Bjørvika masterplan
and urban spaces

Oslo’s new mixed-use urban district where city and water unite

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Bjørn Ginman

Senior Lead Designer, Project Director, Landscape Architect MAA MDL


Oslo, Norway


Masterplan 18 ha, urban spaces 80,000 m2


2005 — 2023


Bjørvika Infrastruktur, Bjørvika Utvikling, Oslo S Utvikling, Stor-Oslo Eiendom


Lead landscape architect

Partners & Collaborators

Norconsult, Bjørvika Infrastruktur

New neighborhoods are often built according to plans in which public spaces occur as ‘gaps’ between the buildings. In Bjørvika Harbor, the planning is happening the other way around.

As master planner and lead landscape architect, SLA is leading the regeneration of Oslo´s harbor and main waterfront – the largest urban development project in Norway.


In an international competition in 2005, SLA won first prize with a proposal to regenerate Oslo’s old industrial harbor and create a new mixed-use city district. SLA’s landscape-led masterplan reconnects central Oslo with its harbor and creates a new mixed-use district where city and water unite visually and physically.

Anne-Cath. Vestlys Plass

The challenge was to develop a masterplan and landscape design that would connect and promote synergy between the many programs and typologies of the brief: A new state opera, two art museums, a university library, research institutions, retail areas, a new commercial and financial hub, and many new residential units.

To accommodate these demands, SLA designed the masterplan and the individual public spaces as green, fully accessible, and multifunctional ‘allmenninger’ (‘commons’) that would function as the glue and the catalysator between the programs and as the new cultural, social, and commercial meeting places for Oslo.


Each ‘allmenning’ is designed with its own distinctive look and feel according to its social program, its urban context and its functional demands. Thus, the entire site contains public spaces from representative harbor fronts that match Oslo’s world-renowned Opera House and commercial outdoor shopping areas to green neighborhood parks and small plazas that is the homes of community gardens, social activities and informal hang-out spots.


Come explore the fundamentals of our office together with us

fund. 26


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“A tree consists of three parts: Its foliage, its trunk, and its roots. All three parts are important for the aesthetic feeling of nature. But of these three I find the roots most intriguing, most…

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“In the beginning was chaos. While the universe began to expand after Big Bang it also decreased in temperature. It became more and more ordered. With that order, the Universe changed its background colour toward…

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– The Book of Garden

Sakuteki – The Book of Garden is a manual, a textbook for Japanese gardeners in the 11th century. This introduction sounds like this: “In making the garden, you should first understand the overall principles. According…

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fund. 12


Mist is a phenomenon caused by small droplets of water suspended in air. Physically, it is an example of a dispersion. It is most commonly seen where warm, moist air meets sudden cooling, such as…

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Essay: The Bark Room

“Bark is both living and dead, growing and cracking, a shell, a protective layer and an integral part of the wood’s tissue. It’s the bark structure and the way it peels, which separates the different…

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“Sound. The soundtrack of our lives often passes us by without us noticing. But I have begun noticing the poetry of the noises around me. The rhythm and the song of the poet. The calling…

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