Scandinavian countries are never short of snow in winter, and in Oslo Airport, they make good use of it. The snow is scooped up, stored, and reused as a coolant during summer.

This and a host of other green building features implemented in the airport’s expansion project have earned the terminal the world’s first BREEAM “Excellent” sustainability rating for an airport building.

BREEAM stands for Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method and is the world’s leading sustainability assessment method for masterplanning projects, infrastructure, and buildings.

For the project, the design team at Oslo-based practice Nordic-Office of Architecture adopted a holistic approach to sustainability, which included harvesting maximum energy on site.

The design incorporated ways for snow from the airport’s runways to be collected and stored during winter time in a depot, ready to be utilised as a coolant during warm days.

Natural materials have been incorporated throughout the building, such as a 300m pier wrapped in timber that originates from Scandinavian managed forests.

Oslo Airport

The use of environmentally-friendly materials in the Oslo Airport’s expansion project reduced the building’s CO2 emissions by 35 per cent. Photo: Knut Ramstad

The use of recycled steel and environmentally-friendly concrete mixed with volcanic ash reduces the building’s CO2 emissions by 35%.

Meanwhile, enhanced levels of insulation have earned the project the Passive House level performance standard, with energy consumption cut by more than 50% compared with the existing terminal. (Passive House is the world’s leading standard in energy efficient construction.)

The 115,000sq m expansion work doubles the size of the existing terminal building, increasing the airport’s capacity from 19 million to an anticipated 30 million travellers in the future.

Oslo Airport

Enhanced levels of insulation at the new expanded parts of Oslo Airport reduces energy consumption by more than 50 per cent compared to the existing terminal. Photo: Ivan Brodey

Oslo Airport

The expansion project at Oslo Airport uses recycled steel and special, environmentally-friendly concrete mixed with volcanic ash, reducing the building’s CO2 emissions by 35 per cent. Photo: Ivan Brodey

Additionally, Nordic-Office of Architecture – which also designed the original airport in 1998 – has introduced new features to boost the passenger experience. For instance, artificial lighting has been fitted in certain areas only to complement the high penetration of natural daylight in its interiors. Panoramic and curved glazed windows, plus a 300m long skylight offer broad views of the surrounding landscape. Greeting passengers throughout the terminal are calming green walls and water features, reminiscent of Scandinavian forests.

Gudmund Stokke, founder and head of design at Nordic-Office of Architecture, said in a press statement, “We are delighted to have delivered a project which not only develops Oslo Airport’s distinctive architecture but one which also provides a greatly enhanced experience for passengers.”

Nordic-Office of Architecture is also working on the Istanbul New Airport, scheduled to open next year and set to be the largest airport in the world once completed.