“New” Olav Kyrres Gate 22 symbolizes a new age


“New” Olav Kyrres Gate 22 symbolizes a new age

When Olav Kyrres Gate 22 was in need of renovation there was a clear desire to do this sympathetically. Some parts of the building had to be preserved, while new elements such as a glazed facade would enhance the project. The result was a more open and welcoming space that also reflects a lot of history. Sapa supplied the glazed roof and facade for the project through the fabricator, Time Aluminium AS.

Bergen, or “The Heart of the Fjords” as the city is also known, is the second-largest city in Norway. Despite this, many people describe the city as having the charm of a small town. With its houses that cling to the mountainsides, narrow cobbled streets and its many sights, it is not hard to understand why the city is loved by so many.

Right in the heart of Bergen stands Olav Kyrres Gate 22, or OK22. The building was constructed in the post-modern style and mainly houses offices and shops. OK22 makes up a large part of the block, and when the time came to renovate the building its environmental performance was seen as high priority.

Celia Glanfield is an architect at Mad Arkitekter and tells us that the renovation of Olav Kyrres Gate 22 was an exciting project that required them to find the right balance between the building, the block in which it stands, and the city – between new and old.

“This building originally dates from the 1980s and represents an age associated with a style of architecture that has been widely debated recently. I saw it as an interesting challenge, as it forced us to think differently,” says Celia.

She is referring to the fact that similar buildings are often demolished because they may be seen as outmoded, and are consequently replaced with something newer and more modern.

“But we chose a different approach with OK22 because we see the building and its originality as part of our cultural heritage. It represents the age when it was built, and this makes it part of the city’s history.”

The result was a fusion of the new and the existing that has resulted in what is now the “new” Olav Kyrres Gate 22.

“We have preserved unique site-specific elements, such as the geometric shapes in the floor surfaces, windows and walls. They tell a story about the building,” explains Celia.

But converting a building in this way is not all a bed of roses, she adds.

“The thing that makes projects that involve remodelling and re-use especially challenging is that you have to work with rules and regulations that are intended for new buildings. These entail higher standards of sound insulation, emissions and so on. At the same time you are working with structures that were designed for historic standards of building and living.”

Nevertheless it was exactly these challenges that Celia Glanfield enjoyed most on this particular project.

“It meant that we really needed to immerse ourselves in the aesthetic and technical rules of an historic era, and then combine them with future demands in a way that respected both ages.

Today, the “new” Olav Kyrres Gate 22 is still a place where many people come to meet and work. The renovation means that the building has now been adapted to provide modern office space and interface more effectively with the city and the street outside. At the entrance you are greeted by a large glazed facade that warmly welcomes you into the building.

“I feel we have succeeded in preserving the individual identity of the building and at the same time re-using as much as possible of the original. There is no clear separation between what is new and what is old – we achieved exactly the balance we wanted,” concludes Celia Glanfield.

Sapa products: Sapa 5050 roof glazing and Sapa 4150 glazed facade.
Sapa fabricator: Time Aluminium AS
Architect: Mad Arkitekter
Photo: Adam Stirling