how Oslo claimed its fjord

Just twenty years, eighteen to be precise, separate these two series of images. The first is suspended in a corridor that connects the great hall of the Oslo Opera to its dance school. May 2004, “the new Opera”, as indicated above the photo, is still just a platform surrounded by port and industrial warehouses. Anyone wishing to get close to the water should do so twice: a gigantic highway, punctuated by interchanges, runs along the fjord at the bottom of which the Norwegian capital has developed. In a photo taken two years later, the building is taking shape, but still in the middle of a road junction.

The second series is on display from mid-September two subway stations away, in the former Edvard Munch Museum, where The scream, by the famous Norwegian painter, had been stolen. The triennial of architecture and urban planning holds its 8And edition, until 30 October. On the walls of one of the rooms, a series of sixteen panels, texts and 3D projections show children with their feet in the water, landing net in hand, next to adults who, when not fishing or wandering around in a kayak, steer with confidence. , in a bathing suit, towards the sea, a paddle board under the arm. No longer a truck or a highway, but a vast promenade, houses with large balconies, obviously bright offices, cafes with a view of the Opera. You can barely make out the harbor cranes in the distance.

View of the port of Oslo, Norway, on October 3, 2022.

There are a few, twenty years, as regards the development of a city. Yet the contrast is striking. Because this second series of images represents what the immediate surroundings of the Oslo Opera district might look like in a few years. At least these are the sixteen projects on which HAV Eiendom, the company in charge of redeveloping the waterfront of the capital to design the future face of Gronlikaia, where, today, the containers are still stacked, wants to rely.

Read also the archive (2021): Article reserved for our members Urban planning: how cities are regaining control over the development of their territories

With Filipstad on the other side of the bay, a large freight yard and from where ferries leave for northern Germany, it is one of the last promised districts to undergo a radical change at the edge of the fjord. Once these programs are completed, Oslo, which has experienced unprecedented development for three decades, can boast of having regained ten kilometers of direct access to the sea.

The Munch Museum in Oslo.

On the scale of this city of 700,000 inhabitants (more than a million in the conurbation) wedged between sea and hills, this reconquest of the fjord – the sum of several projects, in fact – represents only 9,000 new housing units among the 100,000 that could see the light. ‘ here in 2050. But they are also, in the long term, 1.2 million square meters of offices, titanic works of burying a highway, the construction of an opera and large museums that today are the showcase for this “small capital a small country “, which was looking for a place on the international stage.

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