Creating space for adventure in Marienlyst
The morning light is streaming in and there is a view over the over the fjord from Snøhetta’s airy offices at Skur 39, and the team behind Lyst are gathered in the meeting room to review the plans for Marienlyst. “Today we have a surprise for you”, announces Knut Bjørgum, the project manager for Lyst at Snøhetta. The architects and Ferd’s real estate developers gather round a table, and Knut Bjørgum uncovers a series of models that illustrate what Marienlyst could look like if Ferd wins the competition for the NRK site. “I think that we have managed to create a place where people will really want to be”, explains Marius Næss, one of the architects behind the spectacular plans.
What Marienlyst could become
Under Ferd’s plans, the NRK site would be transformed in the coming years into more than 1,200 modern homes, which would be known as Lystgårder and have greenhouses and allotments on their roofs. Around them will be Lyst park with the Majorstua brook running through the whole area, and there would be a large mirror of water in front of the Store Studio building, currently home to the Norwegian Radio Orchestra. Right next door there would be a charming pavilion called Lillelyst. And, finally, the grand finale, as only Snøhetta can, the former Broadcasting House (Kringkastingshuset) would be transformed into “Lysthuset”.
“It is so innovative and impressive! We strongly believe that the project would create enduring value for Oslo and the people of Oslo”, comments Silje Strøm, Marketing Director at Ferd Real Estate. Silje is also the concept manager for Lyst and has led the work with Snøhetta.
The jewel in the crown of the construction project
Under the plans, Broadcasting House would be opened to the general public between its protected wings. Lysthuset, as the building would be known, would without doubt become the district’s meeting place and a major landmark where innovation and entrepreneurial activities would exist seamlessly with playing children, co-working spaces, social entrepreneurs, cosy cafés and an exciting hotel concept, and all this under a single glass roof. The atrium could be used for everything from small gatherings to major national events. The interior of Broadcasting House would serve as the inspiration for the atrium, which would give the space a soft and flexible feel. An indoor climbing wall that would be several stories high is planned for the wall on the side of the new Lystplassen.
“Having fun here should not be expensive. There will be room for children, recreation and physical expression. We think it is a good idea to bring together what is already available locally in the area while also creating new facilities, such as a multi-use sports hall, nurseries and cultural activities. We want to create an innovative, flexible and diverse space that will also preserve everything that Broadcasting House has to offer in terms of history, its qualities as a building and its design language. Ferd can achieve all of this”, explains Silje Strøm.
Architecture with the wow factor
Snøhetta is known for its sculptural buildings in which people can move freely around the areas that have the best light and view. Lysthuset is no exception to this. The plan is to build a solar cell roof over Broadcasting House that will make the building self-sufficient in terms of its energy consumption. Around this, there will be roof-top gardens and an outdoor cafe, and at the very highest point there will be a fabulous viewpoint.
“The roof would become an attraction, whether it tries to be one or not”, laughs Marius Næss, who adds that the view from Lyshuset will probably be more spectacular than the view from the roof of the Oslo Opera House, as Marienlyst is on such high ground.
“You’ll be able to look out over the city and all the way down to the fjord”, he explains. Ingebjørg Skaare, one of Marius’ colleagues and the process manager for the project at Snøhetta, explains that Marienlyst will have a full range of facilities, from places to live and places to work to places where it is just nice to be on a Sunday morning.
More than just a real estate project
The Executive Vice President of Ferd Real Estate, Carl Brynjulfsen, has been involved throughout the entire process and has been amazed by the architects at Snøhetta again and again.
“Snøhetta has a methodology and an approach that we would not have come up with ourselves, and this facilitated the great options that have made the project ultimately so incredibly good. I genuinely believe that we have got this spot on”, he explains, a view supported by Ferd’s Chief Investment Officer, Tom Erik Myrland.
“We very much hope that Lysthuset will be a bustling and creative place. We also want to create a knowledge centre and a meeting place for innovation and business and industry. Companies looking to move in will have to meet certain requirements in order to ensure we create a seamless and high-quality whole”, explains Tom Erik Myrland.
For Ferd, Lyst is more than a real estate project as, in addition to being an extensive development project, it also has a social perspective.
“We don’t often come across an opportunity such as this, which is to say a project that enables us to realise our vision of creating enduring value and leaving clear footprints to such an extent”, adds Tom Erik Myrland.
Television-inspired approach used for the NRK site
Architect Ingvild Skaare explains that opening up Broadcasting House and inviting people in was important. In order to do this in a way that was both true to the building’s history and would make people want to spend time there, the architects sought inspiration in the film and TV industry’s manuscripts and storyboards.
“We started with the characteristic test pattern originally broadcast to TVs at the start and end of each day, and this led us to think that this area should have everything as well - colours, shades, three dimensions, shapes, sound and so on. We then started to think in episodes. How should this area evolve over time? What should the buildings look like, who will live here, colours, activities, attractions. This way of thinking came to be a process tool and a common conceptual apparatus”, she explains.
The plan is to develop Marienlyst in phases through a series of “seasons”, with flexibility from start to finish. Unlike a traditional phased construction approach, the “episodes” at Marienlyst will ensure the area has content and activity from day one.
“If you only think about what the end result will be, you’ve already lost”, explains Marius Næss.
While the team constantly sought to respect the area’s identity, they are not reticent about the fact that environmental considerations were at least as important because of the need to ensure the area remains viable long into the future.
Sustainable building with a focus on mobility
“The distinction between work and leisure is getting smaller and smaller. In order to be an attractive provider of commercial real estate, you also have to offer a high quality of life”, explains Knut Bjørgum, the project manager. In the coming years, green choices will become an important part of this.
Marienlyst will obviously be car-free with allocated parking spaces underground. Ambitious investment in environmentally friendly transport solutions and sharing schemes is also planned. “We want to pave the way for there to be a pool of different vehicles, including electric cars, electric bikes and electric cargo bikes”, explains Skaare.
In addition, local energy production will play a central role, as will using roof surfaces. Everything from vegetable cultivation and bee keeping to recreation and gardening clubs will be provided for.
A district for everyone
The architects and Ferd are clear that the district should belong to the people and be a place where people want to live, work, explore or attend big events. To ensure the area is diverse, it needs to be opened up to Oslo’s population.
“Lysthuset is a gesture intended to lower the threshold for people to come here. Where there are enough people in a space, and you open up enough places, the threshold for people coming gets lower. I’m pretty confident that this is a place that people will want to visit and explore”, explains Marius Næss with a smile.
We leave Snøhetta and open the doors onto a shimmering Oslo Fjord. The sun is starting to provide some warmth and to remind us that spring is around the corner with all that this means in terms of new adventures, and maybe a little more of what the new Lyst could offer.
Tom Erik Myrland, Silje Strøm and Carl Brynjulfsen are proud of what they have achieved together with Snøhetta and are excited about the sales process now starting for the NRK site.
“There will be a lot of competition to develop this area, but we strongly believe that we have answered the criteria well, both from NRK’s perspective and that of the municipality. If we are the next owners of Marienlyst, this will be our way of giving something back to the city, explains Tom Erik Myrland before leaving Skur 39.