Roughly five years ago, the leaders of Swedbank decided to move their operations out of the office building they had occupied for four decades in the heart of Stockholm. The 1970s edifice, along with neighboring buildings that the bank had expanded into, consisted primarily of cellular offices and long corridors and was cramped and dark. It “no longer matched their vision for banking's future,” says Daniel Markstrom, head of architecture for Humlegården, the developer of Swedbank's new 484,000-square-foot headquarters in Syndbyberg, a suburb and commuter hub about 5 miles from central Stockholm. What the bank wanted, says Markstrom, was a more flexible home that would accommodate all 2,700 employees and foster collaboration among them.

In response to these desires, Humlegården and its Copenhagen-based architect, 3XN, created a building for the roughly rectangular 1.2-acre site that is six stories tall at one end and gradually ascends to nine stories at the other. The steel-and-concrete structure has a zigzagging plan that forms what the designers describe as a “folded triple V.” It defines five dramatic skylit atriums—one within each fold—that offer visual connections among the bank's working groups.

Creating the atriums actually saved money, says Kim Herforth Nielsen, 3XN principal. Enclosing the spaces between folds reduced the exterior surface area and, as a consequence, cut the amount of aluminum-and-glass skin required.

The interiors, developed with Swedish firm Tengbom, have white walls, oak floors, and splashes of color. The layout includes almost no private offices. Instead, there are cubicles, upholstered chairs, niches with tables and banquettes, and glass-enclosed conference rooms. Employees are not tethered to a specific desk; they select their work locations daily, based on personal preferences and their assigned projects.

This system functions well, says Nielsen, because there are almost twice as many work spaces as there are occupants. Yet 3XN's building is about 25 percent smaller than the bank's former home. This is possible, in part, because the new structure frees up space once taken by conventional hallways. Rather than enclosed corridors, an open “main street” offers a route through each floor and connects its coffee stations. The placement of these gathering spots transforms the circulation areas into zones for socializing and informal meetings.

The new building's use of space is not its only efficiency. Swedbank anticipates that its annual operating costs will be about $20 million lower than they had been in the city center. The new headquarters should also conserve energy due to features such as a heat-recovery system and a thermally robust skin. The energy-use target, excluding lighting and plug loads, is only 4.65kWh per square foot per year—half the current standard. Although it is still too early for a complete year of operating data, the building is performing better than expected, according to the developer, with consumption hovering around 3.72kWh per square foot per year.

The project's success can be attributed to the alignment of the clients' goals with those of the design-and-development team, according to Markstrom: “3XN's philosophy and architecture,” he says, “are a perfect match for Swedbank.”


Formal name of building:
Swedbank Headquarters

Sundbyberg, Stockholm, Sweden

Completion Date:
June 2014

Gross square footage:
484,000 square feet (45,000 square meters)


Humlegården Fastigheter AB

Kanonbådsvej 8
1437 Copenhagen
+45 7026 2648 (T)
+45 7026 2649 (F)

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Kim Herforth Nielsen, Architect MAA
Jeanette Hansen, Architect MAA
Audun Opdal, Architect MAA
Marie Hesseldahl Larsen, Architect MAA
Anders Wadman, Architect SAR/MSA

Associate architect(s):
BSK Arkitekter (local collaborator)

Interior designer:
(3XN was responsible for the foyer, the restaurant and the caf')

P O Andersson Konstruktionsbyrå AB (mechanical, plumbing)
Ikkab (electrical)
Hillstatik (structural)

Landscape: LAND Arkitektur

Lighting: Black Ljusdesign

Acoustical: Åkerlöf Hallin Akustikkonsult AB

Project Manager: Forsen Projekt

Sustainability/Certification: Miljökonsult Sofite Åberg AB

Fire: Brandkonsulten AB

Adam Mørk
+45 26 25 65 60



Structural system:
Concrete and steel

Exterior cladding
Metal/glass curtain wall: Scandinavian Glass Systems

Blind system for façade: erco systems ab

Sedum green roof: Veg Tech

Skylights: Scandinavian Glass Systems

Entrances: Boonedam

Metal doors: Swedoors

Wood doors: Swedoors

Special doors: Lemming & Nørholm

Prefab toilets: PART

Security devices: Boonedam

Interior finishes
Suspension grid: Paroc

Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Frapont

Raised flooring: Lindner

Special interior finishes unique to this project: CSK fabricated steel stair

Reception: SIBAB

Coffee stations and feature walls: SIBAB

Task lighting: Fagerhult

Elevators/Escalators: KONE