Media City Bergen Scandinavia’s first media tech cluster
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A characteristic building structure from the early 1980’s is transformed to meet the needs for a state-of-the-art media house.
It all started when a group of media companies decided they wanted to make Scandinavia’s first media cluster in Bergen. The group featured Norway’s largest broadcasters NRK and TV2, regional newspapers BA and BT, the University of Bergen and tech-company Vizrt. In 2012 Mad arkitekter won the architectural competition and got the chance to reshape the former Norwegian Hydro’s head quarter in Bergen.
Mad Arkitekter’s approach for adaptive reuse is to maintain the original form and character of the existing building and reduce the CO2-emissions. The building is flexible and various changes are easy to implement. The large floor plans allows for modern media production, mixing open office space, studios, technical features and social meeting places.
The transformation is an improvement of both architecture and energy consumption. The environmental gain of the reuse has been remarkable. The carbon dioxide – CO2 – emissions are reduced with more than 6.242 tons, which corresponds to 48.000 flights between the two Norwegian cities Oslo and Trondheim. The energy class certification has changed from E to B, and MCB is BREEAM-certified to level Very Good. The re-use of the structure has shaped a modern building with interesting historical traces throughout. The new and flexible solutions in MCB makes it adaptable for future demands of the ever changing media industry.
The architecture draws inspiration from the existing building, with its characteristic tall and octagonal towers, in effort to combine the buildings history to its new and modern function and expression. A dark facade along the street level blurs the transition between inside and outside, while a transparent and light base redefines the streetscape.
The open space mezzanine on the ground floor creates a smooth transition to Lars Hilles street. With entrances from both sides of the building, you are drawn towards the central atrium, the heart of the media cluster. In MCB, black and white contrasts are consistently used to create an expression that is both expressive and neutral. The contrast serves as a powerful backdrop for the content produced and perceived on the inside and outside of the building, as well as creating a universally accessible space for all users. MCB has become a Scandinavian icon that pins Bergen on the map and plays a significant role as a generator of urban development and interest.
Scandinavia’s first media cluster is not only historical as a project, but has also helped revitalize urban connections in Bergen, and hopefully work as a catalysator for the development of its surroundings. MCB faces the busy Lars Hilles street and helps activate the space. On the opposite side, you will find Odd Frantzens plass, a city space that creates an important access point to the MCB. The square has been upgraded with a new cover, lighting and furniture. The concept of outdoor design reflects elements of the overall architectural concept. Across the building there are walkways through already established alleyways. The ground floor is activated by establishing commercial spaces on street level. Both facades and the octagon-shaped towers of the MCB are highly visible in the cityscape and play an important societal role in Bergen.
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