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DEN “HVITE” BYEN VED FJORDEN/ THE “WHITE” CITY BY THE FJORD Bulding a City where there is None: Attempt of an Architectural Addition in Mall town Sandvika


DEN “HVITE” BYEN VED FJORDEN/ THE “WHITE” CITY BY THE FJORD Bulding a City where there is None : Attempt of an Architectural Addition in Mall town Sandvika


DEN “HVITE” BYEN VED FJORDEN/ THE “WHITE” CITY BY THE FJORD Bulding a City where there is None : Attempt of an Architectural Addition in Mall town Sandvika “The white city by the fjord” was a term coined by Sandvika architect Magnus Poulsson in the 1920s. He designed two civic buildings in Sandvika, and had a vision for Sandvika as a city consisting of white buildings, which were inspired by the early italian city state. The diploma will seek to investigate the architecture, regulation and buildings by M. Poulsson, as an antidote to the mall architecture & planning in the town, and how one could design a city building. The diploma will focus investigations through aspects of site, context and architectural material. It will investigate the meaning of white through mappings; explore the integrated relationship between building and outside space as visible in M. Poulssons buildings; apply histories of Sandvika as an antidote to the uniformality of mall architecture, and also indicating what is uniqe in this place. The diploma will take form through designing a city building and investigations of what it will take to make Sandvika a desirable place to live- where young people and families would consider living.




BÆRUM MUNICIPALITY Sandvika is situated in Bærum municipality. If Bærum were a city, it would be the 5th largest city in Norway, counting 110.000 inhabitants. Bærum is a suburb of Oslo with major commuter traffic passing Sandvika every day. The municipality borders the sea to the south, the Oslofjord, and the protected forrests delineating the Oslo-region, marka, to the north.


SANDVIKA Sandvika is the administrative centre of BĂŚrum, and is described as a major commerce- and administrative node. Sandvika borders the sea and the islands of Vestfjord, while the Sandvika-river runs through the middle of the city. The area of marka runs in proximity to the city-area.


SANDVIKA CITY: THE MALL The mall of Sandvika is the biggest mall in Scandinavia, with 2km walking distance from end to end. The latest addition at the southern end was illegal by Norway’s new law for shopping centers, but was fulfilled through politcal cameraderie. This along with previous development has had tremendous effects on the citylife of Sandvika.

“The mall in Sandvika is like an urban Iberia-snail. It eats up all the resources that could contribute to the city environment, disrupts the social ecology and creates an urban desert. Inside the mall there is a vibrant life. But the life is hijacked from the society into the pockets of Olav Thon. This type of centre is a funghi, a weed that has completely taken over”

Architect Jan Olav Jensen of Jensen & Skodvin.

Sandvika is completely overtaken by a mall- the mall’s great size and offers have strangled citylife in all other parts of the town. There is an increasing ‘ghettofication’ taking place in the area around the mall, as it developes densely with a great lack of urban and architectural standards. The eastern and old part of the city is low in activity, but some new cafes and restaurants starting up is beginning to change the user patterns of the old part.


THE WHITE CITY In the 1920s, Sandvika had a city architect, Magnus Poulsson. He had a vision for Sandvika as “the white city by the fjord”. In the early 1900s Sandvika was an idyll, situated by the


Brambani building & City Hall by Sandvika River, architect: Magnus Poulsson 2 Plan: Brambani building and City Hall, Sandvika


fjord, in the midst of an islandscape, where residents from Oslo travelled to spend late summer evenings. The area attracted many painters, among them Claude Monet. He noted that there was something very idyllic about the place, somehow Japanese in character. Monet stayed at Bjørnegård on the outskirts of Sandvika, which attracted many painters. Poulsson wanted to continue this idyllic tradition, but in the form of a city. He created the vision of a white city by the fjord, “light and beautiful like seagulls in flight”. His architecture still stands today as two very successful civic buildings. He imported city-building ideas from Italy, and created an integrated relationship between buildings and their city space. The buildings are in the neoclassical tradition, but have a site-specific and innovative slant to them: they are buildings for Sandvika, while also having a contemporary expression inspired by a historic style.




Asker og Bærum Budstikke: nyheter/byen-ingen-vil-vise-frem-1.3511905 2 D2, Dagens Næringsliv: article1455236.ece


There is great discontent among the inhabitants of Bærum with the development of Sandvika. The local newspaper conducted a study where the conclusion was that “no other place in Asker & Bærum is as loathed as Sandvika city”. Generally, Sandvika is viewed as a city “nobody wants to show people”. Some of the most common characterstics used to describe Sandvika were “dead”, “charmless” “cold” and “desolate”. The financial newspaper DN’s extended article on Sandvika had the title and subtitle “Dying in the shadow of the mall - In 1895 Claude Monet found the idyll Sandvika, but today the small city is dying. Now a new law will create similar destinies for other small cities”. In the same article, Minister of Environmental Affairs, Erik Solheim, said about the street outside the mall that: “that this street is called Claude Monet’s alle is really an irony of God’s grace”.

Sandvika West

Sandvika’s “White city by the fjord�, City Hall and Brambani building, architect M. Poulsson

CONCEPT : MAKE CITY BUILDING The concept of the diploma is to create a clear architectural alternative to the mall and development taking place in Sandvika Vest over the recent years. The architectural addition will have as a goal to create a clear architectural alternative based on the vision of the white city by the fjord and Maguns Poulssons architecture. By placing the architectural alternative in the old part, close to Magnus Poulssons architecture, the foundation may be laid for a revitalization of Sandvika, and a further growth of Sandvika as a city. The concept stems from two focus points: 1) Create living spaces where the city is viewed as a desirable place to live 2) Create the place Sandvika by bringing the site- specific into light - by this create a solid and characteristic city environment. While the new part of Sandvika is developing densely with lack of urban qualities- a kind of ghettofication saved by a strong purchasing power - the old part has potential to develop a city environment. The idea is to develop Sandvika as a city for a population, for families with children and young people. The architectural addition will take the form of an apartmentbuilding so it is possible to think of

Sandvika as a place to live. This will be sought through an architecture of high quality; a mix of living space and space for stores that will create a city environment in Sandvika. The idea is that architecture itself should be the foundation for further development- a building practice (byggeskikk) that assures a development in terms of a city environment. It will seek to investigate how, through an architectural addition, the ground may be laid for further development. The idea of a balcony, a window, a streetscape, civic spaces, how these appear in a building to make a successful and vibrant city - the physical and integrated relationship between a building and its city, between a building and its streetscape. This is part of a larger ideal which consist of building cities that people have the opportunity and would like to live in. To live in a city/build a city for inhabitants is part of a larger idea of social sustainability. It states that living conditions in cities should be of high quality by the architecture itself, but also by the positive factors which citylife with streetlife and closeness to services offers. Implicit in this there is also the sustainability aspect that if people live in apartment in cities, less energy is required, about 25%, than if they lived

Site for apartment building

Architectural addition

in an single-family house. But the diploma focuses on social sustainability, on the comfortable and convenience of living in a city, along with positive qualities of city environments of civic parks and spaces. Cities in Norway are facing a major challenge in the declining quality of city housing being built. Critics claim we are building the slums of tomorrow at an alarming rate. Apartments are built at a great scale with poor light conditions inside and outside, low quality in building structure and lack of urban qualities, making them only desirable to live in for a short period of time.

Possible foundation/inspiration for further growth of a white city by the fjord

On a greater scale this implies that the city is not desired as a place to live, laying ground for scattered settlements outside the city, resulting in greater problems of transport, commuting and cities lacking activity and life. In Norway also, the city is more and more developing without recreative values, leading to more people feeling a need to escape to nature, and people in the thousands recreate in cabins in far-off places, further underlining the notion that cities are a place for work and no more. This has unfortunate consequences for transport planning and areaplanning alike. As many people in Norway are forced outside of cities to achieve a quality of life, the positive idea of densification is taking its toll on cities by its current low-quality architecture being introduced along with it. Should the trend continue, cities will end up being viewed as more undesireable, with less people wanting to live and recreate in the city. It will aslo further enhance problems with transportation challenges. A city building is seen as commenting on the quality of life in cities, the decline in urban city environments, and giving the alternative of living and recreating in the city.

Debate in Norwegian Association of Architects, 22.03.2011




White facade, City Hall of Bærum, Architect: Magnus Poulsson 2 Facade, City Hall of Bærum.


Part of the diploma will be to investigate what “white” is on an associative and historical level, and to find out what kind of meaning it bears in relation to the vision of a “white city by the fjord”. The diploma will include attempts of mapping white - to see what white is in a physical and sensing context, and what white might signify in a human space.



02. INTEGRATED Magnus Poulsson’s buildings are successful because ideas of the city and outdoor space is integrated into the architecture. The buildings are part of the outdoor space, and the outdoor space is part of the building. In Poulsson’s case he used italian city forms of cortilen and loggia, interpreted into a nordic context. The relationship between building and outside spaces assures a successful and integrated city form. Part of the diploma will investigate what “integrated” is, what with how, and what the condition contains. It will investigate relationships between inside space and outside space, and how these might be connected in terms of space and use of material. Courtyard of City Hall, Sandvika. Architect: M. Poulsson

”Den strålende portalen til Sandvika når man kom østfra, var Gjestgiveriet. Klemt opptil berget nedenfor Telegrafen lå det som et Soria Moria med sine fargeglade lykter, og folk satt i lange sommerkvelder på terrassen og frydet seg over utsynet til fjorden og øyene” (9).

Mellom høyvekta på Torget og Ringigården lå Asker og Bærums Budstikkes redaksjon og administrasjon. ”Et underlig opptog forlot omtrent en gang i måneden trykkeribygningen. Det var en gutt, Klaus Dedekam Væthe, som slepte en tung trillebør eller trakk en kjelke den lange veien til hjemmet i Presteveien på Blommenholm. Lasten besto av alt slagget fra trykkeriet. Væthe hadde et lite smelteri i kjelleren, der ble alt renset og smeltet om og gjenoppsto som nye metaller og legeringer” (13).

”Løkke står for tur. Og Løkke har opplevd det meste, enten stedet het Bøndenes Hus eller bare Løkke. Det var resturant i den maleriske hvite bygningen med opptreden av jazzband og artister (...) En gang i 1920-årene hadde Løkke en japansk kelner, han trippet så stille og høflig omkring; folk trodde han var spion” (25).

Source: “Det Sandvika som Forsvant”, Rolf Nettum, 1994

03. HISTORY Part of the diploma will seek to investigate the public image of Sandvika. The vision of “the white city by the fjord” exists in the public, but rarely surfaces. Overtaken, as Sandvika is, by the development of the 90s and 2000s, there has been a resignation in terms of relating to the city, or relating to Sandvika as a city. In order to build a city one needs stories, and the diploma will look to resurface some of the histories of Sandvika so there can be the possibility of creating a public image. For most people in Sandvika, the dreariness of the new architecture has for long become a given, and generally people are not aware of the deprivation of a city environment, “it is what it is”. This is not to say that people are not interested in such a change or a city, but rather lack a vocabulary for communicating it. Looking at stories in Sandvika from the 1920s and 30s, a very livable, vibrant and colourful place resurfaces. These stories will seek to be told in a site-specific or theatrical way.


29/30th March- 1st presentation February



Social Anthropology Investigate Concept Analysis Develop Concept


10/11 May- 2nd presentation May



Develop Project Finalize Project

CV Name Therese Øijord Rustad Born 06.09.1984 E-mail Education Bergen School of Architecture The Cooper Union Work Curator Summer Exhibition, “Wittgenstein’s hut”, Tørvis Hotel Bærum Municipality, Parks and Recreation Published articles “Dokken mountain farm and settlement patterns in upper Hallingdal”, Dølaminne, 2011. Årbok for Hallingdal, Hallingdal museum “Re-mote: A mastercourse”, Utflukt 4/2011, Oslo

DESIGN STUDIOS Bergen School of Architecture 2006-2012 “Air Bergen” Fall 2012

Professors: Deane Simpson, Mark Waisuta, Marcos Sanchez “Remote: Here and Elsewhere” Spring 2011

Professors: Thomas Wiesner, Eli Goldstein, Andrea Spreafico The Cooper Union 2009-2010 “Towards Cartopological Space”, Fall 2010 Professors: Pablo Eiroa, Lydia Kallipoliti, James Lowder “Intersections”, Spring 2010

Professors: Lebbeus Woods, Anthony Titus, Aida Miron, Uri Wegman “Architectonics” Fall 2009

Professors: David Gersten, Anthony Titus, Aida Miron, Uri Wegman

The "White" City by the Fjord  
The "White" City by the Fjord  

Programme for diploma at BAS, 2012