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An insiders guide to lively buildings along your way

“Mr. Architecture”, Hans Petter Smeby, is the brain behind Norway’s streetwise architecture and design magazine Nytt rom. Here are his personal tips.

Oslo-based editor-in-chief Hans Petter Smeby is since long an intermediary of the not-so-obvious part of Scandinavian design. He is recognised for his fresh view on classics and his ability to highlight the up-and-coming.

His design and architecture magazine Nytt Rom has a personal feel and is a reference to everyone from professionals to design curious.

Despite the success of his anti-mainstream concept he still insists on a hands-on approach to everything from location scouting to magazine production. Smeby should therefore be especially suitable for the challenge to guide us through some of Norway’s grooviest architectural hot spots. 

Hans Petter Smeby

Hans Petter Smeby

1. Stokkøya Sjøsenter, Stokkvika, Northern Trøndelag, 2003

A clever mix of an exclusive Mediterranean club and the Norwegian coastline. Stokkøya is a low-key, cool hotel and activity centre. Extensive use of glass gives an intimate, immediate contact with the beautiful beach - popular for parties as well as

for playing with the kids. The whole thing is a fresh take on the modern combo of lively colours and concrete. Architect: Pir 2

2. Hotel Union, Øye, Norangsfjorden, Møre og Romsdal, 1891

One of the finest examples of Norway’s world famous wooden hotels from the early days of tourism. Hotel Union offers a rich history including numerous international prominent guests. The wooden pieces of the building were in fact made

in Norway’s third most important city, Trondheim, and then shipped to Øye and assembled there. Architect: Christian Thams

3. Eggum, Lofoten (National Tourist Routes), 2007

A gentle newcomer to this otherwise untouched landscape, built in natural stone in spectacular surroundings. Eggum is a rest area shaped like a classic amphitheatre

and a perfect, popular spot for midnight sun spotting. Architect: Snøhetta

4. Vulkan, Oslo, 2012

This is how to build a completely new city district with loads of flair and charm. The heart of Vulkan is Oslo’s new food hall with among its many occupants a one star

Michelin restaurant, Kontrast. In the surrounding streets there are stand-alone shops, galleries and other businesses which are not found elsewhere. Architect: LPO

5. Tautra Mariakloster, island of Tautra in the Trondheim fjord, 2006

This Cistercian nuns' monastery, — a beautifully crafted, massive, creative wooden construction, lets loads of natural light in. It holds a spectacular location on the

small island of Tautra in the Trondheims Fjord. Architect: Jensen & Skodvin

6. Turtagrø Hotel, Sognefjellet, 2002

This red-painted modernistic building is situated right in the very cradle of proud Norwegian mountaineering, with traditions going all the way back to the 1870s. 

A bold piece of architecture, which is an attraction in itself. Architect: Jarmund & Vigsnes.

7. Domkirkeodden, Hamar, 1998

A 90 minute drive from Oslo, you find a huge glass framework built around the remains of a 950 year old stone dome. The whole structure is called “the double cathedral”. The purpose of the glass construction is to protect the original ruins,

but the site is now also used for various events. Within the same area there is also a reinterpretation of the ancient Bishop’s palace, designed by architect Sverre Fehn. Architect: Lund & Slåtto.

8. Trollveggen Visitor Centre, Trollveggen, Møre og Romsdal, 2012

This unusual piece of architecture has collected numerous international awards. Trollstigen Visitor Centre is a multipurpose structure, including a café and a view point for one of the most visited parts of Western Norway. To explore the various forms of mountain water, from melting snow and ice, to drizzling streams and

waterfalls, is also a pleasant element of display. The nearby Trollveggen (The Troll Wall) is Europe’s steepest mountain wall, and reaches about 1000 meters. Architect: Reiulf Ramstad.

9. Røisheim Hotel & Restaurant, Bøverdalen, the 1600s

This ancient place, with buildings in notched logs, was listed as early as 1923. From 1858 it served as a shuttle station. Røisheim is more than anything, a great stop when visiting the eastern part of Norway. In short, it is best described as a small

scale hotel, offering high class establishment and restaurant services. Highly profiled personalities such as author Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) and composer Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) have both stayed here.

Røisheim Hotel & Restaurant

10. Næringslivets Hus (NHO Building), Oslo, 1965

Most tourists in Oslo visit the impressive Vigeland park, but often miss this exceptionally beautiful example of the architectural direction called “brutalism”, which is to be found right next to the park. The headquarter for the organisation of

Norwegian Private Sector (NHO) is embellished by a façade full of interesting details and structures, for those who find time to explore it. 

Næringslivets Hus (NHO Building)

Other architectural masterpieces

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