Facade facing the fjord.

Facade facing the fjord.

Facade facing Skippergata. The masonry wing of the new building completes the intended 19th century block by Schirmer and von Hanno. The glazed part of the new building is pulled back, retaining the existing restored wall.

View from the main court through to the rear garden. Entrance building to the left.

View from the fjord.

Guardhouse in the main yard. The granite setts mark the historical fortifications below.

Main yard and the new main entrance.

New building seen from the rear garden. Original fortifications exposed in the lawn.


Meeting area.

Main foyer.

Entrance hall of the Workshop building.

Cast iron column after restoration.

Central hall after removal of modern floor slabs.

Connection between old building and Workshop building.

In connection with structural development of the Norwegian defence organisation, the Norwegian Parliament in 2002 decided to establish a new administration building for the Defence Staff and the Ministry of Defence at the Akershus Fortress. The project consists of a new building and a conversion of parts of the existing fortress, known as the Workshop Building.

Akershus Fortress has many historical layers. Some of these are the result of purposeful planning (e.g. Schirmer and von Hanno’s plan dating from the 1800s), while others can be characterised as arbitrary, the consequences of refurbishments or unfinished plans. In this respect, the Akershus Fortress site embodies a continual process of creation and transformation that we have sought to conserve and clarify.

The new programme demanded a transformation of the area. The overall aim of this transformation was to develop a modern office building with good internal communication between the various departments. The facility is intended to represent an open and accessible institution, while also satisfying specific requirements regarding security, both in daily operations and in emergency situations. Regard for both antiquarian and organisational considerations required an exceptional degree of flexibility in the design. The solutions are based on the main principles of the urban perimeter block concept prepared in close cooperation with the conservation experts of the Directorate for Cultural Heritage and the Norwegian Defence Estates Agency.

The overall intention of the project has been to create a dialogue with the existing buildings, a dialogue that both refers to and discusses the past. A dark colour has therefore been chosen for the brickwork on the heavier parts of the new building, with reference to the use of brick particularly in the Arsenal and the Workshop Building. In order to continue this development of details, the windows have been placed in deep niches, with frame profiles concealed by the masonry. Sun shielding is integrated in the double glazing.