Delivering on top - a decentralised solution for 245 meters

Delivering on top - a decentralised solution for 245 meters

Karlatornet in Gothenburg, Sweden

As might be expected from the tallest residential building in the European Union, the ambitions for Karlatornet were sky-high. The view over the sea and the city of Gothenburg is just amazing, and the building naturally has to offer an indoor climate to match it. However, a 245 meter tall building poses some ‘behind the scenes’ challenges out of the ordinary, especially in terms of logistics and space utilisation. The solution imposed creativity in everything from design to logistics – quite simply, a top job.

This is how it all began

Lindholmen is an area north of Gothenburg city centre and was once known for its many shipyards and industries. The area transformed during the mid-1990’s when schools emerged, tech-businesses moved in and a science park was built. A long lasting construction process followed with residential buildings, hotels and other amenities being raised.

In the early 2000s, the Gothenburg based real estate company Serneke, acquired a three-acre expanse and planned it as “Karlastaden”. Their most known and ambitious project in the area came to be Karlatornet, a 73 story, or 245 m tall, building rising to the sky well above all other structures at Lindholmen, and in most of Europe for that matter. Karlatornet is built primarily as a residential building with more than 600 apartments, but the skyscraper also house restaurants, convenient stores, offices and a top-floor visitor centre. An incredible addition to the Gothenburg skyline!

A decentralised solution for ventilation

As said, Karlastaden took form already in the early 2000s. More than ten years later, the construction industry understood that the many years of meticulous project formation had come to a point where construction planning was on the table. A consultancy firm in the building industry in Gothenburg prepared a technical blueprint for a system solution for ventilation which accompany the project for many years to come.

At Swegon we formed a team of highly knowledgeable and experienced colleagues who collaborated to serve the project with answers and recommendations to potential indoor climate solutions. The ventilation requirements set for the building allowed us to eventually present a decentralised solution where air handling units (AHUs) were strategically positioned on every fifth floor throughout the entire building, all the way to the top. A solution the consultancy firm was keen on, and which ended up being the final, and time saving, solution for the now finished skyscraper. 



The reference case would shine with a film or quote (left), together with a story from Serneke (right). Obviously we would want our external partner to focus on the indoor climate in Karlatornet.

This is not only a spectacular building

An apartment is not just a definition of a place where someone lives, it is a home. It is a place for comfort, rest and recuperation as well as for sleep. Good air quality may often be seen as key for performing at work or in school, but good air quality is just as important for recovery, for processing thoughts from a long day of meetings or studies and for the well needed sleep. The 73-story Karlatornet will be the home to nearly 2 000 persons,
quite some hours of sleep to care for.


Learn more about good air quality

Choosing a supplier

The contractor, Bravida, was entrusted the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) project at Karlatornet. They, together with the consultancy firm COWI, specified air handling units (AHUs) with integrated control systems for a decentralised solution. A quest that we understood could suit us very well at Swegon. We have worked many projects over several years together with Bravida, and the fact that they were familiar with our expertise as well as with the helpfulness of our technicians, might have assigned us some extra reliability and credibility when Bravida made their choice of supplier for Karlatornet.


Why Swegon?

Air handling units for a very special project

The air handling units for this project was fairly ordinary despite the extraordinary characteristics of the building. Our GOLD RX air handlers are manufactured with built in controls as standard, and our regular sizes met the set requirements for the indoor climate in Karlatornet. The rotors are epoxy treated to stand the salty and humid outside air on the west coast of Sweden.

The apartments in Karlatornet are divided into four housing cooperatives and they all decided on the same ventilation solution from us at Swegon. Hence, a total of 19 GOLD air handling units of various smaller sizes were provided to the project. In addition, two bigger units were needed to serve a few larger apartments and the visitor areas on the top floors. These had to be specially made because the large rotor had to be delivered in pieces. The construction elevator was the only option to get people and items up and inside the building, and the standard rotor was far too big to fit the elevator cars.


Read more about epoxy treatment of rotors

To get more information about GOLD

Why a decentralised solution?

There are a few distinctive features of a decentralised solution which more or less boils down to an economic effect for the building owner, or in this case the housing cooperatives.

  • Smaller duct work may allow for more rentable floor space. Yes, most likely in the centre of the building but large sized bathrooms and spacious walk-in closets are valued square meters as well.
  • Installation and commissioning can be done in steps and allow for early move-in, the "reverse" scenario is also favoured by a decentralised solution as separate sections can be turned off for e.g. service and maintenance.
  • Operation can be easier if a building serves many different purposes with different requirements. Think about the demands of an office, appartment and restaurant. Not much alike.
  • Logistics and construction as well as service and maintenance can be completed with smaller measures if the air handling units are smaller in size.


An amazing building

Lets go back to the fact that Karlatornet is 73 stories tall, rising 245 meters above the ground – perhaps not intimidating in a global perspective, but again, an incredible addition to the Gothenburg skyline!

Hear our expert Lars Svensson, xxx Swegon Sverige AB, share his thoughts about our truly exciting work at Karlatornet and our GOLD-units' journey in the construction elevator. Hear his comments about the challenges in this project and listen to his circumspective thoughts about our top delivery.