Växjö, a city in Sweden, is known for its commitment to sustainable and low carbon construction. The city is home to one of the largest timber buildings in the country in December 2022 secured the Highly Commended prize for the 2022 Best Use of Certified Timber Prize, supported by PEFC.
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The new mixed-use, seven-storey building combines municipal areas with a modern transport hub all under one roof. The project was initiated to respond to the growing population and increased tourism in the area. When the Växjö station area was first developed in the 1870s, it was built for a city of 4,000 inhabitants. However, the population is now over 65,000, which required a major upgrade to make it fit for purpose.
Binderholz supplied 1,100 m³ of PEFC-certified glulam and 3,100 m³ of PEFC-certified cross laminated timber (CLT) for the building. The gross area of the building is almost 17,000 m2. The interior has many visible timber elements, including suspended ceilings, wall coverings, floors, and stairs. Additionally, the building benefits from 577 m2 of solar panels installed on the roof to provide renewable energy.
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The building is also certified to the Swedish Green Building Council’s gold environmental certification (Miljöbyggnad Guld), which looks carefully at materials used and energy consumption. The use of structural timber meant a lower environmental impact than competing materials such as concrete or steel. In addition, the use of timber allowed for a cleaner and quieter construction.
The train station is at the ground floor entrance level and is connected to the railway bridge upstairs. The central areas of the building on the first two floors are open to the public. The station also has shops, cafés and restaurants, as well as a 780 m² meeting space, dubbed the ‘Växjö living room’. The outer walls to the north and east are made of timber, which are part of the structural frame. The facade on the street level consists of wood panelling in both natural and dark colours. Floors four to seven house the town hall’s administrative centre, with about 600 workplaces.
In collaboration with Skanska, project architects Sweco worked on the overall design, while other architectural firms including White Arkitekter worked on the town hall’s interior and the shops in the station.
“As architects, we believe that buildings and cities show the kind of society we want to live in, and Växjö station and town hall is a good example of this,” said Niklas Kummer from Sweco, the architect responsible for the project.
The use of certified timber in the construction of the Växjö station and town hall not only showcases the city’s commitment to sustainability, but it also serves as a beacon for other cities and countries to follow. Timber is a renewable resource that can play a vital role in reducing the environmental impact of buildings and construction. The Växjö project is an example of how innovative design and construction techniques can be used to create sustainable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing buildings that benefit both the environment and the community.
Photos © Felix Gerlach
(With Extracts from PEFC International)