3RW arkitekter is a Norwegian office with an international reputation built on practical experience, influential socio-cultural work and an award winning creative and innovative approach. We are focusing on architecture, urbanism, planning and the cultural landscape.
We are forming, over the last 17 years, a body of work that is best discussed today within five main themes.
Rather than singular genre these 5 themes establish the overlapping of programs we are confronted by today. It is an intelligent curation in which we can explore further intertwined processes of urbanization and mutation of certain architectural typologies, yet traditional enough to be able to speak clearly about them and evolve.
They also embody a transversal design approach we have nurtured to grow into a robust structure that is able to resolve complex and specific projects.
Cultural and education
Living and workplaces
Planning and city
Research, exhibition and academic
Current under construction and ongoing projects include: the rehabilitation of KODE 1 National Museum of Art & Craft, the creation of a new 12 km light-rail line in Bergen, Skjoldnes 59 units housing resort, a new city-centre and city-pavilion in Os, Randaberg Elderly and Day Care-centre, Straumehagen 43 housing units project, Jøl bru suspended foot-bridge along the national tourist Road, as well as planning project in Bømoen and for the Norwegian Defense Estates Agency that are among the largest development areas in Norway.
3RW arkitekter recently completed projects include: The Clearing, Memorial at Utøya (2015), Grønneviksoren, a 723 student housing units in Bergen (2014), Sartrogarden, a commercial building with 51 Housing units in Straume – future regional centre in Bergen region (2013) and the Kid Art-lab, a new department of KODE Contemporary art museum (2011).
The question ‘’what is the city?’’ in the Norwegian culture today resists being settled and seems instead taking several leads. In a country where only 2% of the land is urbanized, and 80% of what seems intact Nature is in fact cultivated, it is often retrograded behind the question ’’what is the nature?’’ and cannot stop being intertwined to the faith of the city. The work of 3RW since its first commission for the Biennale in 1999 constantly embraces the diversity and interrogations to practicing architecture and urbanism today in a fast growing and changing yet stable society.
As a Nation made up of contrasts –growing but relative small numbers of inhabitants in an immense land, social and pragmatic but backed-up by Oil and Maritime industry, increasingly urbanized but strongly rooted in nature– our contemporary perspective is evolving by doing. We are also assessing and learning ideas coming from outside to shape a unique vision for the transformation of our built environment, of our natural habitat, and hopefully become a benchmark for high-quality and sustainable living.
From the Northern West-coast of Europe, building upon a Scandinavian philosophy, we are today actively engaged in several fields of work to invent intelligent new possibilities of use that calls for a continuous international practice.
Cities are now also defined around their abilities to provide higher quality public space than before. Landscape takes a big role there since relying only on the proximity to the ‘wilderness’ is falling short when it comes to improve identity and increase value of town centers and neighborhoods.
Norway is developed along the western coastline of a highly-challenged territory. The culture is founded upon the proximity to marine resources and the possibilities they provide onshore. This is still the situation today, and one might say, that the shift from decentralized primary use of marine resources (small scale fisheries) towards the more centralized and intense use of offshore resources (oil and gas) represents a shift towards a more non-site-specific culture. This shift is in some way a red line in the transformation of Norway. The very reason for the development of many towns and villages, is rooted in some form of site-specific property. This could be the temperature zones in the fjords, the safe havens at the coast, the proximity to national infrastructure /distribution, or the locations at the foot of tall mountains with lakes on top, where hydroelectric power could be produced. Before Nikola Tesla invented modern alternating current and made it possible to distribute power over long distances, these specific sites with ability to produce hydro-electric power, were also the only places that allowed for the growth of energy-intensive industries. At the same time new site-specific activities are evolving along the coast line, such as wind-power installations (that needs to be located at sites with specific properties) and hubs for tourism (that is located either according to specific landmarks, or to strategic infrastructural sites)
Our landscape projects comment on the continuous change of the Norwegian landscape, always modified, altered and improved by cultural ambitions to improve local conditions and chances of survival. The current change from a society based on agriculture and fisheries, providing food, towards the service minded global hosts, providing adventure, constitutes the contemporary context for an increasing number of coastal communities in Norway. For a period of time, the two paradigms will probably coexist in the many soon-to-be-abandoned communities. The ambitions of projects interacting with this transformation should be to design a way that connects these two images not as conflicting ones but as a continuous expression of “the cultivating Man”.
How can the architecture of workspace in close relation to housing support the formation of high-quality and integrated environment that create or renew identity and value?
Although housing appears to be the main element that constitutes the city, others genres are participating more actively to the definition and the diversification of the city’s fabric.
Workspace in conjuncture with housing can support cross-sector synergy able to propose more
sustainable living environment. This is the case whether it addresses the diversification of monofunctional peripheral neighborhood or the renewal and intensification of urban centres.
Ultimately, it is the idea of public space that is at stake, the creation of multi-modal network, the hierarchy of different collective spaces with degrees of publicness, that create enjoyable and performant public space.
Bringing those themes together is also a recognition that the provider of a civic landscape that support qualitative and successful neighborhood can no longer exclusively be delivered by ‘public’ initiative and money. The private sector at the same time plays an increasingly important role in shaping our built environment, an opportunity for architecture to harness and build-upon this mutual interest.
We are today working at urban scale on designed-based projects with a commitment to continuously take part in preliminary feasibility studies from municipalities, that often serve as the basis for further development overtime. Projects such as Gjerstrud-Stenstrud, Arna or Ullandhaug campus in Stavanger encapsulate our ability to discuss architectural concept at the scale of urbanism with socio-economical themes associated to it.
Analysis and management
Parallelly, we have developed skills over the last 15 years working with the Norwegian Defense Estates Agency (NDEA) on landscape & pollution analysis, archeological analysis & preservation, real estate management, conversion of publicly owned land to private investment, depollution strategy & sustainable redevelopment and participating in establishing national policies related to security.
We also deliver planning and GIS expertise from preliminary to detailed planning. Our masterplanning project at Bømoen and the new 12km light-rail project in Bergen, for example encapsulate this holistic and transversal approach to large scale development. In the core of the large scale projects, are still the desire to not only manage the project, but to ensure the level of quality that comes out in the other end.
3RW arkitekter was established in the fall of 1999 as a young and independent office, strongly rooted in Bergen’s art and cultural scene. The founding partners were all educated at the independent Bergen Architecture School, BAS, founded by Svein Hatløy, a pioneer architect and a significant theoretician, who was working with Oscar Hansen on Open Form. During his professional and academic practice in Norway, Open Form was about creating an inclusive architecture with democratic expression in the sense that architecture serves the change of modern lifestyle while establishing a strong interaction with the landscape.
The practice in early years have benefited from this new stimulation that helped shape an alternative Norwegian practice in the fields of art and architecture.
We are committed to continue this cultural exchange and investigation beyond the traditional boundary of an architecture practice.