Between 1990 and 2005, the Oslo City Planning department, together with The Norwegian State Housing Bank, funded courtyard projects in downtown Oslo. The aim was to encourage residents to stay in the city center rather than fleeing to the suburbs by making semi-public green oases in the Oslo’s urban core. These new landscape courtyards were based on urban ecological and sustainable design principles.
The original courtyard at Fredensborgveien 37 consisted of three parking spaces on tarmac pavement and neglected vegetation. Snøhetta’s design transformed the space into a peaceful courtyard with a ‘carpet’-like pathway rolled out as a ’catwalk’. The ‘carpet’ is made of cast-in-place concrete with a mix of green and transparent recycled glass, creating an elegant entrance to the courtyard. The path takes visitors through the gate and leads to an elevated, walled terrace. The terrace has custom outdoor furniture with a rough look. The main materials used are oiled larch wood, concrete mixed with recycled glass, and white gravel. Galvanized steel is used for the furniture and fences.
Vegetation frames the courtyard and perennials with bright yellow flowers are planted between the building wall and the concrete ‘carpet’. Four Columnar Aspens are planted along the wall to reinforce the strong vertical element while blurring the transition from floor and wall. A beech hedge frames and separates the gravelpaved area. .
Four small mirrors with bright red plexiglass draw visitors’ attention and leads to an extra long bicycle rack. White gravel and ivy frame the bicycle parking. The wooden ellipse frames the cherry tree. The cherry tree will make a semi-dense canopy and provide pleasant shading for part of the courtyard. The children’s sandbox is lovered by the wooden lid.
Mirrors with bright red plexiglass frames. The wooden ellipse frames the cherry tree. is lovered by the wooden lid.
Broken recycled glass
Different ecological considerations influenced the courtyard’s landscape design. A drain was built to filter excess rainwater through a layer of gravel before it runs underground. Paving materials create a permeable surface. Broken recycled glass is used both in the ‘carpet’ and the supporting layers below grad. Today the courtyard is a functional, well-used outdoor space with a lush and flowering garden.
Mirror with bright red plexiglass frame. and flowering garden.