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A Norwegian-Nepali view of the Himalayas

What happens when you combine Norwegian and Nepali building traditions? The answer is to be found in the majestic surroundings on the outskirts of the Nepali capital, Kathmandu, where Norway has built a new, quite unique embassy.

The new embassy was designed by the Norwegian architectural firm Kristin Jarmund Architects on commission from Statsbygg (Norwegian Directorate of Public Construction and Property), and local advisers and contractors were involved in the entire process.

Norway’s new embassy in Nepal. Photo: Statsbygg / Guri Dahl

Norwegian design, local materials
The embassy was literally built stone by stone, with a little wood in between. But it wasn’t Norwegian wood, as architect Kristin Jarmund stressed at the opening. Although the building has a distinctly Nordic flavour, the materials are local. Great care was taken to adapt the building to the landscape and the mighty Himalayas nearby.

Nepali girls in front of the new embassy. Photo: Kristin Jarmund Architects / Graeme Ferguson

Nature and architecture
Like Norwegians, Nepalis are very proud of their mountains and this is echoed repeatedly in the architecture of the embassy building. The glass façade sports large zigzag windows looking out over the Himalayas. On clear days you can see the reflection of the Lang tang Mountain in the huge expanses of glass.

The embassy was officially opened by Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim on 18 August.

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