Earlier dead-end Schandorff Street in the centre of Oslo is converted from a car parking lot to an urban green space, Schandorff Square, adding up to an existing green structure through an old cemetery in the east. The square was privately financed by developer Høegh Eiendom AS and completed in 2009 when it was donated to the municipality.
The square is surrounded by well-known motives of Oslo: The Trinity Church in the south, and the Deichman Library’s pompous pillars in the east. The falling street Keysersgate opens a sight line from the west.
The square creates an important slope of 7 meters height difference between the two streets, making it a challenge for accessibility design to cross the square without steps. This has resulted in a curving/slendering walkway that crosses from the lower to the higher street with a slope of a maximum 6,5 %, with regular resting plateaus. The walkway has become an essential and dominating feature for the square and is therefore given a sculptural design that characterizes the area positively. Promenading, moving from lower to higher has become an important way of experiencing green space. Along the ramp, small plazas and vegetated surfaces meet in a finger-woven pattern. The old existing sculpture of the Apostle of Greenland, Hans Egede, has finally got rid of surrounding parked cars and can now rest calmly in a decent green setting.
The intended design has been to create a central urban green space with simple but sober means. The walkway’s body – surface and retaining walls – are made of concrete cast in situ. The small plazas are covered with light grey granite paving, resting on walls made of Cor tén steel, creating an overall warm tone.
The lawn contributes to a peaceful neighbourship to the Trinity church. Two large trees are carefully preserved through the construction period, and created together with mass plantings of flowering iris, catnip, lavender and lady’s mantle to a lush and beautiful effect, mainly in blue through the season. A planted cherry grove with white spring blooming will soon contribute to a healthy and good urban environment in a dense area.
The office has also prepared a sketch of the neighbouring Trinity Church setting. Hopefully, the plans will soon be realized, and contribute to an accomplished area.
Landscape architect: Østengen & Bergo AS
Location: Akersgata 64-68 Oslo, Norway
Commissioned by: Höegh Eiendom AS
Design year: 2007-2009
Year of construction: 2009
Area: 2500 m2