The location of the City Fire Station at Festningsallmenningen gives the building great visibility in the urban landscape, which in turn requires high ambitions and demands for quality. The central fire station must thus be considered on a par with other freestanding representative buildings in Bjørvika and Kvadraturen. In line with this, the new fire station must be a house that should not only contain one of the most important urban functions for the downtown area, but also be open and inviting so that the building's daily routines can provide training and added value for residents and visitors.


Open competition 2020


Oslo Municipality

Project group:

Ghilardi+Hellsten Arkitekter


Oslo, Norway


2000 m²


Public building


Ghilardi+Hellsten Arkitekter


From a city plan perspective, we interpret Fortressallmenningen as a supplement or extension of Akershus fortress's green structure through the Military Hospital block, with Myntgata as a possible car-free shortcut between Akershusstranda and Bjørvika. We therefore believe that the remaining development opportunities on plots A1 and A2 should be minimized, so that the green character of the Festningsallmenningens along Myntgata, between the Fortress and Bjørvikas promenade, is fully cultivated.


Preparedness comes from the synergy between crew and equipment, where the combination of these two becomes essential. Our proposal organizes the space program based on the close relationship between rescue equipment, staffing and emergency procedures.


Two rooms
Within the given volume of the competition program, we place two main rooms: carriage house and crew room / waiting room. These rooms are well connected via an atrium that gives users a good visual overview between the main functions. Remaining support functions are organized around these rooms to maximize proximity requirements and internal logistics between the program parts, with as little circulation area as possible. The two-room concept also cultivates a clear relationship between the building and its surroundings, with a carriage hall that opens to Bjørvika and crew rooms that open to Akershus fortress. The design concept clarifies internal organization and at the same time creates a building that is open, transparent and inviting. 


Four fronts and five facades

The four sides of the building function as front facades, where each facade relates to a specific function in line with the building's free-standing position.
Both vertical and sloping surfaces (ceiling) are thought to be made with similar detailing and materiality. The facade concept consists mainly of two principles:
Principle 1 - for truck hall and waiting rooms, is a transparent space-built curtain-wall, which can either be fixed or openable depending on the location and functional requirements.
Principle 2 - covering the remaining volume, including ceilings, is a modular prefabricated system that combines climate walls with necessary windows and doors in a regular pattern of smaller scale. The cladding for Principle 2 is thought to be embossed in acid-proof steel or aluminum with a golden warm color.


Foundation and support system
The diagonal design of the crew compartment is conceived parallel with the tunnel below the ground to facilitate different carrier system principles that can handle constraints associated with foundations.
The support system is intended as a combination of prefabricated elements in solid wood, steel and low-carbon concrete (hybrid system) to reduce the use of all materials, including wood, and minimize overall greenhouse gas emissions.

press to zoom
press to zoom

Energy requirements and indoor climate
The working environment is central to our design approach, where priority is given to daylight, vision, ceiling height and good visual contact between the most important functions.
The starting point for the energy concept is a hybrid (mixed-mode) ventilation system, where top floor lights and glass sections in the main rooms can be opened by intelligent control and combined into an adaptable system. Indoor temperature and comfort are continuously adjusted depending on climate and lighting conditions, such a system can significantly reduce energy consumption and help improve social and health conditions for users. The roof design with its oblique geometry is also intended to be utilized for the integration of solar panels.


Related Projects