St. Sunniva school is a 1-10 school situated in the downtown of Oslo city centre. Its outdoors areas for the 600 students are marginal, but well sheltered from traffic and noise.  In the old days the school was run by nuns that used parts of the yard for horticulture, but later all areas were paved to increase the amount of area for play.


Completed 2015-2016


St. Sunniva School

Project group:

Ghilardi+Hellsten Arkitekter and SPOL Architects


Oslo, Norway


1.000 m²


Public space, urban park


Ghilardi+Hellsten Arkitekter and SPOL Architects


The project was to retrofit the inner yard of the school to improve the use of the space.  The point of departure was a space which upper and lower levels were separated by a fence and the sunniest areas were occupied by an old garage building. The upgrade was to be solved within a tight budget including “parent-architect” voluntary design work and the reuse and integration of historical elements.


The project connects the upper and lower levels through a new wooden stair, which provides seating for students in everyday school life and serves as an amphitheater for various school events. At the same time, the historic stone wall with its corner post and weathercock is integrated and highlighted. A sunken bed for a fruit tree, and new wood benches, were  embedded on the upper level. 


The old garage building was torn down and replaced with a wooden deck with table tennis and a long bench in the sunny spot for spectators. More protected, quiet zones, were created along new plant beds around the existing trees, framed by new benches and reused historical wrought iron fences.

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