10 km south of Gothenburg on the road to Särö lies the small community of Hovås, which is home to the Primo office building. With its facade’s patina of steel in different phases of corrosion and a shape with projections deviating from the rectangular norm of most buildings, Primo certainly makes an unforgettable impression.
“The building was never meant to be just an ordinary office block. Primo’s owner, Next Step Group, wants to create buildings that provide space for architecture,” says Oskar Lindström, Project Manager at Next Step Group.
Next Step Group is a real estate investment firm operating in the Gothenburg region.
Top quality rental premises
In addition to four tenants, Primo is also home to Next Step Group’s office hotel – The House.
One of the requirements for Primo was that the building’s office spaces had to be flexible, e.g. it needed to have mobile internal walls. In order to facilitate finding tenants, the building also needed to be attractive.
“As part of our focus on a comfortable and pleasant environment at Primo, we included huge windows to let in the light, great air conditioning and stylish interiors. The building itself will also impress,’ says Oskar Lindström.
From criticism to acclaim
The building’s striking impact is based on its shape and facade materials. The architect selected Cor-Ten facade cassettes instead of using a perforated steel surface.
“We wanted a living, practically organic surface. Some people were worried that the building’s walls would be rust coloured. However, they’ve been won over and now think the same as I do: the solution is stunningly beautiful,” Oskar Lindström says, singing its praises.
Primo has also attracted admiration in professional circles. The Göteborgs-Posten newspaper’s architecture critic, Mark Isitt, notes that Primo is like a building straight out of Hollywood Hills. He adds that they set the bar high for the design both at Primo, as well as in the development of the new Nya Hovås. See www.gp.se/n%C3%B6je/s%C3%A5-blir-nya-hov%C3%A5s-en-stadsdel-i-v%C3%A4rldsklass-1.3713915 (in Swedish)
Ruukki supplied Primo’s Ruukki Forma facade system. The delivery included Cor-Ten facade cassettes, sandwich panels for exterior walls and load-bearing roof panels.
Counterweight to shopping centres
Next Step Group has been heavily involved in the development of Nya Hovås. Their role as a guide for development began with their acquisition of Kodak’s empty office block and the surrounding plot. Next Step Group prepared detailed plans for around 1,300 homes and business premises. The company sold the rights to build homes but retained all commercial areas.
“We are leasing the business premises to companies. Our selection of tenants means we will be able to influence the way in which the Nya Hovås area develops. This allows us to create a pleasant mix of business premises so that the area is high class and effective,” notes Oskar Lindström.
Nya Hovås is becoming something of a counterweight to the trend of shopping centres. The community is bringing together small specialist stores through its “Small Shops” concept.
Genuine participation spurs the project on
Project Manager Oskar Lindström explains that the construction project for the entire area has been special. Next Step Group prepared an overall plan for development of the area together with residents, who contributed around 8,000 ideas for development.
“The plan for the area was completed and approvals obtained in about half the time it normally takes for projects of this size. This was made possible through the genuine participation of residents in the planning phase. It naturally reduced complaints and sped up the process,” notes Next Step Group’s Head of Marketing, Annika Mayer.
New and different for everyone
The design solutions to make Primo what it has become also require problem solving capacity during planning. For example, the structure is supported by trusses that eliminate the need for pillars in front of the facades on the projections. For the facades, Cor-Ten facade cassettes in many different sizes have been used to create an asymmetric pattern. This, in combination with the shape of the building, complicated the planning process.
“We selected Ruukki as our supplier, as they were able to deliver the entire system and make it look good. We didn’t want a run of the mill facade,” says Oskar Lindström fondly.
For Ruukki, the building’s façade was anything but ordinary. The shape of the building meant that many different customised solutions were required. Each cassette has its own position and size. According to Oskar Lindström, there are always challenges when working on something unique. Ruukki also developed throughout the process, and in the end it all went swimmingly.
“This was a unique project for everyone. I’m really pleased with the project; we got what we ordered. The building was completed ahead of schedule and the quality is first class,” says a happy Oskar Lindström.
- Liberta Cor-Ten 600 facade cassettes 1,215 m2
- Sandwich panels, approximately 2,020 m2
Load-bearing T130 roof profile, approximately 1,170 m2
Beams and accessories
Cor-Ten® weathering steel that creates contrasts
Cor-Ten is a weathering-resistant steel that is protected through its anti-corrosive properties, slowing down corrosion. It is also known as weathering steel. Thanks to its unique chemical composition consisting of copper, chromium, nickel and in certain classes phosphorus, Cor-Ten weathering-resistant construction steel is significantly better at withstanding atmospheric corrosion that other similar types of construction steel.
Cor-Ten is used in architectonic applications without any further surface treatment, which eliminates the need for surface treatment during the manufacturing process and period of use, which in turn reduces maintenance work, costs and the environmental impact. In short, it offers a long lifetime and low maintenance.
The weather-resistance is based on an oxide layer, also known as a patina, forming on the surface of the steel – thanks to the alloying elements. The patina is sealed and almost impenetrable for acid, which protects the underlying steel. In weather exposure in normal atmospheric conditions, the patina is formed within 18 to 36 months, providing that the surface is regularly subjected to wet and dry conditions. The more frequently there are wet periods in relation to dry cycles, the quicker the patina is formed. The layer is initially red-brown but becomes darker over time.