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Karsten Jørgensen • Vilde stabel

Contemporary LandsCape arChiteCture in norway

1st edition 2010 isBn 978-82-05-40858-6 translated By lynda Christiansen Cover photo: Caroline reistad Cover design and layout: avrio design, anne vines typeset: the sans light 9/13 pt paper: 130 g arCtiC volume White print: dimograf, poland 2010 for all enquiries aBout this Book ContaCt: gyldendal akademisk po Box 6730 st. olavs plass n-0130 oslo norWay • all rights reserved. no part of this Work Covered By the Copyright may Be reproduCed in any form of By any means – graphiC, eleCtroniC or meChaniCal, inCluding photoCopying, taping or information storage and retrieval systems – Without the Written permission of the puBlisher.

taBLe of Contents preface 7 introduction 8 trends and trend-setters in norwegian landscape architecture from 1920 to 1970 12 norwegian landscape architecture as viewed by four related disciplines 20 an international perspective of norwegian landscape architecture from 1989 to 2009 36

CuLturaL LandsCape in transition 46 urBan environment 102 soCiaL LandsCapes 176 urBan parks 222 epilogue 266 notes 271


norwegian association of Landscape architects

200 hundred projects received, 50 were chosen

a tribute to this milestone, the board wished to

the integrity of the book as a whole and the desire

(nLa) celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2009. as showcase the role of norwegian landscape architecture by producing this book, the association’s

biggest initiative to date. this publication represents the huge voluntary effort and strong professional involvement of many of the members.

a budget was set aside for the project and an

advertisement was published looking for inter-

ested writers, editors, and project leaders for the book. vilde stabel, a recently qualified landscape

architect who had also studied journalism, and

for inclusion, based primarily on quality. however,

pants in the seminars and the advisors, as well as

to present as broad a view as possible of norwe-

illustrations, and provided detailed information.

gian landscape architecture were also important criteria. Both experienced and novice colleagues

have helped in the selection process, although the

editor was responsible for the final selection. the

have generously given economic support to the project and made this publication possible.

projects submitted was so high that another jury

tecture and spatial planning at the norwegian

should be grounds for debate. the quality of the

may have made quite different choices and the end result would have been just as good.

modern history, were among the applicants. nLa

heim, yngvar hegrenes, Bård magnus fauske,

also knew they were father and daughter! Both

Last but not least i wish to thank all those who

the majority of landscape architects in norway

in the time period that this book was written, the

found both of these applicants interesting, and

those who suggested projects, have contributed

categories used and the projects chosen can and

karsten Jørgensen, an experienced professor of landscape architecture with a specialisation in

on behalf of nLa, i would like to thank all partici-

board of nLa has consisted of anne Bertine fager-

eva preede, martine wilberg, ragni Lucie helveg,

kjersti erlandsen tofte, tor nilsen, askild nilsen,

are educated at the institute of Landscape archiuniversity of Life sciences at Ås. the oslo school of architecture and design (aho) and the Ber-

gen school of architecture (Bas) also offer programmes in landscape architecture. the sogn

and fjordane university College offers courses in landscape planning, and students of architecture

at aho, Bas and at the norwegian university of

science and technolwogy (ntnu) in trondheim

applicants were surprised to find the other had

Christine riiser wist, marte Bysting willumsen

have lectures and undertake landscape architec-

request of the nLa leadership, that they co-op-

nLa is marit hovi.

these schools will benefit from the book. we also

made a submission, and it was agreed, at the erate on the project. during the time of writing

and Bjørn amund myklebust enebo. president of

little Lukas announced his arrival, and conse-

two seminars were arranged in 2009 to discuss

the work.

projects to be presented. those attending were

quently karsten has taken on a greater share of

the scope of the project quickly grew from the initial intent of presenting a representative selection

of norwegian landscape architecture projects, to

the content of the book in its entirety and the

Lars Berge, mari Bergset, ola Bettum, magnus greni, alf haukeland, Birgitte hellstrøm, tone

Lindheim, hilde mangerud, kari mangset, olav moen, ragnhild momrak, Jenny osuldsen, trygve

also including a review of the role of the profes-

sundt, ingrid sætre, marianne thomassen, anita

ciation were invited to submit suggestions for

dun stubbe and arne sælen acted as advisors on

sion in norway today. all members of the asso-

projects to be included in the book, and of the

veiseth and Bjarne aasen. ingrid haukeland, reithe selection of projects.

ture projects. it is to be hoped that students at all hope that the book inspires and interests anyone concerned with landscape architecture, urban

planning, and the quality of our outdoor environment in general.

nLa is both proud and grateful that this impor-

tant work has now been completed. a special thanks goes to karsten Jørgensen and vilde stabel

for their remarkable effort in writing this book. anne Bertine fagerheim president nLa, 2007–2010


this book is about “spaces” - the spaces in-between we move through when we are outdoors in a particular place, or on the way from one place to another, either in towns or in

the countryside. the shaping of outdoor spaces and the cultural landscape has received remarkably little attention as a theme in norwegian professional literature, despite the fact that it affects us all. indeed, few ever consider the shapes and materials comprising outdoor spaces and the concepts behind these designs.

the aim of this book is to increase understanding of the qualities of outdoor space by

presenting a selection of market places, squares, roads and residential areas built during

the past twenty years in norway. we wish to contribute to a greater awareness of the

landscapes that affect us daily. all the projects in this book have been planned and designed by norwegian landscape architects. in the past two decades an utterly different

urban culture has materialised in our cities. in parallel with this evolution, the challenges of climate change have affected all facets of planning, not least that of our outdoor en-

vironment, which, to a far greater extent than previously, must anticipate the limitations set by nature.

“Landscape,” according to the european Landscape Convention,1 is defined as “an area, as

perceived by people, the character of which is the result of the action and interaction of

natural and/or human factors.” in other words, “landscape” can include everything from virgin forests to everyday surroundings in towns and cities - from an area dominated by

industry and transport infrastructure to a ceremonial square or a park for recreation. “Land-

scape architecture” encompasses the planning, design and maintenance of all of these from vetrlidsallmenningen in Bergen, arne sælen mnLa

types of landscape. the scope of a landscape architecture project can vary from the design of the details of a playground to the formation of huge motorway routes and the administration of our cultural landscape.

Landscape architecture was born out of the art of gardening. the moorish gardens of the

alhambra and the french baroque gardens of versailles are well known examples of the art

from earlier times. But while historically the art of gardening had an exclusive character re8 introduCtion

served for the elite, landscape architecture embraces our everyday landscape: those spaces to be enjoyed in-between, where we travel, contemplate or play.

focus on the environment as a factor in public health arose during the romantic movement in the 18th century as a reaction to the effects of industrialisation. modern city life, with

polluted air and crowded living conditions, had created an increase in epidemics and contagious diseases. access to a green environment was seen as a tool to promote the health of

the general population, and as a direct result public parks and pathways were established in

most cities during the 18th century. these parks were open to all, to provide the population

access to greenery and fresh air, as well as promote respect and understanding between different social classes. the establishment of such public parks towards the end of 1800s led to the new discipline of landscape architecture.

the discipline of landscape architecture is supported by three basic pillars: the first of these

Bygdøy kongsgürd was established as norway’s first large scale public park in 1837

is its heritage in the art of gardening. as an expression of the cultural landscape, it is in a

unique position. as an all-encompassing art form it deals with the intimacy of our personal

reactions as well as our outdoor experience as a whole. the second pillar of the discipline

is social engagement. having arisen from the movement to make parks and recreation ar-

eas accessible to everyone, it focuses on the health and welfare of the public at large. the third pillar is the interest and concern with nature itself. knowledge of the specific natural

environment, not least the diversity of plants as one of its most important materials, can be a deciding factor in the success or failure of a project. this dependence on the condition of the natural environment is one of the major challenges of the discipline, and also one of its greatest opportunities.

Landscape architecture is a spatial art form using green, dynamic, living material that develops and changes over time and with the seasons. as such it is based on social concerns

such as safety, comfort, enjoyment and accessibility for all age groups, and at the same time it places great demands on artistic skill and knowledge of the natural sciences.

introduCtion 9

norwegian landscape architecture is in a phase of growth, based, among other things, on an increased focus on the value of a supportive daily environment. the then minister of Culture Åse kleveland presented government white paper nr 61 called “Culture in our times”

in 1991–1992, followed by “environment as culture: a plan of action for the aesthetic qualities of the public environment” in 1992. in 1997 cultural landscape was again taken up in the discourse attached to the norwegian year of Cultural heritage. the government white paper no. 23 (2001–2002) entitled “a better environment in towns and cities” highlighted “green belts, outdoors areas and good city spaces are decisive for the quality of the physical

environment.” in 2004 the european Landscape Convention came into effect in norwegian

landscape management. finally, in 2009, a policy plan was published as architecture.now2

emphasising that high quality and sustainable development should be incorporated into town hall park in Lørenskog by Bjørbekk & Lindheim Landskapsarkitekter as (photo: magnus greni)

the design of densely populated areas, towns, cities and the landscape. all these initiatives, together with a number of similar documents produced during the past twenty years, have contributed to drawing attention to landscape architecture as a key discipline in shaping the future of society.

there is also international focus on landscape architecture. more than half of the world’s

population now live in towns and cities. in eastern asia alone, urbanisation and the growth of megacities (cities with a population of more than 10 million) are a major challenge.

global warming and the threatened loss of natural environments and biological diversity present new concerns in relation to the organisation and use of the landscape. environmental problems are closely linked to the planning of our physical environment, for ex-

ample in relation to the use of energy for transport. all of these challenges necessitate an

increased demand for knowledge about the sustainable development of landscapes and cities in all countries.

the purpose of this book is to look at landscape architecture in a broader context. the first

chapter presents the history of norwegian landscape architecture, citing specific projects

as they relate to the development of the discipline: how norwegian landscape architecture evolved from fragile beginnings early in the 19th century to the period covered in this book,

10 introduCtion

1989 to 2009. the second chapter presents a series of interviews with representatives of

closely linked professions. they describe landscape architecture from various perspectives: the past ten years have been characterised by an increase in multi-disciplinary co-operation

on development in towns and cities, amongst other projects. the relationship between nor-

wegian landscape architecture and landscape architecture in the wider world is the theme of the third chapter, which presents a discussion with three landscape architects who are familiar both with norwegian landscape architecture and with the discipline internationally.

Chapters four to seven present projects built in norway between 1989 and 2009 which it is hoped in their entirety represent both the quality and the breadth of the field in this

country. projects are presented in four different categories: cultural landscapes in transi-

tion, urban environments, social landscapes, and city parks. in each category some of the projects that have impacted on the development of the profession in norway are reviewed.

everyday landscapes, residential areas, schools, transport and production landscapes, and

from Lyngheisenteret in Lygra by feste landskapsarkitekter as (photo: Jan feste)

recreational areas are discussed. the projects are presented in the form of photographs,

plans, brief commentaries on the background and preconditions, as well as the relevance

of the projects for the discipline. the works selected represent a wide range, from finmark in the north to agder in the south, with the greatest emphasis on projects in and around

oslo, Bergen and trondheim.

important aspects of landscape architecture, such as consequence analysis of major landscape interventions, strategic planning for future development, and evaluation of threat-

ened environments, do not result in built projects. these types of project demand a more complete theoretical introduction and are not included in this book.

it is important to maintain a debate about landscape architecture: new insights about nature itself, changing priorities, and new art forms mean that there is a constant need to

develop and improve practice. the discipline develops and grows through an open and critical discourse. one way to contribute is to select and discuss best practices. this book is an effort to do just this, in the hope that it will provoke debate and discussion.

introduCtion 11

46 KulturlandsKap i endring

CuLturaL LandsCape in transition the spectacular norwegian landscape has been both a strength and a weakness for norwegian landscape architecture. its “strength” lies in the fact that the value of this landscape is so obvious to everyone that it has been easy to argue in favour of investing resources to prevent its ruthless exploitation. this was an important reason why the development of norwegian hydro electricity led to a huge boost for the discipline in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. a “weakness” of the natural landscape developed because the notions of preservation and conservation, which formed the basis for this upswing, also served to stifle creativity in the discipline. this situation has now changed, however, not least due to a commitment by the norwegian public roads administration to high-quality road projects in recent decades. the two major projects, Lofast and oslofjord, have been ground-breaking in terms of the natural re-growth of verges right up to the hard shoulder of the road, in addition to preserving existing landscape, and providing a great driving experience. the national tourist routes projects akkarvikodden, hellelåga, and Ørnesvingen, focus on the landscape as an aesthetic object, something which we look at but are not a part of. fløitrappene in Bergen is also based on a romantic idea about landscape, while the project “environmentally prioritised roads” at vollen is characterised by more pragmatic and robust attitudes. this approach is also typical of the project at kvilesteinsdammane, which introduced a phase of repair that followed the major development phase of norwegian hydro electricity expansion. smøla vindpark represents the latest form of energy development in norway, and windmills will probably not face corresponding challenges in relation to landscape that damming and hydro electricity development did. tanum Cemetery and the haga golf Club are examples of suburban cultivated landscape, which is often about facilitating conservation through active land management. the sami parliament project represents a moderate and subtle approach to that magnificent landscape, and the goal of this type of project is to make interventions invisible, a tradition based on the best of norwegian cultural landscape management.


national tourist route •

akkarvikodden, heLLeLÅga and Ørnesvingen

norske turistveger, akkarvikodden at reine in Lofoten, heLLeLÅga on the heLgeLand Coast and Ørnesvingen at troLLstigen in geiranger Completed: 2005 – 2006 Commissioned by: statens vegvesen turistvegprosjektet nordland/møre og romsdal Landscape architects: Landskapsfabrikken by inge dahlman (akkarvikodden and hellelåga) and smedsvig Landskapsarkitekter (Ørnesvingen) architects: nordplan as (toilet building, hellelåga), manthey kula ans (toilet building, akkarvikodden), 3rw arkitekter (Ørnesvingen) and ingrid torkildsen (akkarvikodden) artist: may eikås Bjerk (Ørnesvingen) Contractor: mesta as and Christie and opsahl as (Ørnesvingen) Consultants: fredriksen as, node rådgivende ingeniører as photos: arne o. moen, steinar skaar, amund Johne, inge dahlman, roger mathisen, arne smedsvig published inter alia in Byggekunst no. 8, 2006, Arkitektur N no. 1, 2009, and in a variety of publications and websites of the department of public roads and rail transport, also in both exhibitions and publications of norsk form called Detour: Architecture and Design along 18 National Tourist Routes in Norway.

the national tourist routes project comprises eighteen sections of road to be upgraded with, among other things, elaborate picnic areas with art and architecture playing a key role. minimum standards have been defined for roads, and accommodation, food and information will be available on all of the selected stretches of road. the project will be completed in 2016. Currently six of the routes have been approved as fully-fledged national tourist routes. the tourist routes will be made up of a total of about 1,600 kilometres, and

66 nationaL tourist route

vary in length from 27 to 194 kilometres. the goal of the project is to increase tourism and thereby strengthen local industry and settlement in rural areas. the vision underlying the initiative is controversial. it has been referred to as “postcard landscape” and a master’s thesis from the department of Landscape planning at umB written in 2009 by kristin evjen discusses the project’s national romantic perspective, emphasised by architectural gems located in

some of the most spectacular scenery in the country37. high-tech architecture has been chosen for most of the sites, and has contributed to a form of “urbanisation” of nature. many of the rest area projects, however, have managed to highlight and focus on existing natural environments and landscape attributes in a way that responds to the modern tourist’s desire to experience something more - a sort of “added value” to the travel experience. three of the projects are presented here: akkarvikodden, hellelåga and Ørnesvingen.

Kolumnetittel 67

68 norsKe turistVeger

the national tourist routes project is essentially a project of limited scope, both financially and in terms of traffic volume, and has little significance in relation to other activities in the department. it is interesting that it has attracted so much attention, both nationally and internationally, due to the value of the landscape itself, rather than the design of the various picnic spots. the three projects described here show three different approaches to the task. Ørnesvingen offers a break on a difficult stretch of road with hairpin bends, yet a landscape that is magnificent in every direction. the design and materials used, wooden decking, benches of white concrete, and structured waterfalls, seem to send a soothing urban message that says: “yes, we humans are in control.” heLLeLÅga differs from most other picnic spots on the national tourist routes (nt) series in that the design here invites a greater degree of contact with nature. visitors can walk down the long stairs and dip toes into the water, or sit out on the rocks and enjoy the silence and the view over the fjord. Both the near and distant landscapes are in focus at the same time. akkarvikodden is the most meditative space. the subdued design emphasises that it is a public space, a beautiful place to stop and take a break. But there are thousands of other equally beautiful places, and the important thing is to find peace and harmony in one’s own inner landscape. a bench on a patio beside the fjord between the steep nordland mountains is a reminder of this.

Kolumnetittel 69

MUNKEGATA MUNKEGATA IN OSlO Completed: 2003 Commissioned by: Oslo Municipality Friluftsetaten (Agency for Outdoor recreation and Nature Management) landscape architect: Oslo Municipality Friluftsetaten by Aaste Gulden Sakya Contractor: Oslo Vei AS lighting design: Arkitektskap AS, Artist: Viel Bjerkset Andersen Photo: Arkitektskap AS, Are røysamb, Berit Hartveit

The Munkegata project, situated in the older section of the city of Oslo, includes the road called “Munkegata” and the site of Munkegata 4, which used to be a demolition site between Munkegata and Schweigaardsgate. The demolition site was designated as a public park and the street classified as a pedestrian street with through traffic in the project. The project area is on sloping ground with a height difference of 2.5 metres. The highest level starts in the east with the facades of buildings, and descends down to a gable wall at the western end. The area dates back to medieval times which provided inspiration for the project. This part of the city is a preservation area with strict reservations against digging which had to be respected during the work because of possible disturbance of archaeological remains. The main concept had been to create a large rectangular urban park, bounded by Schweigaardsgate on the one side, house facades in Munkegata on the other three sides, and traversed by Munkegata itself. Because of the sloping site the ground was levelled into three flat sections to accommodate various activities. Each level is divided by a 70-centimetre


kolumnetittel 129

embankment wall extending across from the pavement of Schweigaardsgate to the walls of the buildings facing onto the square, and traversed by Munkegata which slopes through the site. These three levels have different contents and features. The upper level is divided into two parts, a market and an apple orchard. The market area has a hard surface and is part of the street space of Munkegata itself, with room for outdoor seating at the cafe on the corner and bicycle stands, whereas the apple orchard is bounded by an 80-centimetre double-sided wall that separates it from traffic. The apple trees provide lace-patterned light effects on the green grass at this level, with beds of rhubarb and hops, the latter climbing up a 7-metre high wire pergola to create a green wall. On the next level is gravel, a place for playing and different activities. The street furniture is simple, consisting of three sculptured seats and an oak bench mounted on the wall backing the apple orchard. A delicate ceiling made up of 64 small lED lights covers the span between Schweigaardsgate to the north and across to the houses in Munkegata, which gives the space a different dimension and is particularly attractive in the evening. The play of light is regulated from a box in the square. The lower level is an open lawn for picnics, sunbathing and ball games. The name of the street, “Munkegata,� translates into Monk Street, and together with the medieval history of the area has provided inspiration for the design. Motifs from monks’ gardens have been used for the vegetation, and plantings include herbs, wild flowers, iris and roses. The stone labyrinth on the lawn widely used by children in the area is also a theme copied from the Middle Ages.

130 kolumnetittel

Universal design and accessibility have been an important concern in the project. All levels of the park have ramps from both sides, and Munkegata which traverses the park is made up of cobblestones inlaid with large, smooth sheets of granite, so that everyone, either on wheels or on foot, can use the park. Munkegata is a small and uncomplicated project, but it has added surprising and poetic qualities to an everyday urban landscape.


grusplassen eplehagen



BAKKELøKKA SCHOOL BAKKELøKKA SKOLE, FAgErSTrAND AT NESODDEN Completed: 2002 Commissioned by: Nesodden municipality Landscape architect: østengen & Bergo Architect: NAV AS Contractor: Tronslien AS, Selmer Vermlandsbygg AS, Skanska Hus Award: Skolebyggprisen 2002 Photo: Kim Müller, østengen & Bergo AS Published inter alia in Byggekunst no. 3, 2006



Bakkeløkka School, not far from Oslo at Fagerstrand at Nesodden, has 270 eighth- to tenthgrade students, in three parallel classes. The municipality of Nesodden, which commissioned the school, laid down strict regulations that the landscape and vegetation should be protected as much as possible. The school is built in a dense forest area with visible whaleback rock in the terrain, and a stream passing through the grounds. Each side of the stream has to some extent different vegetation. To the east on the higher side of the stream is mostly pine and spruce, whereas on the west side is mainly deciduous forest of birch, alder and as-

184 bakkeløkka skole

pen and rows of trees, and these, together with the stream, have been preserved in their natural environment for the benefit of the school. The terrain of the site slopes down to the southwest towards Oslo Fjord, with car parks and sports arenas at the upper end, together with an arrival area leading to the two buildings and the two asphalt school yards. On the way to the school buildings from the car parks we cross over the stream, and are tempted off onto small footpaths into the forest. Here there are no typical beds of flowers, and grass is only to be found on the verges and ditches. In their stead are patches of wild flowers. The forest footpaths with small bridges over the stream tie the school, sports arenas and car park together in a harmonious and varied composition. Damage to nature is prevented by low walls or curbstones. The small bridges, like floating paths made of wood, protect the fragile forest bed and allow movement between the zones with dry shoes, either in rain or where the ground is moist. The school site is designed to allow nature studies and ecology classes to be held outside the classrooms, where students can take water samples, learn about hydrochemistry, and study flora and fauna. The natural setting, the whale-back rock formations and the walls, together with common tables and benches, form a varied environment for teaching as well as for socialising in various groups. The entire site invites students to find their favourite places to nurture their own interests, or simply sit quietly and meditate for a moment. The main materials used are asphalt, natural rock, shingle, and non-toxic impregnated wood. Surface water is shed outwards to the surrounding natural vegetation. Natural forest is often too fragile to allow several hundred students access on a daily basis, so one or another form of preparation is usually required, often leading to substantial changes in the character of the landscape, which becomes more like a park. At Bakkeløkka School a much more demanding strategy has been

employed to retain the woodland character, so that children can be given the opportunity to study nature closely every day. regrettably this happens far too rarely for most children. At Bakkeløkka School vegetation has been chosen

to enhance the appearance of a wooded forest, and even though the buildings are too large and dominating to be hidden in the trees, the school nevertheless allows youngsters and the local community genuine contact with nature.


NLA WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE FOLLOWING SPONSORS WHO HAVE MADE THIS BOOK POSSIBLE: Vestre AS Oase Fontener AS H. Westfal-Larsen og hustru Anna Westfal-Larsens Almennyttige fond Statens vegvesen Statsbygg Vest-Agder county council Oslo municipality BĂŚrum municipatity Drammen municipality Stavanger municipality





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Contemporary Landscape Architecture in Norway  

A beautiful book with the best of Norwegian landscape architecture the last 20 years - in writing, drawings and pictures.

Contemporary Landscape Architecture in Norway  

A beautiful book with the best of Norwegian landscape architecture the last 20 years - in writing, drawings and pictures.