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NEO – Concrete Bubbles of Love

Tengbom Architects
Krister Bjurström, Anna Morén Sahlin, Kjell Jansson, Anna Mistry Bergbom, Daniel De Sousa Barrera, Miguel Reyes, Sofia Kanje, Kristoffer Adolfsson, Ana Gejo.

LINK Arkitektur (Finish Railings & Furniture)
Laila Ifwer Sternhoff, Laila Boström, Elaine Young

Tengbom Computational Design
Shahrokh Kamyab och Jakob Lilliemarck

B:Mec Engineering
Suvad Muratovic

Accoustic Engineering

Jean-Charles Violleau, Hamid Yaldan, Malin Wahlström, Staffan Snis, John Nilsson, Lars Höglund, Benjamin Levy

Philips Lighting
Svante Pettersson, Daniel Ljung, Disco Anders

Photography by Birnee
Per Lundström

Karolinska Institutet, Veidekke

Special thanks to Johannes Kuhnen at Design to Production for helping to set up the parametric model.

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About the project

Sweden´s latest Research Facility, Karolinska Institutet – NEO, includes an amorphous space of translucent concrete with unique acoustic qualities.
The two Concrete Bubbles contain Europe´s most high-tech lecturing.

Inside, lectures are held on a monstrous 15x3m (49x10ft) LED-Screen. And sound is distributed using 68 Microphones and 234 loudspeakers (61+129 in the small hall).

Outside, announcements and speeches can be made making use of the shell and its shape. The announcer can choose his/her position, in relation to the shell, depending on size of audience.

Sound absorption was never called for, but rather quality of sound with an intimate ambience. The million Micro-Perforations absorb noise and the cavities diffuse high-pitch sounds, while the shape in large diffuse sounds in the lower register. The result is a totally unique ambience where noise free speech and discussion is achieved.

Entrance gateways have perforations of Oxytocin, the “love molecule”, as a reminder of sorts. The perforations were given a direction to simulate a sort of electron cloud – a sphere of love that each visitor step into.

The casting boxes were produced using as little material as possible. Each of the 250 panels needed formwork made from 12 unique steel pieces. The form was then filled with a plastic granulate and hand-shaped to create the correct 3D surface. The granulate is re-used by the producer indefinitely.

With lights off – the space takes on a more sombre atmosphere, more resembling the early charcoal drawings.

Production of butong panels

Lightshow at Neo

Related Projects

Studioverket 2013

Smålands Nation 2011

CCPP 2011