The yard with the white main house. Wold´s sculptures in the foreground.

The yard with the white main house. Wold´s sculptures in the foreground.

New stair to the main house, barn in the background.

Barn. Living room with kitchen, workspace above.

Living room in the barn.


Left the fireplace and the new steel support, right new stair to office.

Barn. South facade.

West facade of the barn with new windows.

Plan of the barn.

The farm, which dates back to the 18th century, is now owned by the Norwegian sculptor Knut Wold, who bought it in the mid-1980s. Situated near the town of Hamar, it lies in an open landscape under a wide sky, and looks onto Lake Mjøsa and the Skreiafjellene mountains.

Wold’s aim was to restore the buildings by preserving the distinctive features while at the same time being able to use them in new ways. The first step was to build a studio, an office, a shower and a toilet in the barn. Roof lights were installed and various small alterations were made. Two arched doorways from the days when the barn was used for threshing were removed and replaced by windows. In 1999, the architect Are Vesterlid was engaged in the project, and the south-west corner of the barn was renovated as living quarters: a living room with a kitchen measuring about 3.6 m x 9 m, and an open mezzanine under the 4.3-metre ceiling. The farmyard entrance went through the future gallery space, with a side entrance from a covered outdoor workshop. The existing bathroom was used for the time being. In 2001 the brew house was also renovated as living quarters. In 2003 the loft in the main building was renovated as a studio–living quarters with an outside staircase leading directly up from the farmyard. In 2005 this project was begun: the renovation of the western part of the barn as an art gallery and an addition to the existing living quarters.

”This is not the first time the Sørum farm buildings have been altered,” explains the architect. ”You can see that the buildings have been shaped by the day-to-day lives of succeeding generations, by the different uses to which they were put, by being developed, rebuilt and added to, by repair and renovation. The main building, which is a fairly simple 18th-century farmhouse, was extended several times, and then during the 1920s a completely foreign architectural style was introduced in the shape of a taller building with a cruciform plan, built at an angle to the old house. Although the old and the new buildings had a common roof and the same type of cladding, they no longer belonged to any particular architectural style. If that was the point… Perhaps the owner faced the same dilemma as we do today: pull down and rebuild or preserve and add on, and in the latter case: adapt the existing building or make room for contemporary design.”

Read Juhani Pallasma's review of Are Vesterlid's conversion here.