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An introduction to
NORWEGIAN ARCHITECTURE

Architecture should always be in a constant dialogue with its surroundings, including our breathtaking nature. 

That is one of the fundamental principles of Norwegian architecture.

Like here, at these amazing viewing platforms by the Vøringsfossen waterfall.

Vøringsfossen in Hardanger .
Photo: Statens Vegvesen / Nasjonaleturistveger.no Architect: Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk AS arkitektkontor
Vøringsfossen in Hardanger .
Photo: Statens Vegvesen / Nasjonaleturistveger.no Architect: Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk AS arkitektkontor

And sometimes, nature itself plays the leading role in architecture.

Natural, sustainable materials like wood are often used in cutting edge contemporary architecture in Norway.

Both rooted in the past and built for the future.

Finansparken .
Photo: Sindre Ellingsen/Moelven
Finansparken .
Photo: Sindre Ellingsen/Moelven

... like in the world's tallest timber hotel.

Frich's Wood Hotel in Brumunddal, Eastern Norway .
Photo: Frich's Management AS
Frich's Wood Hotel in Brumunddal, Eastern Norway .
Photo: Frich's Management AS

You'll find some pretty cool architecture far out in the woods, too!

PAN treetop cabins in Finnskogen .
Photo: Marcus Ek
PAN treetop cabins in Finnskogen .
Photo: Marcus Ek

And in some really wild and remote places. 

This is actually a toilet. 

Here are the top sights for architecture lovers travelling through Norway.

Tungeneset, Norwegian Scenic Route Senja .
Photo: Jarle Wæhler / Statens vegvesen Architect: Code arkitektur
Tungeneset, Norwegian Scenic Route Senja .
Photo: Jarle Wæhler / Statens vegvesen Architect: Code arkitektur

1. Stave churches

The stave churches are a surviving remnant of the European Middle Ages, and a must-see when you visit Norway.

Notice how beautifully the wooden doors and finials have been carved!

Borgund stave church in Lærdal, Fjord Norway .
Photo: Anders og Magga AS /Trigger Oslo / Visit Norway
Borgund stave church in Lærdal, Fjord Norway .
Photo: Anders og Magga AS / Trigger Oslo / Visit Norway

2. Norwegian wood architecture

Wood has sheltered us for thousands of years.  Norwegian wood architecture is at once a living historical legacy and our hope for a more sustainable future.

There's something about wood that makes us feel good. Don't you agree?

Norwegian Wooden Architecture .
Photo: ONZONZ/Visit Norway Stories
Norwegian wooden architecture .
Photo: ONZONZ/Visit Norway Stories

3. Going Under

At Restaurant Under in Lindesnes in Southern Norway, the perfect blend of architecture and Michelin food will take you straight to heaven. 

Well, to the bottom of the sea, actually! 

The underwater restaurant Under in Lindesnes .
Photo: MIR / Snohetta / Under
The underwater restaurant Under in Lindesnes .
Photo: MIR / Snohetta / Under

4. Oslo – new and trendy

Over the last two decades, Oslo's skyline has transformed dramatically.

Explore the capital's hip new neighbourhoods, where you will find many iconic new buildings, including ....

... the MUNCH museum, that appears to be bowing gently towards Oslo. The museum was designed as a worthy home for the art and legacy of world-famous artist Edvard Munch.

You'll find it in Bjørvika, one of Oslo's most modern neighbourhoods.

The new Munch Museum .
Photo: MUNCH
The new Munch Museum .
Photo: MUNCH

Here, you can also "hike to the top" of the Oslo Opera House, inspired by ice floes and mountains.

Bring along someone special, and enjoy a delightful sunset from the Opera roof.

The Oslo Opera House in Eastern Norway .
Photo: Didrick Stenersen
The Oslo Opera House in Eastern Norway .
Photo: Didrick Stenersen

5. Amazing libraries

Right next door to the Opera House, you'll find Deichman Bjørvika, Oslo's public library. It's a beautifully designed building that acts as a mirror to the sky in dazzling sunlight.

It's even more spectacular inside. And it contains much more than just books... have a look! 

Oslo main library Deichman Bjørvika .
Photo: Erik Thallaug
Oslo main library Deichman Bjørvika .
Photo: Erik Thallaug

If you're in Southern Norway, stop by the amazing Vennesla public library for a nice and quiet cultural break.

Check out more of Norway's stunning libraries

Vennesla library .
Photo: Hufton+Crow
Vennesla library .
Photo: Hufton+Crow

6. Scenic routes and viewpoints

Road-tripping?

Be sure to stop and explore the Instagramable viewing platforms along the Norwegian scenic routes, like the Solbergplassen viewpoint in Rondane.

Look out for the signs as you enjoy your drive.

Sohlbergplassen viewpoint .
Photo: CH / Visitnorway.com Architect: Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk
Sohlbergplassen viewpoint .
Photo: CH / Visitnorway.com Architect: Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk

7. The world's most beautiful rest areas

When nature calls, answer it with a view.

Driving along Norway's scenic routes, you'll find some of the world's most impressively designed toilets.

Toilets on the Norwegian Scenic Routes .
Photo: Nasjonaleturistveger.no
Toilets on the Norwegian Scenic Routes .
Photo: Nasjonaleturistveger.no

8. Amazing bird hides 

You will also find more surprising architecture in some of the most remote corners of our country.

Built for a wide range of uses...

Check out stunning gapahuker (lean-tos)day hike cabins, and bird hides, like the Øksfjord mountain bivouac in Northern Norway.

Øksfjord mountain .
Photo: Tormod Amundsen / Biotope
Øksfjord mountain .
Photo: Tormod Amundsen / Biotope

9. Forest magic: The Plus

Welcome to the world's most environmentally-friendly furniture factory! The Plus, located in Magnor in Eastern Norway, is admired for both its architecture and innovative sustainability concept.

Opens summer 2022.

The Plus in Magnor .
Photo: Illustration: BIG / Verve
The Plus in Magnor .
Photo: Illustration: BIG / Verve

It will also have a state of the art visitor centre and a huge park full of interesting features, too!

The Plus in Magnor .
Photo: BIG/Verve
The Plus in Magnor .
Photo: BIG/Verve

10. Unique accommodation

Want to have a night to remember (especially for architecture lovers)? 

More and more unforgettable treetop cabins are popping up in the woods, like the amazing Cone on Mount Fløyen in Bergen.

The Cone .
Photo: Endre Knudsen
The Cone .
Photo: Endre Knudsen

Sip your morning coffee on this balcony when staying at Trekronå!

There's a growing trend in building unique places to stay all over Norway. The weirder, the more wonderful.

Are you ready to go exploring? 

Trekronå in Ogna, Stavanger .
Photo: Trekronå
Trekronå in Ogna, Stavanger region .
Photo: Trekronå

From historical to modern

Discover how Norway's nature, dramatic and varied climate, and open society influence its architecture.

Architecture across Norway

Visit some highlights of Norwegian architecture, from a 12th-century stave church to a cutting edge hotel that blends in with nature.

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