HRTB architects. Grünerløkka Studenthus

By Helge Høifødt (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Helge Høifødt (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Grünerløkka Student house is part of the large student housing organisation of Oslo, SIO. It is located near the Akerselva river and two minutes away from Oslo school of architecture and design.

Before being renovated as a student house by HRTB architects, this exact place used to be a grain elevator and corn storage that belonged to the Nedre Foss Mill between the 50s and the 90s.

As cities grow, changes have to be done to adapt old unfunctional buildings into new, more needed ones. HRTB developed this student housing proposition in 1993, which the local government approved. The construction work started in 1999, to be finished and opening in 2001 as the student house that we now know. In the end, the conversion of the building cost just under 240 million kroner.

The designers and architects Lykke Frydenlund and Ingrid Løvstad helped in the creation of the interior design and artistic concept of the building. A building with round shaped rooms is great for spreading the natural light around, but is also challenging to furnish. Every room is then rented furnished so that tenants don’t have any problems when moving in.

The gigantic precast concrete building is 19-storeys high, but the main entrance is actually on the 4th because of the inclination of the terrain, with two sides: one that overlooks the road, where the main entrance is located; and the other side overlooking the river, which is anchored 3 floors below.

The silo is composed by 7 rows of 3 round shaped towers linked to each other, comparable to a set of laboratory tubes; and one main rectangular shaped element on one side of it, used for the main shared spaces (such as elevators and hallways).

This shape offers two ways of apprehending the building:  Looking from the other side of the river you can see the construction on its long side, with the 7 round towers, which appear very big from where you stand. Yet, when you arrive at the entrance of the building facing the short side, it looks tiny and narrow. The architectural work offers an interesting perception of the structure and the way it is placed. One of the best parts of this housing complex is obviously the rooftop, which offers a 360° view of Oslo, 54 meters above the ground. Up there, you can enjoy the view during the sunny days, but it quickly becomes a wind playground when fall shows up.