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Bygg, AF Gruppen

Social Architecture : This is Construction City

Social spaces

One example: Lifts from the parking facility stop on the first floor. From there you have to move either to a staircase or to another lift to get to the floor you want.
"We want to encourage people to meet one another. Knowledge and information are transferred through random encounters”, says project developer Harald Gründel with a smile.

He's been working on Construction City from the very beginning. On October 14, a milestone was reached when Oslo City Council leader Raymond Johansen (Labour Party) broke the first ground, thus marking the start of one of Norway's largest construction projects.

"Construction City will be a motor in the development of the country's largest mainland industry," said the city council leader, who has a background as a plumber.

Bringing the industry together

The building site at Ulven is a short walk from AF Gruppen's head office at Helsfyr. The building will have a total area of 103,000 square metres and will house 4,500 employees spread over 11 floors. OBOS, Betonmast, Ellingard Gruppen and AF Gruppen are some of the companies that will move into the building when it is completed in 2025. 

Construction City is both a building and an idea. It will be a leading arena for value-creating interaction, and facilitate new sustainable solutions in the building, construction and real estate industries. Four years before the building is completed, 60 per cent of the premises have been leased.

"That’s extraordinary and shows that the businesses moving into the building have a genuine belief in the building, the cluster collaboration and the mindset on which the project is based," Thomas Bagn, a commercial broker at Eiendomshuset Malling &Co, told the website Eiendomswatch. The construction industry’s new showpiece enables incidental meetings between people.

The glass hall will be the focal point

Construction City Bygg, which is established and owned by Betonmast and AF Gruppen, is the contractor. The construction agreement has a value of NOK 2.7 billion. A special working community is responsible for the construction. Thomas Willumsen Dalene from AF Bygg Oslo is the project manager.

"It is one project and one set of accounts. The difference from other projects is that some are employed by Betonmast and some are employed by AF," says Dalene.

He draws attention to the large glass hall as an impressive feature of the building.

"It's a 35-metre high glass atrium that will be fun to build. At the same time, it is the centrepiece of the building itself and a focal point for the people who will be working in Construction City.

The glass hall will be at the centre of what will become an open and inviting building. Places branch out from the glass hall where people can meet, either on a sofa or in a meeting room.

The stairs will have a prominent role in the building. They will be an important architectural element and will encourage people to walk instead of taking a lift. On each floor there will be landing sites and mingling areas where people can meet. 

Built for the workers of the future

During the coronavirus pandemic, many people learned how to work without being in the office. So how do you plan an office building for a working future you don't know? 

"The aim is for people to want to travel to, and work from, Construction City even if their working methods change," says project manager Gunnar Irby.

The ambition is to create a building that will be attractive to young people in 2025.

"How will people in the construction industry – those who leave school in 2025 – how will they work? Young people of today work more flexibly and differently than those who have been working for many years. We must make it attractive to be young in the building. If we're going to get people to go to work, we have to offer more than just a desk and a screen, we have to create an arena where you meet people physically in a lot of different ways.

One example: The second and third floors will accommodate the Collektivet (with a C, since it is Construction City). The Collektivet is an area with flexible workplaces where employees of different tenants can sit down to work. The aim is to create better interaction.

Also people from the outside can use the Collektivet. For example, the board of a co-ownership can hold a board meeting in the area. If they're going to have an annual meeting, they can rent the auditorium. The idea is to make the premises available to more people.

Parts of the parking area should also be made available to the general public. The project team is working on finding good solutions that make better use of parking spaces than in traditional office buildings. 

"No one gets their name on a sign in the parking garage which results in the space stands empty outside of office hours," promises Gunnar Irby.


The building will have a fitness centre, locker room and indoor parking for 1,300 bicycles. A doctor's office, physiotherapist and dentist are planned in connection with the fitness centre. There will be several places to eat and staff restaurants, and there will be commercial premises on the ground level. 

On the 10th floor there will be a sky bar with a magnificent view. The roof terrace can accommodate 300 people and should in general also be open to the general public.

On the same floor, a boardroom is being built that will also be available to start-ups and others who do not have one of their own. Here you can rent on an hourly basis to give presentations or hold meetings in beautiful surroundings.

Sustainability and reuse have great focus in Construction City. The ambition is for half of the materials used in the construction to be recycled or reused materials. It is also intended that large parts of the building can be reused and recycled in the future. Furniture and fittings do not necessarily have to be new.

"Why should all chairs in a staff restaurant be the same?" asks Harald Gründel.

One example: Maybe you can get hold of furniture, textiles and lamps so you can create a 1970s-style meeting room.

– I can't wait

Ida Aall Gram, Executive Vice President of AF Gruppen and a member of the Construction City steering group, expects the building to become a meeting place and an attractive place to host events and showcase what AF and the industry otherwise are doing.

"I look forward to moving into a modern building with functional and good areas for AF where each unit can help design their areas to suit their needs. In addition to our own beautiful areas, I look forward to accessing attractive facilities in the building in general and together with other industry players including students and start-ups," says Gram.

She highlights the shape and size as the most spectacular aspects of the building.

"With about 100,000 square metres, it will be huge compared to the vast majority of office buildings! The common area in the centre of the building nevertheless binds the whole together, and the building has some X-Factors in the form of the large glass hall and roof terrace. Large open spaces for active communal use in the glass hall on the ground floor will create a natural focal point and the roof terrace offers a unique view of the whole city.