The work environment is by far the most important contribution to employee satisfaction. There is an imperative on architects to always design something spectacular and peculiar, and this sometimes tend to overthrow the actual function and well-being in the working environment. However, this was not the case with Gårda Vesta in Gothenburg who achieved the sought-after ”Well” certificate. The project attained the certificate by basing its design on 7 concepts: health, air, water, light, sound, food, exercise and well-being.
The 94-meter-tall Gårda Vesta is located in Gothenburg and is said to be the city’s new landmark. The modern office building consists of two blocks with 25 and 14 floors, and the ground floor is designed with an aim of becoming the social hub of Gårda. The urban architecture encourages interaction with both tenants and citizens in the neighborhood as there are large social areas and a restaurant at the ground floor.
Winston Churchill once said, “We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us”. The urban architecture is attentive of cognitive effects design can have on human minds. There has been a lot of researches on the psychological impact of design, and a study from the University of Waterloo in Canada showed that people are strongly affected by a building’s façade. If it is interesting, it affects people on a positive note, while if it’s boring and simple the impact will be negative. Gårda Vesta is not only fascinating because of the focus on tenants well-being, but also for the design. The façade is elegantly rough with its mix of Corten steel and dazzling glass and aluminium facades reminding us of the nearby area – it’s like an architectonic tribute to the heritance of the industrial environments and old fabrics.
“Gårda Vesta focuses on flexible room solutions, well studied daylight, high quality on sound and air environment and also spaces and solutions focusing on community and movement” Kristina Olsson, architect at White Architects
To accommodate all commuters, both those arriving and leaving by car as well as cyclists, the building’s garage is divided in 200 bicycle parking slots and 48 parking slots for cars. Just by creating bicycle parking slots the building encourages their tenants to choose green choices already before they even enter. The “Well” certificate places high demands on the human values created by the building, and the well-being concept includes demands on lighting, air, sound, social interactions and exercising. Let’s not forget to mention the idea of stimulation of the brain – attaining the certificate also requires the building to focus on art and design.
“In Gårda Vesta we’ve designed a pioneering building aiming to give the tenants the best possible conditions for a pleasant and harmonic working environment” Kristina Olsson, architect at White Architects
Modern architecture tends to shift towards social spaces encouraging fellowship rather than independent workstations. Gårda Vesta’s architectonic image speaks more than a thousand words, it’s not just a marvelous building – it’s an exclamation mark for neuro architecture.
Architect: White Arkitekter
Metal-builder: UPB AS
WICONA solutions: Curtain wall WICTEC EL EVO