Oslo International School, Norway

Oslo International School, Norway

Pavilion with colored stripes

The architects from the well-known Norwegian architectural company Jarmund/Vigsnæs were in the process to renovate and extend a school from the 1960s. They finished the three-phaseschedule in the form of an elegant Swisspearl-clad pavilion.

Mirko Beetschen Oslo International School (OIS) is a prestigious English school in Bekkestua, a suburb of Oslo, educating about 570 children from more than 50 nations between ages 3 and 18. The education is based on a traditional use of classrooms, combined with special rooms and buildings for advanced studies. The facilities from the 1960s underwent a thorough renovation and several new extensions were built, as the school was in great need of additional learning space and had been teaching within provisional containers for several years. In collaboration with the famous Jarmund/Vigsnæs architects, the school developed a three-phase-plan which allowed the teaching process to continue during the whole of the building process.
“The existing structure from the 1960s was worn out”, Einar Jarmund, Alessandra Kosberg and Håkon Vigsnæs from Jarmund/Vigsnæs explain, “but it possessed obvious architectural qualities. The organisation on one level only, for instance, allows for easy orientation, good natural lighting and close contact with the outdoors.” In addition, the old modular structure allowed for a maximum of flexibility, a feature the architects transferred into their own work. The new buildings were to be added, respecting the original organisation and preserving the existing qualities. Phase one saw the building of a new science pavilion, a new main entrance, lobby, and library as well as the renovation of the main building. Phase two adds another large pavilion for the smaller children. In phase three a new gym, a music room, and a brand new auditorium/theatre were erected.

©Ivan Brodey, Oslo, Norway

The Architecture is developed as a new vocabulary of soft and organic forms, softening the dense spatial relationships between new and old parts.

Jarmund/Vigsnæs architects

©Ivan Brodey, Oslo, Norway

The pavilion of phase two replaces a large part of the temporary buildings that littered the school grounds. Its impressive 1250 square meters house ten additional classrooms and a whole row of offices, all arranged around a central corridor that runs round an organically shaped atrium at the heart of the building. The sizes of the rooms are flexible and may be changed according to the number of children in each year.
The most striking feature of the one-storey building, however, is its outer wall. All round the pavilion, vertical floor-to-ceiling windows alternate with colored Swisspearl panels in ten different colors and in varied order. To avoid the pitfall of cheapness often created by “colorful” architecture, the architects opted for black metal window frames and black eaves that give the colored fiber cement panels a suitable frame. The cheerfulness of this new building not only delights the younger children, whose classrooms it houses, but also perfectly suits the original architecture of the 1960s, whose optimism, experimentation with new forms, and delight in colors it takes up. The colors, by the way, represent the colors of the national flags of the school’s pupils.

©Ivan Brodey, Oslo, Norway



Oslo International School


Gamle Ringeriksvei 53, Bekkestua, Norway


Oslo International School, Norway


Jarmund/Vigsnæs architects, Oslo, Norway


Ivan Brodey, Oslo, Norway


Building period
2006 – 2009


Façade construction
Oslo Byggen treprenør AS, Oslo, Norway


Façade material
Swisspearl Carat in ten different colors


PDF project sheet
Click here to download the project sheet

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