that forms part of the complex. You check out the latest exhibition in the dedicated expo space and direct a tourist to the tourism office. Then, you pop into the city hall to transact your municipal business. You do all this without ever leaving the building. Why would you want to? It’s an inspiring edifice filled with natural light and the warm tones of wood.
Sustainability can be both convenient and luxurious, and Växjö will prove the point once White Arkitekter’s design becomes a functional yet elegant reality.