Villa Stenersen: a place to experience the past

a

While walking along Tuengen Allé in Oslo you have the impression that you are in an ordinary Norwegian suburban residential area with nice wooden houses surrounded by gardens. You have that impression until you see a monumental white concrete and glass rectangle shape standing out from all the others nearby: it is Villa Stenersen. Immediately your attention is drawn by the blue glass cladding of the third floor and the orange awnings, then you feel astonished when you realize that the facade is broken up with full windows on the ground floor and with glass building blocks in the second one.


plan 1

 first floor plan

b

After you have gone through the cylindrical entrance door you can instantly feel the same atmosphere that the guests surely could experience in the past, when Rolf Stenersen and his family lived  there. It was not only their residence but also a framework for Stenersen’s extensive modern and contemporary art collection.

Regarded as one of the major works of Norwegian functionalism, when you are inside you really get  the feeling you are in a domestic place. In the living room the circular fireplace, a piano, a bar and the modern functional furniture make you easily imagine how this place would have been during the many parties that the family was used to organize there.


plan 2

 second floor plan

c

The beating heart of the house is in the second floor: it is the gallery hall. That is the place reserved for Stensen’s collection of Munch pictures which consisted mostly of the early works of the artist. Today the room is completely different compared to the original one but you can still sit down on a sofa, admiring such an amazing and unknown Munch painting – even if it is a copy – and look upon the full windows enjoying the view of the city and the fjord.


plan 3

third floor plan

d

Walking  up the stairs to the third floor you can go to a more private sphere of the house: it  seems to be a climax which culminates on the ceiling over the staircase. It consists of 625 circular pieces of cobalt, violet and bright blue glass and it makes the atmosphere fascinating.

Since the house was given to the state by Rolf Stenersen in 1971, it’s not a residential building anymore. Nowadays it is used for meetings, conferences and seminars in architecture and design fields and it conserves the same value and spirit wished by the architect Arne Korsmo when he planned it in 1937.