Norway in a Nutshell

I decided to go from Bergen to Oslo on the “Norway in a Nutshell” tour — for a treat to myself on my birthday. Both Todd and Katie highly recommended it, as well as our ‘friend’ Rick. It was outstanding! Whoa. Norway is absolutely amazing. The trip took about 15 hours all told. From train-bus-boat-train over all kinds of terrain. Definitely worth the journey.


Bergen, Norway

I think that my perception of Scandinavian weather will be a little different than what reality is for most of the year. Today in Bergen it was about 80 degrees with a completely blue sky. I hear it rains a lot here. Not today! It is gorgeous! And this spring and early summer has been incredible. Everyone is out and about basking in the sun — I hear that last summer was pretty rainy, so everyone is really happy to have such warm, sunny weather (including me!).

I took it pretty easy today wandering around the fish market, medieval part of Bergen (Bryggen), and climbed up the hill for a view above the town.

I didn’t get much sleep in Trondheim — I was really curious how much light there would be at 63 degrees N latitude at the beginning of June. Sunset was officially at 11:24 PM and sunrise at 3:10 AM but, the sky never got dark. Not quite midnight sun, but close! Amazing.

Trondheim, Norway

So, I think I’m officially the worst blogger ever! Thanks for your patience. The good news is that I’ve been out enjoying the world rather than in front of my computer writing about it! Soon, I hope that all of the wonderful adventures that I’ve been having soak in. I am so inspired by all that I have seen. I’ve been traveling for about the last month and will be for about the next month. I’m going to TRY to be more consistent about putting up photos. Maybe more on the flickr site than anything. For those, check out the right hand bar where the three photos are and click on “More Photos.”

Katie’s class “body culture in urban space” went on a field trip today to several sites in Copenhagen. It was a bicycle field trip, which added to the fun. There seems to be a lot of emphasis on sports facilities and community centers within the urban center of Copenhagen. I really like the connection between this and the Valle work that I’m doing. It was interesting to talk with her professor from the Danish Royal Academy — His studio does work in sports facilities, schools, and health. I like that combination. For more discussion on that topic, visit my Valle site here. It is also an interesting connection to see these facilities after the work that I’ve done at the daylighting lab and our emphasis on daylit gyms. See more on Katie’s blog here.

*1* Korsgadehallen (BBP Architects, 2006)

The project is based on two main concepts – an indoor and an outdoor concept, that corresponds to a united whole. The indoor concept is to create an indoor ‘village green’ or ‘common’ for different sport and cultural activities. The Centre for Sport and Culture (Korsgadehallen) consists of a large central area with the necessary dimensions for different playing fields, handball, volleyball, badminton etc. This central space is encircled by a sequence of minor spaces with different characters: the open alcove, the balcony, the staircase, the closed dancing hall, the free standing wall bar, the small niche for a break, the glass facade etc. The construction is made of steel beams that are placed at slightly different angles hereby creating an irregularity enhancing the ‘cave concept.’ This irregular space also creates an informal atmosphere and expresses movement and multi-functionality. The keywords are daylight, transparency and flexibility hereby creating a connection between the different activities and users and a connection between indoor and outdoor areas. The outdoor concept is to cover the ‘indoor village green’ with a new landscape – a green hill for activities and recreation. To make this possible the playing field is placed in a level 3.5 m under street level. This new urban landscape – a ‘village green’ lifted 9 m above the street level is enriched by the evening sun 1-2 hours longer than the same area on the street level.”

*2* Multi Square (Morten Wassini/House Arkitekter, 2006)

The Multi Square at the corner of Ravnsborgade and Skt. Hans gade is used for playing, sports and local cultural events. The square is primarily designed for kids and young people, but the vision was to rethink the playground concept by creating an exciting urban space, which can attract other groups of age and interest too. The central element of the square is a playing field for basketball, hockey etc. The field is defined by a steel and wood construction. Along one side spectators can settle down and on the other side a scene gives space for local theatre and music events. The square also offers a ramp-landscape for skateboarding.”

*3*: Sjakket (BIG and JDS Architects, 2007

Sjakket is a rough oasis in the city – a refuge for children and young people, where they are coached by engaged adults, who gives them help and support. The renovation of the former industrial building took place with respect for the existing qualities of the place, emphasizing the rough atmosphere. The renovated building is adapted to suit the activities of Sjakket and other local needs. The complex exists of two curved spaces – the inside was taken out and only the rough concrete walls, columns, bricks and steel curves were left. A long red container is placed on top of the two curved halls.”


I went down to Copenhagen to visit Katie Idziorek — another Valle Scholar, now Scan|Design fellow. She also is just finishing up her Master’s degree (although she is doing 2 Master’s degrees: Urban Planning and Architecture — go Katie!). She was generous enough to host me, lead me on fantastic bike tours (on a new community bike that she purchased) and take me along on two group events. It was really great to be part of a community, see some great architecture, and get to know Katie better. We also really lucked out on some great sunny weather. I think the best of the season so far.

My new camera arrived just in time for me to leave on my next journey. Thank goodness! Thank you to all of you who helped make that happen (Cindy, Joel, Linnea)! I was sweating a little thinking it might not come in time for this trip. I described my method of photography over the last two weeks as “point and pray.” Actually, in Gothenburg, I was able to capture some great moments, but I am really looking forward to actually being able to frame the photographs again. Maybe you’ll notice the quality improvement too!

Here is my celebratory shot. Okay, not a good case for framing — but a good case for celebration.

This is the same view that is at the top of my blog — but now bathed in sunshine rather than snow.

So now I’m off for my next adventure. Copenhagen Denmark, Rotenburg (Wumme) Germany, Bremen Germany, Groningen Netherlands, and Amsterdam Netherlands. Some to visit friends, some to visit buildings, some to visit cities. All to have fun adventures.