Christiania Quartalet

Project details

Location: Oslo, Norway

Size: 16 500m²

Client:

Recognition: Architectural Heritage Award (Dronningensgate 3 restoration), Betongelementprisen 1996, City Prize 2002, Oslo Council Jubilee Prize 2006

Built: 1996

Project description

The Christiania Qvartalet city block is part of the regular gridded pattern in the old city ofOslo, dating back to King Christian IV plan of 1624.

Colours, materials and details reflect the historical importance of this part of the city.

In the glass covered backyard the buildings enrich each other by various bright colours and terraced roofs.

It should ideally be possible to regard a street block within the living fabric of a city as a single building, in which each individual element contributes to a harmonious continuation of and variation on a main theme. The walls of the block all have different aspects, as the surrounding streets and open spaces all have different identities and importance.

Sadly, reality is seldom as we would wish. Some of the buildings on the block in question stood in glaring contrast to each other when Aspelin Ramm decided to revitalise the largest of them. The commission included the complete restoration of Dronningens gate 3 (ca 1840), and a design for a new building facing Grew Wdels plass to replace a near-derelict house.

Our aim was to retain the same fine, neat scale seen in the Bank of Norway in relation to the rest of the street and at the same time build on the cautiously intimated verticals of the facade structure of the two older wings on each side. The rhythm of the Bank of Norway’s facade along Revierstredet, with its copper “middle”, was interpreted on our side of the street by lightly executed glass detailing around the pillar structure which we also gave a lower cornice line than the side wings. We chose to signal a clear “standpoint” in favour of concrete with a colour that is very like that of the old Bank of Norway further up the street.