Friction and Fire: On Oslo Waterfront    


The studio is taught by Gro Bonesmo and Halvor Ellefsen.

Students: Olav Skillingstad Andersen, Jelle Boone, Beili Chen, Tommaso Genco, Argyriou Konstantinos, Denis Looby, Marine Pavageau, Mateusz Pietryga.

Video:  Oslo havn - byens hjerte. 1952, Arena-Film AS.


After two decades in the making, the "Fjord City," describing Oslo extensive harbor front and its different development projects, has established itself as a brand and destination in the city. Framed by its extensive recreative promenade and “cultural axis” of high-profile culture institutions within iconic buildings, the area is on the verge of becoming almost a caricature of turn of the century harbor fronts of the European City.

In spite of the obvious qualities and spectacle of the fjord the waterfront development provides the city’s population, we can’t help but wonder whether this effective but rather generic vision of leisure, recreation and exclusive housing is the ultimate answer to the 21st century city’s challenges...

However, the Fjord City is not complete: Several areas and plots are yet to be developed, and here lays an opportunity to explore a different side of city commons and civic architecture, based on other parameters for success than exposure, iconicity or symbolic value.  This studio explores these spaces of opportunity, aiming towards developing architectural projects that in form, organization and program provide added value for the city, seen in context of the geographic and ecological context of the blue green harborfront and the Oslo fjord landscape.

The studio obtains a holistic approach to urban development based on the city’s actual needs, and rooted in the existing resources, potential synergies and incentives of a selection of three strategic sites along the fjord. Here, the studio will explore how new and innovative architectural interventions can improve the Fjord City’s performance – beyond leisure. 

The studio will focus on developing robust, multi-purpose civic building structures and facilities for the city. The emphasis lays on combining public facilities and urban infrastructure with new commons. Such commons can include new indoor and outdoor public facilities and services that utilizes the harbor front's and fjord landscape's inherent but yet unrevealed potential.

The course aims to articulate large and complex but precise architectural proposals that can contribute to broaden and shed light on possible futures for the “Fjord City”, and present alternative strategies for urban development of the area. The studio will both maintain an approach that discuss and develop the area autonomously within the studio framework, while simultaneously being informed from the events and development processes of the actual sites and involved actors.