Timber houses in Sølvberget

White timber and red roofs within the labyrinth of narrow streets

As in other period or heritage centres, debates surrounding urban development issues are dominated by the positions of commercial interests versus preservation concerns. This project, which attempted to resolve tensions by combining the spatial potential inherent in commercial and residential planning with a diversified interpretation of the range and character of the Scandinavian vernacular, provoked a contentious public debate that continued for three years, before planning permission was granted in 1998.

The main structural intervention is the interconnection at ground and 1st floor levels of the two buildings and the existing elder house creating a generous commercial space, secondly a new interpretation of the vernacular facades enabling multidirectional views of the contrasting urban vistas, and finally the carefully shaped roofs which provides a panoramic views and acts to mediate between the neighbouring buildings.

Traditional architectural elements were rediscovered and developed, such as dormer windows, and single-storey courtyard or ”service” houses that are interposed between two neighbouring houses. By convincing the client to plan House 1 four meters from the boundary of the property, we were able to provide an extensive outdoor space that today accommodates a popular area for the public, together with an outdoor restaurant.

Key features include facades enabling multidirectional views of the contrasting urban vistas increase the number of exit-options. Existing private gardens are extended by a series of terraces and outdoor spaces located on various levels between houses 1 and 2. Optional facade layers such as sliding wooden screens enable the building’s external appearance to transform, and likewise facilitate a degree of privacy for each residential unit.

The interiors of the uppermost residential spaces set off the contrasting panoramic views. Both houses possess a gallery with a panoramic window facing the sea, mountains and the sky, and a south-facing terrace situated between the roofs.


Helen&Hard Siv Helene Stangeland, Reinhard Kropf, Dag Strass

Siv Helene Stangeland

Partner / Creative Director

Reach out to Siv to learn more about the project.

(+47) 952 25 766