Oslo: Nobel Peace Prize venue, birthplace of Edvard Munch and Henrik Ibsen, and, now, Europe’s fastest-growing capital. Population has swelled at a rate of 2% in recent years, and the city has responded with ... more buildings. In fact, Norway was recently named the best place in the world for young architects to find work—and with a plan to create 100,000 new homes in the next 15 years, we see why.
The pearl of this boom has been Snøhetta’s opera house, which has become an urban catalyst for tourists and residents alike. From atop the scalable roof, Oslo's skyline practically climbs before your eyes (note all the cranes in the following photos).
Many of these new buildings are residential, of course, including the Barcode Project, a group of skyscrapers whose vertical alignment give this complex its name.
"A few years ago we had a flat city with just a few church spires," Geir Haaversen, the lead architect behind the Barcode, told the BBC. "We've had to adapt our ideas simply because there are so many more people living and working in Oslo."
Here are 9 recent buildings that demonstrate Oslo's rapid growth and reputation for exciting architecture. And if you're an architect or designer working in Oslo, join in—there are only three days remaining to enter the 2014 A+ Awards!
Oslo Opera by Snøhetta
The catalyst for Oslo's building and cultural boom, Snøhetta's cultural institution, with its large windows, accessible roof, and open landscape is possibly the world's most egalitarian opera house, encouraging—rather than shutting out—public engagement with the arts.
Conceived as a “square peg in a square hole,” this building's footprint is smaller than the perimeter of its basement.
This apartment building is prime example of Barcode architecture: long, slender, with sight lines between it and its neighboring high-rises.
Not all the recent development in Oslo has been soaring. Lots of new projects, such as the Norwegian Radium Hospital, have expressed their mass horizontally. This transparent building manages to be formidable yet elegant, and offers views of Oslo and the fjord.
This office building is part of the Lysaker Park project, which has transformed an outdated building mass into an architectural gem along a busy highway. Like many Oslo projects, there is a strong emphasis on openness and natural light.
American hospitals can learn a thing or two from Oslo's friendly, open medical facilities. Daylight, a glass atrium, and natural wood link the building to the outdoors, and each of the hospital's various departments has its own architectural expression, creating, say the architects, "a varied visual experience while making it easy to find your way around."
Part of MAD's Spikerverket masterplan, which has transformed a former nail factory into offices, housing, and parks.
This delightful fusion of architectural forms "adds a new dimension" to a historic, 19th century neighborhood, say the architects, "reflecting the diversity by offering a variation of apartment types to accommodate a range of contemporary living situations."