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Okern Portal Roof

Oslo’s newest business hub will meet high sustainability standards, with aluminium facades

August 27, 2020

One of the largest development projects in Norway, the Økern Portal will be covered in low-carbon aluminium that is both eye-catching and highly sustainable.

Oslo is about to get a new urban business hub at Økern, just 15 minutes outside the city center. The building will set an environmental footprint in the area, and the goal for lead architect agency DARK Arkitekter is to keep this footprint as small as possible. 

OkernPortalBuilding Oslo.jpg
Sustainability is key in the large project Økern Portal. Recycled Hydro CIRCAL aluminium helped reach the ambitious BREEAM Excellent certification. (Photo: 3D Estate/DARK Arkitekter)


"We work in an industry that emits a large carbon footprint, both in the city and in nature. We want Økern Portal to become a positive footprint, through sustainability," says Tor Christian Møglebust, partner and architect in Norway-based DARK Arkitekter. 

One factor that will contribute to the sustainability of the building is embedding nature itself, both around the building and atop it. The spacious rooftop garden will have large trees, plants, space dedicated for local crops, beehives and a running track. The park surrounding the building will include social areas and facilities able to host events like small festivals and concerts. The building’s spatial frame structure spanning over some 30 meters across across what is referred to as “the portal square” makes it possible to increase the amount of public space, so that the entire park flows through it.

The open and friendly shape of the building will create a strong identity within the vast surrounding urban landscape, and, in turn, the architectural details serve to humanize it. 

Tor Christian Møglebust, partner and architect in DARK Arkitekter, Oslo
Tor Christian Møglebust, partner and architect in DARK Arkitekter, Oslo


75% recycled aluminium

The building itself has an area of approximately 80,000 square meters. This includes office spaces, a business hotel, communal areas and a food court. 

During the planning and building phase of the project, the development team targeted meeting the highest energy efficiency standards. Energy consumption, emissions and the supply of materials were audited to ensure sustainable construction and an extended life cycle while complying with the standards needed to achieve BREEAM Excellent classification.

Hydro’s aluminium building systems brand WICONA is the system supplier for Økern Portal, providing the facades in Hydro CIRCAL aluminium. The aluminium was used for the entire outer layer, a solution that supports the building’s sustainability goals. 

"In this building, there is a large facade to cover, and fenestration (windows and doors) plays an important part. There were a lot of discussions throughout the project about how we should design the facade to meet the requirements of the BREEAM certification. And we were very excited to learn that we could have a facade made of recycled material with Hydro CIRCAL and thus be able to incorporate sustainability even on the facades," says Arne Reisegg Myklestad of DARK Arkitekter. 

Advanced scrap sorting

Hydro is the first aluminium producer supplying prime-quality aluminium with certified content of more than 75% recycled post-consumer scrap – scrap from discarded products. This is made possible by Hydro’s advanced scrap sorting technology. The production process is fully traceable, and the product is certified by an independent third party (DNV GL).

“Our customers in the building and construction sector are focusing on sustainability. They want material and solutions that can help them meet their sustainability targets. Hydro CIRCAL has a low carbon footprint that fits well with the most demanding sustainability requirements,” says Egil Hogna, Head of Hydro's Extruded Solutions business.

The engineering contractor Staticus has produced and assembled Økern Portal’s eye-catching facades, which will cover 14,600 square meters in total.

“Staticus strives to reduce, reuse and recycle wherever possible. With this facade, we will reduce the total carbon footprint of the building project by using recycled aluminium. I believe we have only seen the start of sustainability in the building and construction sector,” says CEO Aušra Vankevičiūtė in the Staticus Group.

Økern Portal is owned by Oslo Pensjonsforsikring, with Stema responsible for project management. Vedal Entreprenør is serving as project lead and main contractor in a design-and-build contract. The project is scheduled for completion in 2021.

An example of the facade element at metal builder Staticus' production site in Lithuania
An example of the facade element at metal builder Staticus' production site in Lithuania

About Hydro CIRCAL in buildings

The construction sector in Europe represents 40% of the continent’s total energy consumption, producing 35% of greenhouse gas emissions. Starting in January 2021, European legislation will require all new buildings to operate at zero-energy, meaning that most of the energy used by the building will have to come from renewable energy. Furthermore, the EU has the overall ambition to be climate-neutral by 2050 – i.e. an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

The carbon footprint of primary aluminium varies considerably. The global average is 16.7 kg of CO2 equivalents per kg of aluminium. The European average is 6.7 kg of CO2e per kg aluminium. The footprint of Hydro CIRCAL is 2.3 kg of CO2e per kg aluminium.

About WICONA

WICONA is one of Hydro’s building systems brands. Since its foundation in 1948, WICONA has grown from a design office to an international brand manufacturing technically advanced aluminium systems and providing support for prestigious projects around the world.

About Hydro

Hydro believes in a sustainable future. In this series of articles, we talk with industry leaders and professionals and explore the theme “sustainable construction,” and how we can create the future of building and construction using technological innovations.

balconies with large green plantsA sustainable building industry Circal emblemHydro recycled aluminium  badge with reduxa logoHydro low carbon aluminium

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