Department Store in Uppsala
The new Åhléns Building in Uppsala is a department store building with both shops and offices. Half of the building incorporates an existing concrete slab-column frame, while the other half is an entirely new structure on a vacant adjacent lot.
The design is based on Uppsala’s urban character and scale, and aims to create a distinctive building with a clear identity. The objective has been to produce a building with great functional longevity, a building concept malleable enough for its design to survive intact while accommodating a variety of different programmatic and zoning demands and adapting to the varied urban spaces on different sides of the building.
The organic plan form has several different points of entry, creating new paths through the block, but it still unites the building’s different businesses under the single shared identity of its distinctive and coherent shell. The idea of the facade’s curving contours is to lead the eye around its corners, establishing spatial continuity from one side of the building to the next. The glass and perforated aluminum skin vary in reflectivity and transparency, giving the building a fluctuating appearance as you move around it. The softly undulating facade elements also create overhangs that articulate the position of entrances and shops.
The typology of a department store - typically a large, windowless box – is addressed by varying the form and attributes of the transparent enclosure to create a dynamic visual impression. With its distinctive facades, the building also serves as a new point of orientation within the city.
The facade panels are conceived as extra clear (low-iron) glass combined with an outer skin made of reflective polished aluminum that is perforated to filter direct sun light, a solution that allows a gradual transition between transparent and mirrored portions. This way the facade also contributes to the building’s high level of energy efficiency.