Sparebanken Vest wanted to concentrate their activities in a new building in the center of Bergen on a site at the edge between tall post-war blocks and small-scale 18th century houses. Cubus and Brandsberg-Dahl won the limited design competition held in 2008, with three moves that have persisted through the planning process: the building completes the urban fabric and frames a new square; and open facade exposes a lively interior; the atrium is a meeting place for all users.
The atrium gathers communal activities and connects with the public areas on ground and first floors, which can be hired out for external functions. The upper office floors are organized with noisy activities around the atrium, and zones for concentration along the facade. All surfaces are design for optimal light - and sound conditions. The facade design is inspired by water and reflects the traditional Bergen timer houses.
The site is an important part of the cultural axis through the center of Bergen. The adjacent street has been pedestrianized, and the new square allows for diverse urban activities. The recessed entrance provides a covered outdoor area.
IARK has been responsible for all interior planning, collaborating with architects and users from the very start of the project. A long process of users participation made sure information flowed both ways, so the users would know what to expect from the new building. And aesthetics advisory group with representatives from everyone involved made the final decisions on function, design, colors and materials.