DnB NOR headquarters by MVRDV


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Work has started on a new headquarters building for a bank in Oslo, Norway, designed by Dutch architects MVRDV.

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The pixelated 17-storey building, which will be part of the Bjørvika waterfront development in the city, is for Norwegian bank DnB NOR.

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MVRDV won a competition to design Bjørvika waterfront in 2003, along with Norwegian companies Dark and a-lab.

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See our story from July 20o9 about MVRDV's Celosia Residence in Madrid.

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Here's some info fro MVRDV:


Construction start for MVRDV designed headquarters building in Oslo, Norway

(Oslo, September 17, 2009): With the completion of the foundations up to basement level, the construction of the main building of the new DnB NOR headquarters in Norway, has entered its main phase. The new headquarter cluster with a total surface of 80,000m2, is developed by the Norwegian Oslo S Utvikling (OSU), and its central building, designed by MVRDV with 17 floors and a surface of 36,500m2, is due to be completed in 2012.

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The pixelated design adapts to the urban context and combines an efficient and flexible internal organisation, based on small-scale working entities, with a variety of specific communal spaces, a sheltered public passage and respect for urban view lines.

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In 2003, MVRDV, together with Norwegian firms Dark and a-lab, won the competition for the Bjørvika waterfront development and designed a dense urban master plan along Nyland Allé, the Oslo Barcode, that will be developed and realised by OSU in phases.

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The international Norwegian financial institution DnB NOR decided to concentrate their twenty office locations currently dispersed over the city in the Barcode. In 2007, the master plan team was commissioned by developer OSU to design the urban concept. A new cluster of three volumes and a common basement with a 3,000m2 underground concourse, which interlinks the three buildings of the bank, was developed. MVRDV was commissioned as architect for the central building and co-responsible for the concourse.

The development of a new headquarter cluster is a strategic operation aiming for synergy and a clear identity. The objective was to translate the social and democratic character of the organisation into a building with excellent working conditions and spatial qualities. The structure is conceived as a steel ‘rack’ which permits adaptation to the flexible nature of the organisation.

The steel rack is wrapped in a stone skin, which adopts Norwegian environmental standards. It appears as a rock, a strong shape within the boundaries of the Barcode. The niches of this rock provide space for vegetation growth: the positioning of the pixels creates roof gardens or outside areas for every floor.

The generic office floors recline and are recessed in various places to reflect the urban context and to create communal indoor and outdoor areas and outstanding daylight conditions. At street level the building volume is opened by sheltered entrance zones, and intersected by a public passage leading to the Oslo Central Station. The pixelated design allows this specific response whilst being highly efficient and flexible. As a result, every floor of the building is both unique and generic: the pixelated volume makes the generic specific.

Besides more than 2,000 flexible work spaces the building contains a panoramic 140 seat canteen on the top level, the executive lounge with a view over the fjord, the board room, in the heart of the volume, DnB NOR’s trading room with 250 work stations, and the main entrance with a reception and access to the concourse. These collective elements are connected by a staggered continuous internal route of terraces, encouraging informal meetings and communication between employees.

The route meanders from the reception upwards through the building, connecting all office levels with the communal areas. A series of wooden stairs and bridges allow employees to switch levels or even to walk the 17 levels up to the canteen on one side of the building and down on the other side. The route accommodates communal areas to the office floors and is made homely with a series of pantries, informal meeting areas and fire places. It gives access to the various outdoor terraces and roof gardens. All these collective spaces are designed as glass pixels allowing views over the surroundings and transparency from the exterior. The route is naturally ventilated and has a high performance glass fit for the cold Norwegian winter.

On behalf of OSU, MVRDV collaborates with Norwegian co-architect DARK Arkitekter AS and various Norwegian engineering firms. Project management is executed by Norwegian firm Vedal Project AS. The second building of the DnB NOR cluster is designed by A-lab and the third building by Dark Arkitekter, all within the overall master plan and the Barcode urban master plan by MVRDV / DARK / a-lab. DnB NOR is the largest financial services group in Norway. The Group consists of brands such as DnB NOR, Vital, Nordlandsbanken, Cresco, Postbanken, DnB NORD and Carlson.


MVRDV was set up in Rotterdam (the Netherlands) in 1993 by Winy Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries. MVRDV produces designs and studies in the fields of architecture, urbanism and landscape design. Early projects such as the headquarters for the Dutch Public Broadcaster VPRO and housing for elderly WoZoCo in Amsterdam lead to international acclaim. MVRDV develops its work in a conceptual way, the changing condition is visualised and discussed through designs, sometimes literally through the design and construction of a diagram.

The office continues to pursue its fascination and methodical research on density using a method of shaping space through complex amounts of data that accompany contemporary building and design processes. MVRDV first published a cross section of these study results in FARMAX (1998), followed by a.o. MetaCity/Datatown (1999), Costa Iberica (2000), Regionmaker (2002), 5 Minutes City (2003), KM3 (2005), which contains Pig City and more recently Spacefighter (2007) and Skycar City (2007), the latter two will be exhibited at the 2008 Biennale of Venice. MVRDV deals with global ecological issues in large scale studies like Pig City as well as in small scale solutions for flooded areas of New Orleans.

Current projects include various housing projects in the Netherlands, Spain, China, France, Austria, the United Kingdom, USA, India, Korea and other countries, a television centre in Zürich, a public library for Spijkenisse (Netherlands), a central market hall for Rotterdam, a culture plaza in Nanjing, China, large scale urban masterplans in Oslo, Norway and in Tirana, Albania, a masterplan for an eco-city in Logroño, Spain and an urban vision for the doubling in size of Almere, Netherlands.

The work of MVRDV is exhibited and published world wide and receives international awards. The 60 architects, designers and staff members conceive projects in a multi-disciplinary collaborative design process and apply highest technological and sustainable standards.

Posted on Thursday September 17th 2009 at 6:11 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • It remind me game tetris but in layers … it is fain

  • I’m usually a fan of MVRDV, but this project isn’t nearly as successful as some of their other works. The massing diagrams work well – everything seems rational. Reminds me of Danish firm BIG’s projects. But the facade treatment, this pixelated effect defined by the floor height and column width, just seems kind of clunky. It could’ve been an elegant, slender building.

  • t
  • Nice design, it will be very interesting to see how the built architecture is perceived.

  • bagelwithcreamcheeseplease

    MVRDV DnB NOR snds ntrstng. wl dn gys

  • jack

    reminds me of BIG

  • memo

    inspired in the tetris maze perhaps ?

  • LOW

    MVRDV know how to turn my architectural heart on

  • hair piece

    so, who’s actually going to be the first to build these “block” buildings? MVRDV, OMA, H&DM, BIG…no…Qbert…

  • neuhaus

    I haven’t been warming up to the trend of the eroded building look, but I actually like this building. I like how it reflects the stepped buildings next to it.

    The glass curtain wall portions should be reflective glass to make the gridded portions appear to float in space.

  • fifi

    Pixels seem the be the next hype. BIG started, MVRDV and OMA copy around. Anyway, this one is so brutal that it´s nice again. Interesting spaces around the stairs.

  • Ray Ray

    21st Street anyone?

  • noyz

    No please, no more cube grid structures, MVRDV always behind the footsteps of OMA. Anyone believes by now those childish concept diagrams that always start with a compact slab and “evolute” into something else just to justify a prethought form?

  • sis


  • The ‘analysis’ suggests that this building is rescuing, from difficult impositions, a brave new form for architecture. Yet, it is no more architecture than a Hugh Ferriss rendering made to highlight the ‘possibilities’ of the New York Zoning Law (from which we got feeble ziggurat office buildings). This is PacMan modelling, and sadly, even emptier than Ferriss’s ‘visions’.

  • good Process, analisys, etc, but is that architecture? I think architecture is more comlex than this…

  • Paul

    I concur: this is the nicest of the ‘eroded pixel’ building I’ve seen. Good job, and I hope they get it built. Still, this style is now officially played.

  • saif

    I love to see this type of projects that give space to the public within dense cities, they make the areas breath a bit..but I would request one thing here, I hate the where the glass facade is flush with the concrete grid. would the designers please push the glass a bit to the back and extrude the concrete?

  • recon::decon

    I hope the elevators play tetris music.

  • I have seen this done before. and Oslo is for me a very civilized city, small and lovely and unharmed by the bombs of the 2nd world war – and now these big toy-like objects! Why, I ask, why?

  • Ivan Suboticki

    I cant take this shit seriously…

  • Astro

    Sorry fifi, but OMA started the pixel war in the beggining of 2000 while BIg just followed MVRDV…

  • hj

    Although these pixelations that are popping up all over the place are starting to get on my nerves and remind me of an LP-record stuck in the groove, I kind of like this version. I like that the erosion is happening in the same plane, it works well with the glass portions on the facades. Structuralism revisited, a tribute to Moshe Safdie and Herman Hertzberger?

  • joe notch

    all those recent “pixel” buildings are nowhere near as good as what Guenther Behnisch did 15 years ago.


  • R

    The end result is a mess due to too many concepts in one building: pixelation, erosion, cut-outs, glass routing. And why on earth on they presenting these diagrams as if it was the result of a rational process. And why should it be rational in the first place.

    @ fifi> OMA made a pixelated, eroding design in 2004 for the IDEA campus in Tokyo. I think they were before BIG and MVRDV.

  • guichoux

    what a wonderful work !! well done MVRDV !

  • pop

    yak yak yak… this is horrendous

  • Chen

    Why these people all start doing the same block-architecture recently?

  • Zabel



  • Lee Perry

    Long before OMA et al.. there was:


  • associal
  • Syl

    @Lee Perry : True, and there was also : http://farm1.static.flickr.com/64/152860690_4860f7999f.jpg

  • martin

    Same concept as their high rise project in Rødover, Denmark !!

  • klejdi

    I wonder why the best MVRDV’s works are in the Netherlands.
    The rest is shit…(Remember “Tirana Rocks”..)

  • felix


    its not a 2d, pixel nor pixelated – its an array of boxes
    with minimal skin and smoothness. i like it!

  • Ping

    I just saw it today. Terrible in reality… really, really boring and the proportion of glass and brick wall are not even properly sorted out. Shame.