Norwegian practice a-lab has been awarded first prize in the competition for two border stations between Norway and Russia. The six existing border stations shall be merged into two bigger stations with a complex program. The challenge has been to design a building where work and private life coexist, and where military services meet the civil community.
Here is a project description we received from a-lab:
In the proposal most of the functions are gathered in one larger building, with the remaining program placed as smaller satellites surrounding it. The main building is u-shaped and centered around a courtyard. The social life at the station is of great importance. The courtyard is the heart of the building and the circulation on ground floor is located along a glass façade surrounding it. This gives a constant visual connection between the activities going on inside and outside, with the opportunity to open the façade and let some spaces to physically expand out into the courtyard. A unifying roof articulates the main entrance, helps to define the courtyard and creates covered outdoor spaces. The program is separated on two floors with different types of use and circulation.
Ground floor: work
All functions concerning work and social activity are located on the ground floor, as well as representation for visitors. This floor has a strict, functional design to meet all the requirements for the daily activities at a border station, such as training, administration and emergency call-outs.
First floor: dwell
Accommodation and a fitness centre are located on the more private first floor. All rooms have a view out to the wild nature or the courtyard. The fitness centre is located between the officers’ section and the rest of the accommodation.
All the building volumes in the complex have a strong architectural coherence, where wood is the main material used both in construction and façades. The fact that parts of the activities at the station are secret is reflected in the outer facade expression of the buildings, with dark wooden panels, mirroring glass in common rooms and deeply positioned windows in the remaining rooms. This creates an anonymous appearance in comparison to the façade towards the courtyard, with translucent glass and labeled doors, where function, clarity and openness are the keywords.
Location: Svanvik & Storskog, Sør-Varanger, Norway
Property developer: Forsvarsbygg
Partners: Adnan Harambasic, Geir Haaversen, Odd Klev
Design team: Adnan Harambasic, Geir Haaversen, Odd Klev, Katrine Holm, Øystein Skorstad
Gross area: 3,320 m2 per station