Irene Sandved Lunde, Morten Fidjeland

Project information

  1. Location Oslo‚ Norway
  2. Area170 m²

Project details

  1. Design by Kristin Jarmund Architects (now part of Nordic)
  2. Year — 2017
  3. StatusCompleted
  4. Client Bonum AS & Bjørn Hansteen Fossum
  5. Enquiries Graeme Ferguson

Solheimgata 4B

Solheimsløkken is a unique site in Oslo. Originally conceived as part of an apartment block in the 19th century, the plot remained vacant due to the housing market collapse in in 1890. Construction was halted and the building remained unrealised.

The plot’s southern boundary was surrounded by a four-storey gable wall from the adjacent building. A former 19th century prison – converted into housing in 1982 – was positioned to the north, and a Swiss villa style farmhouse from 1860 to the west, a building notable as the former home of Norwegian Prime Minister Johan Sverdrup.

The client's ambition was to develop a high-quality, contemporary residential building on the site, but struggled to obtain planning permission for a number of years. The initial design proposed a five-storey volume abutting the existing gable wall to the south, however this was rejected by the cultural heritage department who argued that the vacancy of the plot provided a valuable physical memory of the 1890 housing collapse. In response, the design team effectively flipped the design onto its side, resulting in a low-lying pavilion-like form. In spite of the resulting challenges, the eventual floorspace achieved in the design was a close match to a more conventional multi-storey configuration, and provided a unique opportunity: a fifth elevation in the form of a green sedum roof, a feature which preserves the cultural integrity of the site while also providing a calm, green, private oasis for residents.