The architectural strategy in Stavanger describes four principles


GUEST COMMENT: A newly renovated architectural strategy will describe Stavanger municipality’s expectations for buildings and urban spaces.

Spilder brygge: Every new building is a contribution to the city’s identity. They should contribute to an improvement of the area, provide qualities of experience and ensure connection with the surrounding city. Photo: Illustration: Architect’s Room/URD
  • Henrik Lundberg
    Henrik Lundberg

    City architect, Stavanger

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Less than 10 minutes ago

  • Stavanger municipality’s proposed, newly renovated architectural strategy describes the municipality’s expectations for buildings and urban spaces, after certain buildings and outdoor spaces are seen as “out of place” and poorly adapted.
  • The architecture strategy, through the design of buildings and urban spaces, should be a guide for meeting challenges such as the aging population, growing social differences and the climate crisis.
  • Four principles – responsible, humane, holistic and distinctive architecture – are the basis for delivering buildings and urban spaces with low energy requirements, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, open and inviting spaces, as well as continuity and beauty.
  • The strategy, proposed to be called ‘Plan A’, is based on the community part of the municipal plan and the UN’s sustainability goals, and it is expected to strengthen cooperation between actors and provide smoother processes.

This is a comment. Commentaries are written by Aftenbladet’s commentators, editors and guest commentators, and express their own opinions and analyses.

The city is experienced by everyone. Therefore, what is built must have good aesthetic qualities and the necessary properties needed to become a lasting and positive contribution to the city.

Architecture means a lot to a city’s identity – also in Stavanger. Buildings and outdoor spaces are shaped by history, and innovations tell about the present. Architecture influences people’s everyday lives by providing opportunities and offering limitations. “We shape our buildings, then they shape us”, is a formulation that still has validity.

And because properties of architecture have such an effect, architecture can also be a tool that can contribute to solving important societal challenges.


We are facing a wave of elderly people, the glue in society is also being challenged by growing differences, and loneliness is becoming a public health problem. It sets requirements for the design of housing and the city’s spaces. The climate and nature crisis places increasingly strict demands on what is built. Therefore, there is a need for increased awareness of location and design.

Placeless and poorly adapted buildings are being built, with few qualities of experience, without connections to the surroundings. Therefore, the architecture must become local and provide better connections. Each new building is a contribution to the city’s identity. If the building is not an improvement, it erodes the city’s identity.

The design of buildings and outdoor spaces plays an important role in all these challenges. The revised architecture strategy is to be both a guide in how the projects can respond to the challenges and a tool for assessing goal achievement.

Better urban development

The architecture strategy describes four principles:

  • Responsible: The architecture must become more responsible through a low energy demand, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and by taking nature and green qualities into account. Buildings and materials must be reused, and the design must ensure adaptability for the future.
  • Human: Buildings and urban spaces must be human by providing qualities of experience with open, inviting rooms on the ground floor. Sharing and sharing creates belonging. Buildings and urban spaces should be designed in co-creation with users and neighbours.
  • Overall: Placelessness must be counteracted by the design of buildings overall, based on a unifying architectural idea that carries form and function and ensures coherence with the surrounding city. The landscape is an important resource. Therefore, the spaces should be drawn before the buildings.
  • Distinctive: Beautiful and innovative architecture will strengthen Stavanger’s identity and attractiveness. It must be distinctive. Therefore, they must mean an improvement in an area. This means respecting scale and character by ensuring good transitions, understanding uniqueness and using history as a resource.

Plan A

The architectural strategy is based on the challenge picture in the municipal plan’s community section, and has the UN’s sustainability goals at the bottom. The name suggested is Plan A. It should convey that these are the municipality’s expectations, and that one does not start with backup solutions. The A naturally also stands for architecture.

The city’s developers are both builders and residents, the municipality’s urban development department and politicians. We share the same overarching goals, but often have different perceptions of what these goals entail and how they can be achieved. Through the use of Plan A can we find solutions that safeguard common values. It can strengthen cooperation between the actors and provide smoother processes.

If buildings and outdoor spaces are designed in line with the principles in Plan Ait can produce positive decisions more quickly.

Mølleneset: New homes and business replace businesses that are on their way out. The new urban areas must have characteristics that make them a positive addition to the city.
Mølleneset: New homes and business replace businesses that are on their way out. The new urban areas must have characteristics that make them a positive addition to the city. Photo: Illustration: Helen & Hard

Dialog tool

In order to develop a well-thought-out project, knowledge of the location is necessary. Through a site analysis, one finds the site’s qualities and important considerations that the project must deal with. The recommendations in the site analysis can be linked to the themes in Plan A, and together they can be a design guide for how the project should be designed. It can ensure that the project safeguards the existing qualities and responds to the challenges that are uncovered.

That way can Plan A become a dialogue tool for the city’s developers that links the assessment of a project’s characteristics to the four themes.


A building must last a long time. It gives reason to think long-term. On the environmental side, increasingly strict requirements will make it profitable to introduce future-oriented solutions. Environmental selection is branding for tenants and buyers, which is important for valuation. The building becomes more robust against society’s changes if it has a clear social profile. And the building is an expression of the values ​​that created it, visible to everyone for a long time.

How these values ​​are expressed in form, materials and colours, contributes to a reputation for several generations.

It is not necessarily the case that the solutions are more expensive because they are well thought out. On the contrary, brainstorming can lead to better solutions, which are both more durable and effective. It costs little to think, it is much more expensive to build badly.


Published: May 6, 2024 1:00 p.m

The article is in Norwegian

Tags: architectural strategy Stavanger describes principles


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