Skypark Business Center
Timber landmark - Findel Airport, Luxembourg
Skypark Business Center (SBC) is one of Europe’s largest wooden buildings and the first in an ambitious master plan that aims to turn the Luxembourg airport district into a thriving economic hub. Located in Findel adjacent to terminal A – the project is not only a landmark to visitors entering the country but also to Luxembourg’s architectural ambitions.
Working with Danish architect firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the building takes the shape of two long and slim zigzagging volumes (17 metres in width) that are stacked and rotated 180 degrees. These interlocking volumes snake south-westward for 372m parallel to the airport’s runway. The volumes are extruded to 30.5 metres – the maximal allowable building height – to create a total usable surface area of 70,000m². (60.000m² of offices and 10.000m² of shops)
Split over several floors, the SBC is comprised of shops, restaurants and offices, while four semi-subterranean levels accommodate parking space for more than 1500 vehicles. There is also provision for a nursery, fitness center and boutique hotel.
The intersecting volumes create a labyrinth of opportunities for views, recreation and terraces – which are accessible every 50 metres – while its height creates a colossal wall in elevation. This acts as a giant acoustic barrier that protects the public space and neighbouring buildings from noise pollution.
All of the project’s glazed edges are chamfered and softened to remove dead corners and provide unobstructed panoramic views of the runway or the Grand Ducal Golf Course. The double-height courtyards and permeable roof gardens also exposes more floor area and façades to natural light, which in turn improves the ambience and well-being of its occupants.
The SBC is cleverly configured to create office layouts that cater to all working models and company sizes. Core functions are grouped in the building sections where the two volumes overlap, which enables direct elevator access for every tenant. Office floor plates are flexible and continuous to make spaces easy to sub-divide while the ‘Grande Galerie’ – a porous inner passage on the ground floor – connects all cores to alternating programs and functions.
The SBC will achieve nZEB status (nearly zero energy), which signals a new era of sustainable design in Luxembourg.
The majority of its upper structures, bridges and slabs are built from 13,000m³ of European timber, while its iridescent copper façade is assembled from 80 per cent recycled metal.
All interior spaces and the curvature of its copper façade are illuminated by a low voltage (POE) lighting system that was specially developed for the project. This allows for greater management flexibility and savings in both maintenance and energy.
The building’s high performance is complimented by energy obtained from renewable sources produced on-site and nearby. These include photovoltaic solar cells, rainwater collection, and green roofs and terraces.
The extensive roof gardens not only provide three tiers of space for recreation and well-being but also reduces the heat island effect – a phenomenon attributed to urban areas that experience higher temperatures due to concentrated human activity.
The SBC will set a new a benchmark for low carbon emissions but also meet all future energetic performance requirements of the country explained former Lux-Airport CEO René Steinhaus.
“The Skypark Business Centre South will be a reference for environmentally friendly and sustainable buildings that helps us align our economic and ecological goals.”
Findel Airport, Luxembourg
BIG Architects | Jim Clemes Associates
Jean Schmit Engineering | Au2 - cabinet d'ingenieurs-conseils | Beissel & Ruppert | Phoenix
1st prize in invited competition