St. Olav's Hospital, Knowledge Centre

The knowledge centre is the newest centre at St. Olav's Hospital, Trondheim University Hospital, with a 50/50 hospital and university area for NTNU. The centre is the first hospital building in Europe with a passive house standard. The building has received a number of architecture awards both nationally and internationally, and it has been published in several architecture journals, websites and books.


Helsebygg Midt-Norge, for St Olav's Hospital and NTNU






2009 – 2013


Approx. 18 000 m²


Hospital, auditorium, main library and premises for research and teaching


Project management, collaborative management, architect


The first hospital building in Europe with a passive house standard

Function and architecture

The knowledge centre faces south towards the central square at St Olav's Hospital, Olav Kyrres Plass. The centre consists of about 50% clinical hospital areas and 50% university areas for NTNU:

  • specialized laboratories
  • St. Olav's most technically advanced ward, infectious diseases department with isolation wards for airborne infections
  • outpatient clinics for dermatoses and pain centre
  • NTNU areas for research and teaching, student purposes,
  • auditoriums, main library, offices
  • pharmacy, cafeteria/restaurant facing Olav Kyrres Plass

The building is a fully integrated part of the large hospital, connected by culverts and bridges to the other clinical centres, and completes the 15 year long and 200,000 m2 development of St. Olav as the new hospital district in Trondheim.

The knowledge centre contains the two large hospital auditoriums with 380 + 160 seats gathered under a 1,000 m2 free-spanning, double arch wooden construction with integrated overhead light.

In central indoor areas, exposed natural materials with visible wooden constructions, staircases in owatrol oiled steel, bracing walls in visible concrete, acoustic damping behind slats made of hard walnut wood and terrazzo tile floors have been used.

The facades of the building constitute a large, integrated ornamental project, developed in close collaboration with artist Anne Aanerud and the architect. The sun shading has a black graphic print on a white canvas, solid wall surfaces have white-enamelled ventilated glass cladding with corresponding holes against the black back wall.

When the sun hits the back wall towards Olav Kyrres Plass, the facade's expression changes, controlled throughout the day by the solar and energy concept, so that the screen canvas and a wall form a unit – inspired by the Norwegian "Selbu" mitten as well as timeless Arabic patterns. A large "bris soleil" also provides shade and heat attenuation on the south facing front facade towards the square. All facade materials are maintenance free.

The "Knowledge Portal" on the ground floor is the learning and presentation system of the university hospital with interactive technology in a class by itself. This is located with the cafeteria/restaurant area of the building towards Olav Kyrres Plass. The centre also has a medical museum.

The building has, as a single building and as part of St. Olav's Hospital, received the following awards:

  • World Architecture Festival i Singapore , «INSIDE Award 2013», Singapore 2013. The knowledge centre won the healthcare category for interior works, based, among other things, on the quality of the interior materials used, with exposed natural materials.
  • 10th Design & Health World Congress, «Academy Awards», Toronto 2014. St Olav's Hospital og and the knowledge centre won the 1st prize in 7 out of 10 categories during "Academy Awards".

Winner of the best international healthcare project of over 40,000 m2. Record of the number of categories won in the history of D&H.

  • World Architecture News «WAN Award Sustainable Building of the Year 2014». The knowledge centre was a finalist, one of the 6 best project internationally with regard to environment in 2013, independent of building category.
  • «Attraktiv by – Statens pris for bærekraftig steds- og byutvikling» (Attractive City – The Government Award for sustainable Location and City Development), awarded to Trondheim for St Olav's Hospital including the knowledge centre, by Minister Jan Tore Sanner in June 2015.
  • «Innovasjonsprisen 2015" (The Innovation Award 2015) – St. Olav's Hospital and the knowledge centre were awarded the Government's main award for universal design as well as the category for architecture and landscape architecture. Awarded every 4 years.
  • «Bolig og byplanprisen» (The Housing and City Planning Award), Trondheim 2015 – St Olav's Hospital
  • «Statens Byggeskikkpris 2013», (The Government Architecture Award 2013), St Olav's Hospital and the knowledge centre received honourable mention, Oslo
  • «Murprisen» 2008 (The Brick Award 2008), Trondheim to St Olav's Hospital
  • «Norsk Forms Hederspris» 2007 (Norsk Form's Honorary Award 2007), Oslo, to St Olav's Hospital
  • «Trondheim Kommunes byggeskikkpris» (2007) (The Trondheim Municipality Architecture Award 2007), Trondheim, St Olav's Hospital

Environmental requirements

The knowledge centre at St. Olav's Hospital is the first hospital building in Europe with a passive house standard. The calculated energy requirement was about 45 per cent below the regulatory requirements upon completion in 2013, an annual saving of 2 million kwh. The centre therefore receives six million NOK of Enova support. The passive house standard has been achieved as a result of a unique collaboration between architects and engineers in advisory group Team St. Olav together with developer Helsebygg Midt-Norge and contractors Veidekke and Caverion.

Energy saving characterizes all parts of the planning process, and the energy requirements are reduced through passive measures such as additional heat insulation, extra density and heat recovery. Other measures are differentiated low-energy lighting, artistically decorated exterior solar shading as well as demand driven lighting and air.


Shared turnkey contract with collaboration, based on contractor competition with a target price for the building after the collaboration has ended. The project was a pilot project on the innovative use of BIM, VDC and LEAN methodology, in collaboration with Stanford University in California, as well as Porsche Consulting in connection with roof planning of the development.

The building is completed with high quality, in time and on budget.

Contact person

Per Anders Borgen


+47 92 07 07 82

SOH Kunnskapssenteret F049b
1/3 Photo: Espen Grønli
St Olavs Hospital 12
St Olavs Hospital 24
St Olavs Hospital 09
Photo: Jiri Havran
12 Knowledge centre site St Olavs Hospital photo synlig no
Knowledge centre plan 1
Level 1
30 Knowledge Centre Nordic Ratio Erik Børseth synlig no
The sculpture The Group by Tony Cragg at Olav Kyrres plass
03 Knowledge Centre main staircase from above photo Espen Grønli
Photo: Espen Grønli
St Olavs Hospital 26
Photo: Jiri Havran
SOH Kunnskapssenteret F053
Kunnskapssenter TRD 5 M Herzog
Photo: M. Herzog
St Olavs Hospital 19
Photo: Jiri Havran
05 Knowledge centre main auditorium wooden diagrid construction with skylights 380 seats