In the shape of a plus sign, Bjarke Ingels Group has designed a new factory for Norwegian furniture manufacturer Vestre AS. The project is the first industrial building in the Nordic region to achieve the very highest environmental BREEAM rating by meeting the requirements for classification as Outstanding. Combining sustainable architecture and high-efficiency production, The Plus is envisioned as a village for the community. The 6,500m2 open production facility doubles as a 300-acre park for hiking and camping – a landmark design, fully aligned with the region’s mission to establish a green manufacturing industry.
All materials used for the project were carefully selected based on their environmental impact, including over 1,000m2 of Junckers solid maple two-strip flooring which has been installed in several parts of the interior. In addition, the façade is constructed from local timber, low-carbon concrete, and recycled reinforcement steel.
Designed to be a ‘Paris Agreement-proof’ building, every aspect of the design is based on principles of renewable and clean energy to match Vestre’s eco-friendly production, including ensuring a minimum of 50% lower greenhouse gas emissions than comparable establishments. On the rooftop, 1,200 photovoltaic panels are placed and angled according to optimal solar efficiency. Excess heat from the panels is connected to an ice-water system for cooling, hot and cold storage tanks, heat pumps and energy wells as a storage support system. Overall, the system contributes to at least 90% lower energy demand than that of a similar conventional factory.
The building is conceived as a radial array of four main production halls – the warehouse, the colour factory, the wood factory, and the assembly – that connect at the centre. The layout enables an efficient, flexible, and transparent workflow between the manufacturing units, forming a ‘plus’ shape at its intersection.
The four production units are built with a 21m free-spanning, cross-laminated timber, creating flexible column-free spaces. From all four sides of the buildings, visitors and staff are invited to hike around the facility and conclude on the green roof terrace, transforming the furniture factory museum into a campus in the woods. The Plus reinforces Vestre’s vision of combining social and democratic spaces.
Photo credit: BIG