Oslo Urban Planning

Oslo, Norway

The City of Oslo called for a masterplan for the Bjørvika harbour district where the new opera building by Snøhetta is located. The vision is to create Bjørvika as a vibrant new city district based on sustainable and people-focused urban structures that are fit for the challenges of the 21st century. The main task for the coming decade will be to elevate the emerging opera quarter from a traffic dominated post-industrial wasteland containing an iconic building to one of the Europe’s most beautiful and inspiring urban waterfronts. Few other cities throughout the world can offer comparable proximity of outstanding and distinct natural beauty and sophisticated urban life.

The new city fabric will be based on urban blocks that provide high quality environments with new living, working, retail and leisure environments. The Bjørvika blocks will provide immediate access to the distinct public space destinations and create new semi-private and private recreational spaces at the heart of the blocks at street level and above.

It is our ambition that Oslo’s urban structure will grow to meet the opera at one of Europe’s most beautiful urban water edges. In order to achieve this goal the opera needs to be set in a decidedly urban context where new buildings create lively and inviting connections between the opera and the city. All buildings built in close proximity to the opera will respect its monumentality and further accentuate its beauty by contrasting its physical attributes and making it more present from all approaches.

The permeable and diverse network of lanes, streets and squares formed by the proposed distribution of building volumes introduces a greater variety in the size of spaces in the area and thereby a greater intimacy and improved human scale. New visual connections between the city and the opera are made, all of which are important in the generation of a distinct neighbourhood identity for Downtown Bjørvika.


Oslo, Norway


Civitas HAV Eiendom AS


Behnisch Architekten, Stuttgart


Dronning Eufemias Gate


2008, 1st prize