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Architecture for collaboration, health and innovation

The countdown to the opening of GoCo House has begun. In February, the area's signature building will open its doors to a 21,000 square meter meeting place that manifests the entire GoCo Health Innovation City. Three years ago, when the architectural firm Semrén & Månsson was commissioned to design the building, the area only consisted of sketches and visions.

Today, with only weeks to go until moving in, phase two of the construction plans has begun and another 110,000 square meters of area has been added to be filled with innovative investments and health-promoting initiatives.

- When our work with GoCo House started, the area was still at sketching stage and the brief was to design a signature building with expressive architecture that would set the tone for what was to come. Today we can begin to glimpse the overall picture where GoCo House will be the central hub. The idea behind the design is very much to reflect the rapid processes of life science research, while the shape gives expression to the variety and small-scale manifesting the district as a whole. This is also reinforced by the human sculptures on the roofs rejecting the scale, says Magnus Månsson, responsible architect and owner of Semrén & Månsson.

GoCo House keyword, included since the initial discussions, have been innovation, collaboration, sustainability and opportunities to meet. To create a building that promotes the meeting between people and builds conditions for innovation in a sustainable way.

- GoCo House is really the heart of the area, a place for people to meet - both spontaneously and planned. We have had a great collaboration with architects, construction companies and subcontractors who have met our ambitions in the best possible way - both from a sustainability perspective and from the vision of collaboration we wish to create, says Anna Eckerstig, Director Real Estate Development at GoCo Health Innovation City.

So, can architecture enable collaboration and unleash innovation? Hanna Pettersson, architect and business development manager at Semrén & Månsson, believes that the architecture is absolutely decisive.

- Architecture is essential, or actually, absolutely crucial, in creating the conditions to meet. There must be unartistic places to meet at and with the right architecture you can also create flows allowing people to bump into each other in a natural way. At GoCo House, we have worked with both joint areas, movement patterns and created an environment that we hope people will enjoy and value as a workplace, Hanna Pettersson continues.

Hanna continues describing GoCo House as a dynamic, allowing place where no floor looks the same - something that creates impressions and nurtures creativity.

- Humans need variety to give new ideas a free play space. Innovation is a constant word for the entire area and when we talked about how innovation can be reflected in architecture, we ended up creating a building that is experiential in its structure and changeable over time - a building allowing things to happen. Despite the irregular office spaces and thanks to a consistent and durable interior concept, we have formed environments ready to face changes. Something that also benefits the sustainability perspective. You shouldn't have to rebuild because a new tenant is moving in, Hanna continues.

When it comes to sustainability, the ongoing work to reduce the climate footprint and to strive for high sustainability at all levels has been distinctive. The building has been gold-certified according to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), an international system based on Location and transport Sustainable sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and resources and Indoor Environmental Quality.

- We work according to a sustainability framework that forms the basis of all our sustainability efforts - from construction processes, architecture, transport, travel and on-site services. As for GoCo House, we have worked with conscious sustainable materials that last over time and support environmental work in general. We have strived toward using wood as much as possible, which is also replicated in the interior design where natural materials can be found together with recycling. The building is created to last over time with a durable base, while the feeling is changeable and playful, says Anna Eckerstig.

Health is mirrored throughout GoCo Health Innovation City. The district does not only enable health innovation for the future - the area itself is based on the idea of health and well-being for employees and visitors. In GoCo House, movement is encouraged through strategic flows that primarily move upwards in the building, making for example the stairs a natural choice to use.

- GoCo House is a healthy office building from several perspectives. For instance, wood as a material is a healthy choice that makes people feel good and by creating reasons to movement, the design of the house also contributes to well-being in everyday life. It is no coincidence that we have human sculptures decorated the building. The entire GoCo Health Innovation City is based on doing good for humanity today and for the future - something we also want the architecture to highlight, Hanna Pettersson ends.

Photos: Samrén & Månsson

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