The competition brief called for an easily extendable building, with a strong focus on personnel safety. I have prepared this sketch concept view, together with diagrams explaining our design approach to address these points. Using a construction strategy based modular plug-in elements with identical folded structure roofs, each module can be easily connected to the station as it expands in the future, adding both additional capabilities and associated staff accommodation to the facilities.
We have just moved our Norwegian office to a new workspace in central Oslo, in the Gamle Aker neighbourhood!
After six years at Sommerrogata 17, our former office space is now closed for renovation. And we would like to take this opportunity to thank all the talented people who shared that vibrant space with us, for all the fruitful collaborations and good laughs!
Pop by and say hello at our new address:
In this project, we helped a housing developer unlock the potential of a complex site in the beautiful neighbourhood of Nordstrand, in Oslo. Bringing together our skills in site analysis and visualisation, we designed and presented alternative development strategies for the site, helping the developer and the site owner to build architecture that is both inspiring and financially viable.
Surrounding by elegant villas with fantastic views to Oslo Fjord, the undeveloped site had a complex topography, with a north-facing rocky slope dropping 11 meter drop across the site, overgrown with several large mature trees.
This unusual configuration made the site unsuitable for standard off-the-shelf housing solutions. So the developer asked us to assess the viability of a development and to bring in some creative thinking to showcase the potential of the site to the site owner.
Analysing the site
Using available topographic information and photos, we started by creating a 3D model of the site landscape and its surrounding, which would serve as the basis for our analysis and presentation.
The various layers of planning regulations for the site were then analysed and compiled into a clear set of constraints applying to the project. The surrounding architectural context was also carefully taken into consideration, so that the development would not only integrated with the landscape, but also related meaningfully with the existing architectural language and scale of the residential area.
Presenting these constraints visually, together with topographic and climatic data, we summarised a set of alternative scenarios for the development, each with the associated areas, possible building forms, parking and access requirements and consequences on the potential complexity of the planning process.
With all information clearly summarised, the developer could easily review the options — weighing costs versus complexity of the required planning process — to select an optimal development scale matching his financial and marketing approach.
Thinking with the landscape
With the project scale now clearly defined (in our case, three single family units), we proceeded with structuring the site and developed alternative architectural strategies based on this scenario.
Our focus was on preserving the natural feel of the site, making the most of the existing topography and vegetation to create attractive outdoor spaces with extensive access to the sun for a large part of the year, despite the awkward orientation of the site.
The dwellings were articulated around the different levels of the landscape to minimise groundworks on the site, preserve the existing trees and promote accessibility.
Their volumes were laid out to reduce self-shading of the garden areas, balancing open communal outdoor areas with more private garden spaces linked to each dwelling, framing view from the living spaces and preserving a feeling of privacy from neighbours.
Taking an informed decision
The result was five alternative architectural strategies that could be presented to the developer to the site owner.
We organised our presentation around clear diagrams that visually summarised each strategy, with site plans, massing perspectives and outline dwelling organisations. so that the site owner — who had no previous experience in development — could appreciate the potential of the site and take inform decisions about its future.
A client have just sent us some photos of the finished staircase we have designed for her house.
We designed this little structure to provide access from the upper terraces of the house down to the garden space. Since the garden was also a prime spot for children play, we designed the staircase wrapped around a “treehouse”, in which the children can hide and play, or take a fun shortcut climb back home!
In the summer cabin we redesigned on the Oslo fjord, we articulated the main living space with an open screen that had to perform many functions: create a light visual separation within the open plan space, provide storage for outdoor clothing and shoes for up to ten guests, integrate a large TV and offer seating in front of the new wood stove.
We finalised the design of this custom-made furniture as the project was already on site and decided to build it out the same oak bench plates used for the new kitchen. We created detailed instructions for the builder about how to make and assemble this large piece of furniture. Our instructions even included the detailed cutting patterns to minimise waste from the standard benchtop boards used to make it!
Kubik Interiørarkitekter — the talented interior architects with whom we are sharing an office space in Oslo — asked me to take photos of their freshly completed new interior for Norman & Co, Norway's oldest law firm, in Oslo's exclusive Akerbrygge neighbourhood.
Here are some of my shots, trying to capture Kubik's delicate contrast of warm materials and cool light...
Our remodelling and extension of a a family house in Bærum is progressing well, with the structures of the new garage and extension completed, and the new insulated cladding and windows installed. The interior spaces have also been opened up, starting to reveal how the interior spaces will key into one another and into the garden.
On my way back from a site visit in Eidsvoll, I did a pitstop at Lillestrøm station to take some photos of the new bicycle hotel designed by our fellow office workers Various Architects, who I collaborated with on several projects and competitions. A beautiful little building with a restrained, almost Japanese-like, palette of materials and a very nice sense of scale. Here are a few of my shots.
To celebrate 5 years of our Norwegian office, 2hD Architecture Workshop entered the VM Spark Utfor 2016, the Downhill Kick-sled World Championships, in Hurdal, Norway.
With Thibaut's experience of downhill kick-sled and Tom's bulk, we powered our way to a not-too-discreditable 45th position (out of more than 110 teams in our league). Our 10 minute practice in the dark the previous evening really paying off there...
The event was sociable and well organised, a great balance of fun and competition, technical mountain gear and fancy dress. Highly recommended if you're in the area of Hurdal, Norway in February, and can get hold of a Spark. Training optional. Check out the event website for more information.
Hvitsten — a seaside resort on the Oslo fjord where we are redesigning a cabin — can still be pretty cold in winter. Yesterday's visit to the building site showed me an aspect of the project I hadn't experienced yet: the summer cabin in the snow.
Part of the client's brief was to make the cabin comfortable to use all year round, so I could finally put our design to test, overlooking the snowy landscape from its cosy interior.
The interior is nearing completion and the new oak-clad storage wall was being installed, with its integrated kitchen and window niche in the play area.