Light up the Sky: 8 Nordic Towers Transforming the Northern Landscape

Eric Baldwin Eric Baldwin

Nordic architecture is intimately tied to the land. The nations of Finland, Norway and Sweden have earned widespread recognition for producing modern projects that critically engage their locales. From Snøhetta’s iconic Opera House in Oslo to Alvar Aalto’s beloved Saynatsalo Town Hall, architects working here are continuously exploring the relationships between space and place.

Designed as landmarks and vantage points, new towers and skyscrapers are emerging across the Nordic nations. Building upon the dynamic nature of their contexts, these structures reimagine the area’s historic Stave churches and Viking longhouses to create contemporary forms and expressions. Overlooking the landscape, these quiet giants offer unparalleled views and new perspectives on their urban and rural fabrics. Designed with wood, glass and even straws, the towers become symbolic monuments to the past and future of these northern lands.

The following collection showcases Nordic towers across Scandinavia, projects made with diverse programs and forms. Shaping local and regional identity, the projects are oriented to views while embracing their varied contexts. Crafted with clean lines and simple geometry, they begin to reveal how these monolithic works are transforming northern landscapes.

© Wingårdh Arkitektkontor AB

© Wingårdh Arkitektkontor AB

© Wingårdh Arkitektkontor AB

© Wingårdh Arkitektkontor AB

Tower on the Ting by Wingårdh Arkitektkontor AB, 13, Köpmangatan, Staden, Örnsköldsvik, Sweden

Tower on the Ting was created as a tall apartment building atop a historic courthouse. Contrasting the existing concrete structure with a new, colorful addition, the tower stands 10 stories tall and is crowned by a rooftop villa.

© Bjørnådal Arkitektstudio AS

© Bjørnådal Arkitektstudio AS

© Bjørnådal Arkitektstudio AS

© Bjørnådal Arkitektstudio AS

KLEMET by Bjørnådal Arkitektstudio AS, Korgen, Norway

Created as a theater space and multiple stage towers for a Norwegian play, this project was inspired by the life of the shaman Klemet. Embracing the valley and surrounding landscape, the design features structures made from both recycled and natural materials. The towers were built with wood from an abandoned house, tall monuments that overlook the public below.

© Steven Holl Architects

© Steven Holl Architects

© Steven Holl Architects

© Steven Holl Architects

Knut Hamsun Center by Steven Holl Architects, Hamaroy, Norway

Inspired by the life of Knut Hamsun, this education center was created near the farm where the writer grew up. Located by the village of Presteid of Hamarøy, the building program combined a library, auditorium, cafe and exhibition space. The design includes a tower and viewing balcony overlooking the dramatic landscape.

© Wingårdh Arkitektkontor AB

© Wingårdh Arkitektkontor AB

© Wingårdh Arkitektkontor AB

© Wingårdh Arkitektkontor AB

Victoria Tower by Wingårdh Arkitektkontor AB, Stockholm, Sweden

Victoria Tower was designed as a kind of glass lighthouse in downtown Stockholm. Standing as a monumental landmark, the tower was shaped into a parallelepiped form with a rectangular cuboid on top. A variety of triangular glass pieces were used as cladding along the building envelope.

© Saunders Architecture

© Saunders Architecture

© Saunders Architecture

© Saunders Architecture

Solberg Tower & Park by Saunders Architecture, Sarpsborg, Norway

Designed as a lookout and viewing tower along a route from Norway to Sweden, the Solberg Tower was made so that travelers could slow down and engage with nature along their journey. The tower provides an elevated space in which visitors can enjoy the landscape and overlook both the nearby coastline and the Oslo fjord.

© Rintala Eggertsson Architects

© Rintala Eggertsson Architects

© Rintala Eggertsson Architects

© Rintala Eggertsson Architects

Seljord Watchtower by Rintala Eggertsson Architects, Seljord, Norway

This watchtower project was inspired by the myth about the sea serpent of Seljord lake. Created as a viewing tower at the southwest end of the lake, the watchtower was realized as a platform and anchor among the landscape. The design includes different spaces that are oriented to the nearby town, bird nesting area and park area.

© Morgan Ekner

© Morgan Ekner

© Morgan Ekner

© Morgan Ekner

Alvik Tower by C.F. Møller Architects, Bromma, Stockholm, Sweden

Alvik Tower was made along a transition zone between the city of Bromma and the landscape. The tower was designed as a landmark building taking the form of a sculptural, fractured block along the waterfront. The development includes a mix of apartments, public spaces and commercial programs.

New Oslo Government Quarter by Snøhetta, Oslo, Norway

Snøhetta’s design for a new government quarter in Oslo was formed around the city’s public spaces and how they define the cultural and physical fabric of Oslo. Connecting landscape and buildings, the proposal includes iconic towers designed to represent democracy.

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