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Lillehammer hosts second Winter Youth Olympics

Kebony Wood
24 Mar 2017
Case study

SOPP, the innovative student accommodation development located in Lillehammer, is hosting athletes of the Winter Youth Olympic Games from 12 - 21 February 2016. This will be the second ever Winter Youth Games but also the second time since 1994 that Lillehammer has played host to the event. Distributed across four blocks, the 360 apartments have been home to those attending Lillehammer University College since September 2015, and have helped to meet the high demand for student accommodation in the area. Kebony has created a sustainable future for this accommodation and prospective students of Lillehammer.

In line with the Games’ legacy goals, “Go Beyond and Create Tomorrow”, the development has been designed by Henning Larsen Architects and SGB to reflect ‘passivhaus’ principles with a particular focus on sustainability in the selection of construction materials. The accommodation draws influence from traditional Nordic architecture, with wood panelling used throughout. Kebony was chosen for the external wooden cladding of the buildings, both for its striking silver-grey patina, but also as it is a sustainable alternative to hardwood which is far more environmentally friendly than comparable construction materials. Kebony is impregnated with a biowaste product, and heated under pressure to give the product structural stability and robustness. This ensures that SOPP is protected from the harsh Norwegian weather of the Gudbrandsdalen region while also ensuring that the natural beauty of the region is maintained.

Over the course of the Games, up to four athletes share each of the spacious units, which spread across an area of 13,000 m². During normal university terms however students have their own en-suite flat with a kitchenette and access to a shared communal area. All buildings have TEK10-standard, environmentally friendly paint, new bio fuel-heated district heating and have been built by a local workforce, using environmentally-friendly and sustainable materials.

1,100 young athletes from 70 different nations, aged between 15 and 18 years-old, compete in 70 medal events across sport and winter disciplines. This year a number of new events have been added to proceedings including cross-country and slopestyle skiing. So far, 12,000 accredited guests from all over the world have been confirmed for this exciting event with over 3,000 young volunteers.

The Youth Olympic torch, lit in the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens, will arrive in Lillehammer on the 12 February. The young Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway will light the Olympic flame during the Opening Ceremony, thus marking the beginning of the Games and ten days of sport, education and celebration in Lillehammer, Hamar, Gjøvik, Øyer and Oslo.      


Petter Syverud, the development’s Project Manager at Ekstenso, commented “The Youth Olympic Games is all about encouraging young athletes and preparing for the future, so we wanted to incorporate sustainability into the project. Kebony was an obvious choice because it allows us to do just that without compromising on design or build quality.”

Mette Valen, Sales Team Leader at Kebony said “It is fantastic to see large projects which have a true concern for the environmental impacts of construction moving towards the more sustainable materials like Kebony. We hope that Kebony’s robust durability ensures that this beautiful building will be an important and popular aspect of Lillehammer’s town centre for many years to come.”

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