Thursday, 30 December 2010


Taken today at the local cinema "Kinocity" in Drammen, designed by architects Jens Bak and Halvorsen & Reine AS, I believe this picture illustrates why you should check if there are a hundred pigeons anywhere near before you put a flat glass roof on your building.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010


Picture with yours truly, taken in Gothenburg Concert Hall on a class trip in September

Okay, so you want to open the inside of your building to its surroundings and blur the transition between interior and exterior? Try making a really big, tall window. One huge piece of glass, much taller than a person. Put it into a wall, so that you don't have to have fifty layers of depressingly dark green glass to be able to heat your building. The wall also helps frame the view and proved you with something to lean on when you want to sit or stand in the window and look out for a while. It works.

Sunday, 19 December 2010


They may not be extremely useful, but they're quite good-looking. According to the picture, which I found on Wikipedia, they're somewhere in Munich.

Sunday, 12 December 2010


'It wasn't on purpose, I just drew a line!' -Famous last words for an architect, spoken by my co-student Ann-Sofie.

Friday, 10 December 2010


I know, I'm surprised as well. What is Justin Bieber doing on my blog? Well, I'm not sure... I mean, maybe it's just me, but... Isn't this actually a bit nice, in a very strange way?


The trouble with complex architecture is that it's so damned complex.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010


As this is the last week of our survivalist project, I don't have the time to write a proper blog post, so I'll post this video instead.

Sunday, 28 November 2010


Why don't we install more half-height doors, like the one I'm standing next to in this picture taken in a very old farm building? Not only do they look lovely and absurd, they also completely alter the perception of the room they lead into. Going through a very low door signifies intimacy, and makes the room feel very protected, a bit cocoon-like, a great feeling for certain rooms (though, perhaps not all). See Christopher Alexanders pattern "Low doorway" from the classic A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction (Center for Environmental Structure Series).

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


`Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.'

Alice laughed. `There's no use trying,' she said `one ca'n't believe impossible things.'

`I daresay you haven't had much practice,' said the Queen. `When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.'

Sunday, 21 November 2010


One important strategy for achieving a sustainable architecture, is to use materials that will age will dignity, perhaps even becoming more beautiful. In that way, materials won't have to be changed as often, and the energy asoociated with production and transport of new materials will be saved. While my friend Erlend and I were looking for a duffle coat for him on Friday, we visited the department store Sundt in Bergen, designed by architect Per Grieg. A venerable functionalist building from 1938, there's a generous use of marble in the interior, including original stairs of matt marble, and while I was walking down one of them, I noticed how the steps had been worn down by decades of use. However, in a natural material such as marble, wearing actually looks nice. Let's use materials that grow more beautiful with age, as a step on our way towards sustainability.

And this is blog post number 100! That must be quite a lot of text (mostly) about architecture, and it's been very much fun writing so far. Wish me luck on the next 100.

Friday, 19 November 2010


As mentioned earlier, I think false muntins are extremely tacky. I walk past these doors on my way to work, and one day it struck me how much I prefer the door that has somehow lost its false muntins. Have a look:

With (Yuck!)

Without (Not that bad, actually.)

Tuesday, 16 November 2010


Yesterday, I saw the great film A Single Man, directed by Tom Ford, based on the book by Christopher Isherwood, and I can recommend it to anyone. The protagonist and the people he interacts with are well-dressed and continuously surrounded by tasteful 60's interiors. At one point, I even thought "I wish I were a gay man in the 60's as well!", but then I changed my mind.

Friday, 12 November 2010


The last time I walked up to the area I'm designing a building for, I took a picture of this beautiful, fascinating phenomenon that I have yet to discover the name of. I like it anyway.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


I love trails in the city. They're so humane, honest, simple and almost friendly. They're also a symbol of people taking charge of their surrounding, defying what has been decided for them by someone else, simply because they know their own surroundings better than them.

(I took the picture in Oslo on Monday, in Schandorffs plass, designed by landscape architects Østengen & Bergo AS (for some strange reason the website is only in Norwegian; sorry) and opened in September 2009. The building in the background is Deichman library, which opened in 1933.)

Tuesday, 9 November 2010


I have a confession to make. I'm very much prejudiced against real estate agents who utilize the typeface Comic Sans in their advertisements.

Saturday, 6 November 2010


Get wet, get cold, get self-contained. The top picture shows the area I'm working with, seen from afar. In our new course, TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It), we've been given one area each, with every area measuring 65 x 65 meters. Mine is this windy, rainy, lovely place up in Sandviksfjellet.  The course's subject is self-preservation in a post-apocalyptic world, so I'm having a lot of fun planning gardens, windwills, houses of goats and chickens and more. I've only been there once, so I hope to get up there next week. When I do that, I'll be able to made decent landscape model, and deciude where to put my gardens. Anyways, here are some pictures of my area.

Looking North.

Looking West.

Looking South (with rain on lens).

Looking East.

Sunday, 31 October 2010


I think these may be the best gates I've seen in Bergen so far. They are to be found by anyone going from Nygårdsparken to the Geophysical Institute (which, by the way, is one of the most beautiful large buildings in the city). A little Burtonesque, but I really don't mind that, especially on... Hey, it's Halloween!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


How do you show a solid timber wall

The last week of September was devoted to the not-at-all-ancient art of Visual structure (see the first blog post about visual structure). One part was the familiar assignment of contrasting materials. This time, however, it was on another scale, working with walls, big piles of sand, piles of wooden planks and the like. We grouped into pairs, and I collaborated with my dear classmate Ane Oline Finstad.

An intelligent woman, wonderful to work with. (Loves horses.)

All pairs were given an object in some part of the school grounds, and we wanted to work with the wall. As we had learned the last time we worked on visual structure, one way of showing an object is to contrast it with an object of a totally different materiality. In order to make our wall even more visible, we decided to surround the middle of it with a lighter, non-geomtrical figure. Here's a sketch I drew during our first discussions.

What we did, was to find as many contrasts as we could. The wall was geometric, the clouds were blobby; the wall was matt, the clouds were shiny, the wall was one object, the clouds were several objects; the wall was planted firmly on the ground, whereas the clouds seemed to be floating, at least hanging, etc., etc. Our classmates seemed to think we ended up making the wall a lot more visible, in a quite beautiful way, and I can't help but agree.

EDIT 24th October 2011: Removed the picture of Ane Oline. Still love her, though.

Sunday, 24 October 2010


"I'm walking along the road, on asphalt, my legs hurt and I curse asphalt, it sucks strength.

Of all surfaces, asphalt is the worst to walk on, worse than stones and worse than rock, the asphalt is hard and dead, I feel the asphalt concrete ache up in the back, all the way up in the shoulders and the neck, it reaches the head, fills the mind with black tar, and after five hours of walking on asphalted road it's not possible to think about anything but asphalt and how to avoid it"

An attempt towards a translation of a text as it was written down and hung upon our classroom door by my classmate Øyvind Tveit. It's an excerpt from the book "Gå. Eller kunsten å leve et vilt og poetisk liv" by Tomas Espedal. The book is due to be published in English in December with the title "Tramp. Or the Art of Living a Wild and Poetic Life". 

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


Vegar and I built a catenary arch (Yeah, that's the kind Gaudí used to make.) during the stone course in September. This film by one of the course teachers, sculptor Lukas Arons,  shows tha last minutes of finishing the arch. Vegar and I are moving around and fixing the keystone, while sculptor Asbjørn Andresen, one of the other course teachers, is giving directions.

(Damn! I never get these Youtube videos to fit the format of the blog.)

Friday, 15 October 2010


It's over. When this picture was taken in Copenhagen in July, however, it wasn't. But there will be no more warm stones under your feet in the city. No more feeling the micro-landscape of the stone floor because you don't have to wear shoes. No more grass as green as old copper roofs. No moore eating ice cream outside. No more bathing in the ocean and feeling your hair become stiff with salt while you're drying in the open air. No more seedlings emerging where you wouldn't expect them. No more fresh strawberries. Not here, not for now. Not until the year 2011.

Thursday, 14 October 2010


An assertion: There is such a thing as architecture, and there is such a thing as carchitecture. Carchitecture is the vulgar cousin in the family of architecture, who looks bad, smells worse, makes noise and takes up too much space. 

Last week, our class went to the building site of the new IKEA here in Bergen. We learned alot about concrete, which was really interesting, but I must admit that what really caught my attention, was the enormous contrasts between the two sorts of cultural landscape on the site. On top of what used to be untouched marshland, IKEA is building an enormous new store, with parking spaces, steel walls, concrete floors and big signs; the architecture of the car. It has to be big and have enormous contrasts to catch the eye of the driver, it has no details because they're not visible form inside a moving car anyway. There's hardly a way of getting there without a car, the whole economy of the place is based on people driving in and out. I have a lot of stuff from IKEA, and I'm not judging people who buy things there, but the architecture is one of a century that has already passed. I think we're barely able to keep it going, because we can feel inside that humans are not made for this society of transportation.

And right behind all of this, we could see bits of the agricultural landscape, with houses and farm buildings, built from wood and stone, with woods, fields, meadows, small creeks. It was not at all wild nature, but it looked like a form of human coexistence with nature. It was based mostly on people walking to do their job, living next to where they earned their living. 

It got me thinking about what artificial landscapes can be, and I can't help blame the car. The landscape of suburbia, the built landscape oddly placed outside the city, without any visible or logical connetions, more or less came with the common use of cars, and my prediction is that it will more or less die away with it in not too many years. The landscape of suburbia is mostly shaped by cars, who are taking up surface could have been used to preserve nature, build houses, parks, lakes, everything a city needs. The suburban, sprawling landscape, eats away human contact with the biological, and makes it a distant place in the horizon, instead of something quite close to where you live. 

My opinion is that architects should stop designing carchitecture. No more detached homes out in the forest, no more shopping malls with skirts of surface parking instead of houses, no more drive-in restaurants, no more single-use building complexes... That would be an important step towards a sustainable architecture.


Instead of writing a proper blog post tonight, I was writing an email to my former classmate Thomas, giving him some tips on plants for a garden in the extreme climate of Iceland, so I'm just posting a picture of a pine, a tree which can grow almost anywhere.

PS. First blog post on the Mac!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


Picture: Wikipedia

I hereby present the RepRap, the ugliest 3D printer on the planet. The idea of this machine is that you should be able to print all sorts of stuff that you need in everyday life, or stuff you need for your work. Costing only around 500 Euro, it's very cheap, partly because you build the thing yourself, and partly because it's a self-replicating machine, ie. the machine builds parts which you can build another machine from. Very fascinating. I'm considering bringing together some people in my class and building one when we start using 3D programs. More information about the RepRap can be found on their website, which also has a video that I warmly recommend.


This picture really isn't very great, but the stairs are. Part of a small, rather new park at Tjuvholmen in Oslo, they're made of a beautiful natural stone that I don't know the name of, and integrate a ramp in a very interesting way. I wish more architects would do something like that. (I know some of the people in my class want to have a look at it; if you click on the picture, you get a high resolution version which you can download).

We're also having fun at school. Continuing our course in masonry, we've already torn down (and recycled) a big ugly brick thingy next to the water in our school yard, started to clean up the area around the (quite important, it turns out) corner of the administration building, pruned several goat willows that are growing next to the school without ever having been planted there, and started to discuss how we want to develop the place. I'm looking forward to the next days, and working on with our very competent course teacher, Eva Kun.

Sunday, 26 September 2010


This architectural contribution was made by a group of students from my class, myself included, during the wood course in the beginning of September. We chose the spot because of the circle of stones there, which we thought would make a great place for meeting other people and spending time together, with some adjustments of the surroundings. 

We were not allowed to use nails or screws, and based the design on a system where oak triangles were made by plugging together shafts of oak together, using oak plugs made ourselves, and then tying them together with a rope. The structure is suspended from the surrounding oak trees, and doesn't touch the ground at any point. The use of rope allowed a degree of flexibility which is important when using living oak trees as piers.

An important part of the design was working with sound. The structure is oriented towards a waterfall, and some of the triangles were filled in with wood to reflect and enhance the sound, while as the same time providing some protection from rain. There's also a road a hundred meters below, and we wanted to shut out as much of the sounds of cars as much as possible. 

Another important part of the design was to capture the beautiful way oak trees filter the sunlight. We wanted to enhance that effect in a way that was clearly visually different from the branches, and chose to use aspen pickets. Aspen wood handles expose to the Norwegian weather extremely well, and turn silvery grey quite fast.

I like the dimensions of the projects. The scale is very human, and although we could have filled in more of the triangles in my opinion, the structure creates a nice space which achieves most of the intentions we had when planning and building it.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


School has just started, and the History of building-trip and the wood course made up the beginning of year two at BAS. I have enough cool pictures to fill ten blog posts, and I may end up doing just that. These pictures include, among other things, three stave churches, triangles made of oak wood, mushrooms on a lawn, a very cute puppy, a door half as tall as I am, church frescoes, Gothic arches in several materials, a big wooden hotel, a small wooden hotel and loads of buildings with grass on their roofs.

This is a picture of me drinking water out of a Voss water bottle. In the background, the municipality of Voss.

(I haven't had an Internet connection for two weeks, and there may be one and a half week more without it. Thus the lack of blog posts.)

Wednesday, 1 September 2010


This time last year, the people who would form are class were preparing to go to Utsira, to experience the nature and culture and history of coastal Norway. We went. We were cold, we were wet, and we were dirty. We learned alot, and had loads of fun. 

This year, we're preparing to learn about the architecture of historical coastal Norway, among others the stave churches and learning about materials, such as wood and natural stone. It's going to be cold, wet and dirty. Everyone will be wearing at least one green or blue piece of clothing at all times. There will be men with grey hair, humour and a true commitment to what they're talking about. There will most probably be boiled potatoes and people snoring. 

And I can't wait to get started.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010


I left the bookshop just in time to see this play of colours across the sky and the city filled with an extraordinary light, around nine this evening.


Everyone seemed to enjoy it, perhaps talking a little lower, walking a little slower, except this boy cast in bronze. He always looks grumpy, and I can't really blame him. All summer, the fish are spitting water on him, and all winter, he just looks really cold.

Saturday, 21 August 2010


You know how all sorts of things can happen to you while you're sitting on the bus, a train etc. On Wednesday, I took the Bergen Light Rail, which was a very nice experience. On the way, we drove past a church that I had previously seen from afar and admired, so I decided to jump off and have a look at it.

Who thought I'd find Jesus?

The church, designed in 1963 by architect Tore Sveram and built in 1970, is a typically suburban church, with a park of some sort on one side, and a graveyard on the other side. There aren't any buildings next to it, just grass and trees and cars. The entrance is on the rear side of the church, so I had to walk halfway around it to get there. The door was open, so I went in and had a look (and took the picture below) through the glass and wooden doors that went into the room of worship.

A very special room, with natural light flowing in from the ceiling, and a granite angel as the altar piece.

Then, a lovely old church lady showed up, and I asked if I could come in, explaining that I was an architecture student who had an interest in these sort of buildings. She unlocked the door, turned on the lighting and told me some facts about the church (although she couldn't remember the name of the architect, ha ha).

I took some pictures, and suddenly I saw what I had captured. There he was! Jesus Christ!

In the baptismal font! He didn't say anything, but I was still impressed. I wonder if he was invited there by the architect or not. It'd be cool is he was, but creating that kind of an image must be extremely difficult. 


The ceiling was also amazing. There was something about the architecture pulling me upwards, I need to learn how to do that. The church has another name, "Ad astra", which is latin and means "to the stars". I could very easily imagine travelling up to the stars from a place like this. When the sun isn't up, the sky is represented by rows of light bulbs, which probably look very beautiful as well.
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