Monday, 10 September 2012


Earlier this summer, I was at the opening of a new cultural scene in Oslo, called Naustet, which means "The Boathouse". Inspired by traditional Norwegian boathouses and built directly above the water in the new waterside neighbourhood Bjørvika, this little gem was designed and built by students from Norway's three architecture schools, in the joint workshop called Trestykker.

"Tre" means both "three" (as in three architecture schools) and "wood" (as in made from) in Norwegian, and the whole thing is sponsored by different companies within the wood industry in Norway, including free materials.

The doors, back wall and wooden floors both inside and on the outside, are made from the excellent material Kebony, which has many of the same properties of tropical wood, but is made from local trees such as pine and maple, combined with leftovers from sugar factories.

The walls are clad in polycarbonate panels, which are partially opaque, depending if the sunshine is direct of filtered through clouds. Before sunset, the walls seem to be glowing.

The building stands in stark contrast to the other buildings of Bjørvika. While the rest are mostly glasshouses in a vulgar, petroleum-driven architectural language, who turn their back in the rest of the city, the Boathouse is a human-scale construction, made of wood, and talking to the city, actually turning its back on the water. In my opinion, this very last quality is also the best, and very brave, in a city that is forgetting what it has been for several hundred years. If the old Oslo, perched in the low, rolling hills, and the new Oslo down by the water are going to feel like one place instead of two, the communication has to go both ways.

The acoustic qualities of the building are excellent. There were three concerts during the opening, and I particularly enjoyed this one, by the wonderful Ingvild Våge. I also taped a video there, which I might post on the blog later.

The wood frames are made of plywood, which were pre-made, but glued and screwed together on site.

Let's hope that the Boathouse will find people to run it as a scene, and that Oslo will be inspired to create more architecture that relates to the site, is human in scale and materials, and dares to talk to the city. Good luck on next year's Trestykker!

1 comment:

  1. Hei og takk for sist:) Så hyggelig at du har linket til urørt-siden min. Nå har jeg linket til bloggen din i tillegg til et bilde:) Håper det går greit?
    Ha en finfin høst og lykke til med arkitektstudiene:)
    Alt godt fra Ingvild


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