Swedbank Headquarters

ClientKim Herforth Nielsen
DesignerKim Herforth Nielsen
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

Swedbank had outgrown its Stockholm headquarters and wanted a new building that embraced the working methods and technology associated with banking in the 21st century and reinforced its brand as an innovative financial institution. They retained 3XN to design a 45,000m2 building (significantly smaller than the 65,000m2 occupied previously) that supported the staff of 2,700 and expressed its core values: openness, simplicity and care. 3XN’s design reinforces the new ethos of ‘one office – one company,’ making the many departments feel like a cohesive whole. A folded triple v structure breaks up volumes and creates an inviting democratic environment. Employees are located closer to each other than in a traditional office, contributing to shorter distances, good internal communication, visual contact and knowledge sharing. The triple v shape allowed for the placement of five atria that bring daylight in, enable views out and act as gathering places. Breaking old patterns, the new headquarters offers three types of work environment: fixed office spaces, flexible office units used as temporary workstations for visiting colleagues, and a series of touch-down spaces for informal meetings. The flexible interior ensures that the best possible facilities are provided for changing professional and social requirements. Two sculptural staircases in the main lobby beckon staff and visitors. The two lowest floors house restaurant, conference facilities and reception area with glass facades, emphasizing their semi-public functions and the organisation’s openness to its surroundings. The “triple v” structure, cantilevered over the two lowest floors, creates a partially covered portico at the base. Sustainability is one of Swedbank’s core values and a driving force behind the design. The headquarters was named the ‘Best Green EU Building’ by the Swedish Green Building Council. Energy saving features include: sensor-controlled lighting and ventilation systems, optimized daylight, and a sophisticated system of roller blind-like climate curtains. ‘Free cooling’ is used throughout, which uses low external air temperatures to chill water air conditioning or stored for later use in one of 60 boreholes. The building recovers excess heat and uses recovered energy to produce hot running water and to melt snow and ice in winter.