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    Kaj16, Sweden

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  • Client


Gothenburg is on a path towards becoming a beacon of sustainability and interconnectedness.  Down on the harbor where the city reaches the edge of the river, the vibrant and diverse urban district Lilla Bommen will emerge on the quayside a new distinct and colorful destination arising where there is now only scattered parking lots and office buildings. In this transitioning and innovative place, with a unique location right between the river and the city, Kaj16 will be the unifying, creative heart on the waterfront. An ambitious wooden vision enlightening the city, its people and everyone passing through. 

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Known for its Dutch-style canals, neoclassic architecture and relaxed atmosphere, Sweden’s second largest city Gothenburg has spent the last decades reinventing itself. From a gloomy, polluted port city to a thriving, green metropolis. Today, Gothenburg is considered one of the most sustainable destinations in the world with new urban areas continuously evolving and growing. On the quayside the new urban district ‘Lilla Bommen’ will become a lively urban district, connecting the city to river – and in the middle, the luminous wooden crown Kaj16 will be the unifying hub in the transition between the water and the quay.  Offering both housing, retail, restaurants and cultural attractions, Kaj16 is a new anchoring point for the city that ties people, ideas and businesses on the path to a sustainable and livable future. 

“Kaj16 is a landmark on the Gothenburg’s waterfront. The architecture rests on a highly ambitious plan to challenge conventions and an uncompromising focus on sustainability. It is a large-scale wooden sculptural structure that stands as a radiant and lively destination – a meeting between the flowing river and the bustling city. With its green facade and authentic materials, Kaj16 will be an inspiring meeting place for people and bind the city center and the quayside together with its strong identity and a high architectural value,” says Dorte Mandrup.

With its 37.500 square meters, Kaj16 is one of the larges timber-hybrid structures in the world. The distinct three-dimensional shape of the building ensures both optimum use of the natural daylight and shelter from the harsh offshore winds. Connected to the surrounding urban spaces with an open, transparent base it becomes a interwoven part of the currents of the vibrant city – naturally attracting people down to the quayside – as well as an active meeting place for inspiration, ideas and creativity to form.

Creating a luminous landmark
Like a city street, the landscape that forms the foundation of Kaj16 will become a buzzing intersection, dynamically and naturally tied to the surrounding urban spaces – the quay, the streets and the bridge. At the same time, it will act as a shortcut, creating opportunities for informal and spontaneous meetings to take place between people rushing through, entrepreneurs dreaming up future ideas or residents venturing out for lunch. Paths and streets pass both through and around the building, keeping the public connections open, even when the building is closed for the night. 

Standing in the heart of Kaj16, you will have full view of the many possibilities open to you. Like a city square stretching both horizontal and vertically, the foundation of the building ties together the many levels in one flowing movement. Here, a mix of niche shops, co-working spaces, a bike repair shop, restaurants, cafés and a large event hall will ensure a flourishing atmosphere through the many hours of the day and create a destination on the quay open to everyone.

On the top rests the distinctive wooden crown, almost floating above the concrete and glass structure that forms the foundation of Kaj16. In these upper levels, creative office spaces will exist door to door with living spaces. When the desire to take a break from the days hassle emerge, balconies and plant boxes create intimate, lush green outdoor pockets. The many functions and living spaces establish a diversity in the building and make sure that Kaj16 will be filled with life around the clock – when offices and shops close for the day, residents will be cooking dinner or soaking in the evenings last rays of sun.

Moving up through the building you reach the large roof terraces covered by a glass roof which draws the natural light in, providing opportunities to create greenhouses. Here, restaurants can pick up home-grown vegetables while office-workers and residents relax in the green oasis and enjoy the view over the entire inlet and Gothenburg.  

A sculptural icon
Sustainability is the thread running through the entire process – from the building itself to the everyday life inside.  The ambition to achieve LEED Platinum has affected every facet of the design, but at the same time the uncompromising focus on high architectural value has never faltered – making Kaj16 not only a sustainable beacon but an iconic landmark on the quay. Concrete from the existing building is crushed and reused in the new building's base, while recycled glass and natural stone is given new life as a terrazzo coating on the concrete surface. The remaining building is constructed in wood, with columns and beams made of glulam, and floors and walls of cross-laminated timber (CLT). 
The future is not set-in stone and therefore Kaj16 is built for change. Flexibility in the design will make it possible for future generations to transform the space as needs and requirements change. The facade is modular and makes it possible for housing to be transformed into offices or offices to housing, making Kaj16 ready for anything the future has in store.

Another key element in Kaj16 is biodiversity, creating a rich, green environment for residents, workers and visitors alike. Different Swedish woods, shrubs, and grasses match the different micro-climates occurring between the floors due to the height of the building as well as the conditions of wind, sun and shade. Collected rainwater and beehives on the roof are integrated into the lifecycle and contribute to biodiversity.

Like a city street, the landscape that forms the foundation of Kaj16 will become a buzzing intersection, dynamically and naturally tied to the surrounding urban spaces – the quay, the streets and the bridge