3XN wraps spiralling "innovation hub" around large atrium in Stockholm

Danish architecture studio 3XN has revealed the stepped circular Forskaren building, which is set to open later this year in Stockholm’s Hagastaden district.

Defined by its spiralling structure and large inner atrium, the 24,000-metre-square building will house laboratories, offices and co-working spaces and was designed to promote collaboration among researchers, scientists and the public through its circular shape.

Located within the newly established Hagastaden neighbourhood and growing science district, the development by 3XN serves as the “heart” of the area with the aim of “bringing together industry, research, academia and the public under one roof”, the studio said.

Street view of Forskaren in StockholmStreet view of Forskaren in Stockholm
Forskaren by 3XN will open in August 2024

The studio describes the building as “a hub for innovation.”

“Innovation often happens when people and their disciplines meet,” senior partner at 3XN Jan Ammundsen said. “With Forskaren, we wanted to create a vibrant and collaborative life science environment.”

“The building is designed for people to meet and see each other and for established and start-up companies to contribute to each other’s development,” Ammundsen added.

Facade of innovation hub by 3XNFacade of innovation hub by 3XN
The hub is located within the Hagastaden neighbourhood

The building’s stepped glass facade, which gradually widens from the base to the top, is lined with rhythmic vertical wooden slats.

At each floor, the circular structure features dramatic inward curves that form recessed, sheltered balconies, while large columns wrap around the building’s base.

Facade detail of Forskaren in StockholmFacade detail of Forskaren in Stockholm
Vertical wooden slats line the facade

Inside, the building is organised around the centralised atrium, which has been lined with walkways and balconies overlooking the floors below to create visual connections.

A sculptural, spiral staircase featuring wooden steps encased by white steel balustrades sits within the atrium and enables circulation between the seven floors.

Large inner atrium at hub by 3XNLarge inner atrium at hub by 3XN
A large atrium is wrapped with walkways

Seating spaces and nooks were designed as communal spaces on the inner balconies, while large offices occupy the building’s periphery.

An exhibition space, along with two restaurants, sits on the building’s ground floor and is open to the public.

“It has been a clear intention throughout the design process that Forskaren should offer many spatialities with social meeting places,” Ammundsen said.

“The building should feel alive and do its part to ensure that people connect and see each other across rooms and floors,” he added. “We make this possible with the atrium, which opens up the interior and creates space and overview.”

Wooden spiral staircase at Forskaren in StockholmWooden spiral staircase at Forskaren in Stockholm
A sculptural, spiral staircase provides circulation

Across the interior, a natural stone ground floor is offset by repeated use of wooden slats and leafy plants.

“It has been an important goal for Forskaren to strengthen the professional community by offering an attractive setting,” partner at 3XN Marie Hesseldahl said.

“Plants, natural materials and daylight create an inspiring work environment where people thrive.”

Seating spaces within the atrium at hub by 3XNSeating spaces within the atrium at hub by 3XN
Seating spaces are provided on the inner balconies

The studio also designed a rooftop terrace to provide additional outdoor space for visitors, while half of the building’s roof is covered by solar panels that supply power to the building.

The stepped facade was an additional environmental strategy for shading to minimise the need for mechanical cooling.

Wooden interior of Forskaren in StockholmWooden interior of Forskaren in Stockholm
Wooden slats are also used across the interior

The hub, which has largely been built, is set to be fully completed in August 2024. Forskaren is the studio’s latest completed project in Stockholm, with construction set to begin on the Stockholm University of the Arts in 2025.

Other spiral-shaped buildings recently featured on Dezeen include a spiral community centre informed by sand dunes in Rajasthan and offices in Hollywood designed with spiralling plant-covered terraces.

The photography is by Marcus Stork.

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