As we landed on a remote rural airstrip it became clear that Ryan Air had used the term ‘Oslo’ loosely, but the sun was shining, and as soon as we boarded the train towards the city centre we were surrounded by the immersive Scandinavian design culture we had all come to see.
Oslo is the capital city of Norway, and is nestled between green hills, mountains, and the Oslo Fjord. The city has a maritime heritage and is now a major European centre for trade and shipping.
The studio made the most of our three days in the city with trips to galleries, architecture schools, Viking museums, markets, and some of us even found time to venture out into the countryside to see the buildings of Norway’s most famous architect Sverre Fehn.
For me the architectural highlight of the weekend was a guided tour around the New National Opera house designed by Snohetta. The competition-winning scheme was conceived as an iceberg in the fjord. A carpet of gleaming white marble wraps the structure forming an enclosure as well as a dramatic new public space for the city - not a handrail in sight!
Our tour guide also showed us the inner workings of the building – a grand auditorium wrapped in oak, huge workshops, rehearsal rooms and even toilets designed by Olafur Eliasson!
It was a great building, but with a budget of £500m (15 Corby Cubes) you would expect something a bit special!