The artwork on the main facade doubles as a sunscreen. From the landing on the main stair. Artist: Jorunn Sannes.

The artwork on the main facade doubles as a sunscreen. From the landing on the main stair. Artist: Jorunn Sannes.

From the main stair.

From the main stair, towards the café.

Front facade towards Osterhaus gate. The screen printing on the glass doubles as a sun screen. Artwork by Jorunn Sannes.


The wide, shallow stair is part of the mingling area outside the conference hall.

Site section with energy wells.

Location plan. The union buildings. The site. Cross access.

Long section showing facade, staircase, conference hall and lobby.

Ground floor.

1st floor.

2nd floor.

Lærernes Hus (Teachers’ House), the new conference centre of the Union of Education Norway, lies in the centre of Oslo, and is organised on four floors: lobby on the first floor, conference hall on the second floor and café and roof terrace on the third floor. The cloakroom, toilets and technical rooms are located in the basement. The rear building of an existing townhouse contains, among other things, a fire escape, storeroom and kitchen. The main focus of the project has been to create a building that is both energy- and environmentally friendly. This has resulted in a low-energy building with energy consumption estimated at only 80 kWh/sq.m. per year, achieved by a combination of the choice of materials and efficient energy solutions: ten energy wells, a heat pump and cast-in water pipes in floor decks and in the main staircase. The additional cost of the energy wells and the heat pump has a payback period of three to five years. In addition to this, LED lighting has been used, which has a long lifetime and low energy consumption. The decoration of the main façade functions as sun screen and further improves the energy efficiency.

The main approach has been to create an interplay between a large conference hall and integrated art in the façade, symbolising the central role of the client organisation in education and training. The building is adapted to the heights and the roof lines of the neighbouring buildings on both sides. The building has light from both sides on all floors, and the café is set back to secure the daylight and openness towards the surrounding courtyards. A gently rising main staircase begins in the lobby and runs parallel to the glass façade. The risers are low and the steps deep to encourage slow movement. There are two coffee bars on the landings, inviting people to use the staircase as a vertical lobby. The main materials are light in-situ concrete combined with glass façades facing the conference hall, the street and the rear courtyard. The street façade is supported by continuous vertical glass fins. Integrated artwork, developed in close cooperation with the artists, gives the building a unique and personal expression.