Horten Headquarter's Structural Facade

Horten Headquarter’s Structural Facade


The Horten Headquarters, designed by 3XN, uses an innovative facade system wherein fiberglass acts as structure and insulator to a travertine clad 3-dimensional geometric surface. Please read the article on Horton Headquarters from 3XN for a full description and more images below.

From 3XN:

“The completion of the distinctive Horten Headquarters on Tuborg Harbor signals successful realization of two years’ research and development on innovation in building facades. Horten headquarters is the new head office for the Danish law firm Horten, and the building incorporates a range of innovative sustainable solutions that do not require compromises regarding the aesthetic objectives in the architectural design.</p>\n<p>- The building is a good example of how environmentally friendly objectives can be combined with beautiful architecture, says Kim Herforth Nielsen, Creative Director and Founder of 3XN. From the start, the objective was to design a building that didn’t just live up to the existing energy saving requirements, but that set new standards in surpassing these environmental regulations in the building code. In order to shield against overheating, it was necessary to design the building in such a way that it is closed to the south and opened to the north. Because of the three dimensional relief, the facade works as a screen against the sun, thus allowing a pleasant office temperature. This is done while still providing a view to the water with each office having its own individually framed ‘bow’. In other words, it is the architecture itself that has contributed most to energy savings in this building; the building’s orientation and the facade’s three-dimensional self shielding design.

With its unique design, the facade is also unique in its material composition. To adapt to the special geometry, it was natural to design using new and innovative building materials and methods. If the same facade was to be built using traditional construction methods (ie. steel frames), it would be a challenge to build each element separately and therefore difficult to keep uniformity. By contrast, by taking the decision to build completely out of fiberglass, it becomes possible to mass produce with much fewer discrepancies amongst the various building elements. In our research, we found several relevant references to ships and windmills – but no building projects with self-supporting and insulating fiberglass elements, says Bo Boje Larsen, Architect and Partner in 3XN. The production method using fiberglass has been well known in many capacities, which allows for accurate projections and the know-how to actually design with it. The ‘innovation’ has been integrating fiberglass into building design. The end result is a facade design which consists of two layers of fiberglass composite, with a highly insulated core of foam; upon which is placed an outer layer of travertine. In order to keep within the budget, it was necessary to design a facade with as many repetitions as possible without losing the unique expression of the building. Making the floor slab design zig-zag shaped allows for a very rational and efficient way of attaching the facade. In addition, by making optimal use of the moulds, it is made possible to realize the complex geometry without compromising the original architectural vision. Two years of research and development doesn’t really feel like hard work when we begin to see the results take form. The hardest challenges have actually been the most fun. In fact, it is these challenges that enrich the experience of an architect, says Olaf Kunert, an Architect on the project at 3XN.”

The facade was developed in collaboration with Pihl, Rambøll and Skandinaviska Glassystem AB. The Architects involved in the project by 3XN are: Kim Herforth Nielsen, Bo Boje Larsen, Dorthe Toft Boesen, Jeanette Hansen, Olaf Kunert, Torsten Wang, Jakob Ohm Lauersen, Dag Præstegaard, Gry Kjær, Anders Brinck, Robin Vind Christiansen, Mogens Bruun Jepsen, Carsten Olsen, and Sune Mogensen. Images courtesy of Adam Moerk.