I must admit that I’m not particularly fond of Oslo. When I chose to settle down in Trondheim, which is approx. 500 kilometers North of my childhood home, it was not completely by accident. Yet, I always discover something interesting when I visit the capital city. Like for instance, last weekend, when we found Wergeland’s old stable in this idyllic residential enclave by Fredensborgveien.
Oslo can be perceived as rather fragmented and I’m not sure whether newer development helps. It illustrates the intricacies of urban planning when newer structures are so huge they outperform the existing buildings. The result isn’t necessarily the good totality we all strive towards.
Cultural diversity has spread and taken root in Oslo since I moved to the middle of Norway 25 years ago. It is amazing to see how well integrated our new citizens are, but it’s also easy to spot a segregation in society that is not so favorable. Things are not black or white, and neither the allocation of responsibilities, and to remedy both indigenous and newer population must work together.
But enough with the quasi-political statements …. back to architecture!
Recently I spent a weekend as a tourist in the capital, and once again I fell in love with this city. Oslo has a lot to offer and there are great contrasts. From the ancient protected residential enclaves around the city, where people look with love and pride upon their homes, to the pinnacle of modern Norwegian architecture. And we also have quotes of our most beloved writer, Henrik Ibsen, elegantly written on the sidewalk of Karl Johan. All in all it’s a joy to be a native tourist in Oslo …
I had one goal for the weekend and it was to see the magnificent façade of the Teachers House in Osterhaus street 4. Even though it was daytime – and I’ve seen night-time pictures which do the building even greater honor – it made a good impression. I really love effects the combination of words and light make, as well as the graphics of numbers and letters, and the award-winning project of Element Architects AS has it all.
I would have loved to see the impact of those silkscreen letters and numbers from the inside, but unfortunately it was closed when we got there.