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Contemporary Norwegian architecture

A number of distinguished Norwegian architects emerged after WWII and dominated Norway’s architecture for the rest of the century. While most of these have now retired or passed away, a new generation of talented young architects has emerged and is gaining recognition both at home and abroad.

The list of noteworthy younger architects includes: Ivar Lunde and Morten Løvseth for their Norwegian Petroleum Museum in Stavanger (1999) and Tønsberg Library (1992); Kristin Jarmund for the Norwegian Metrology and Accreditation Service headquarters in Kjeller (1997) and Gulskogen School in Drammen (2001); Lund Hagem for the Norwegian Crop Research Institute’s facility in Ullensvang (1999); Stein Halvorsen and Christian Sundby for the Sámediggi (Sami Parliament) building in Karasjok (2000); Jarmund and Vigsnes for the Kvitøy Coastal Control building (1999); Reiulf Ramstad for Østfold University College in Halden (2004); Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk for the mortuary at Asker Crematorium (2000) and Jan Olav Jensen and Børre Skodvin for Mortensrud Church (2001) in Oslo.

There are also a number of established architectural firms that deserve mention. Lund & Slaatto has been the leading Norwegian firm since WWII. The firm’s latest important work (1998) is a climate-controlled glass structure protecting the ruins of a medieval cathedral in Hamar. Visitors perceive this impressive glass enclosure as a sacred building in itself. Sverre Fehn’s architectural works have influenced several generations of Norwegian architects and received widespread international acclaim (see "Sverre Fehn"). Niels Torp had his international breakthrough with a new headquarters building for the Scandinavian Airlines System, or SAS, in Stockholm. Afterward, he designed an even larger building, outside London, to house British Airways. Torp is also responsible for most of the buildings at Aker Brygge, an industrial quayside area in central Oslo that has been transformed into a successful retail, office and residential complex. Another architecture firm that has gained international renown is Snøhetta (see "Norwegian Architecture in the 1990s"). The new opera building designed by Snøhetta for Oslo is due for completion in 2008.

The opera will be situated in Bjørvika, a central waterfront district of the capital now undergoing renewal. Other parts of the harbour are also slated for new housing and downtown-style development, as is the area around Oslo’s former western route railway station. There are also plans to erect a large museum complex in the city centre.

One of the biggest architectural events of recent years was the opening of Oslo’s new international airport at Gardermoen. The wood, stone and glass terminal building (1999, by Aviaplan) has a simple, open design and sophisticated detailing. It is the gateway to Norway and provides a welcoming starting point for air travellers to the country. The terminal layout, the road system, the adjoining high-speed rail system and various airport-related buildings all demonstrate the commitment of Norwegian architects and developers to top-quality infrastructure development.

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Mortensrud churchPhoto: (c)  Jiri Havran / Arkitekturmuseet   www.arkifoto.no

Norwegian Metrology and Accreditation Service headquartersPhoto: (c)  Jiri Havran / Arkitekturmuseet   www.arkifoto.no