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Sæter Terrasse
Architects: A-lab
Year: 2017
Area: 6500m²
Location: Ekebergveien 226, 1162 Oslo, Norge

Sæterkrysset stood out as a natural choice for densification following the municipal densification initiatives from 2004 and on. A-lab was hired by Solon Eiendom AS in 2012 to develop two plots of a total of 3300 m2 that were located in the transition zone between the residential area and the office buildings around the intersection. Originally, there were two single-family homes on these lots, and the challenge was to replace these with a modest apartment building that would not tower over the surrounding terrain. The regulation work revealed issues in terms of noise, daylight conditions and outdoor areas. The building design would be the key to solve these issues.

The desire was to dismantle the volume of the building in order to scale down its look and presence. Receding and protruding vertical layers create a cubistic variation in the façade facing Nordstrandveien to the west. Each apartment has a private balcony with a westward view. The balconies are not placed onto the façade, but rather cut out of the main volume, further preventing the living rooms to be visible from the outside. 

The plot has an elevation drop of almost eight meters from north to south, which meant that the business section, the garage and the bicycle parking could be placed below ground. As a result, the vertical impact of the building is no more than two stories from the ground up to the north and four stories to their neighbors in the east. Its full five-story height is only visible from the office buildings to the south.

«The 34 apartments in Sæter terrasse have received unusually good daylight conditions. Daylight conditions mean everything when you are designing apartments, and that is a responsibility we architects must take seriously,» architect Erik Olav Marstein says. The plot is located on the Nordstrand plateau around 140 meters above sea level. The buildings is west-facing and has a view of the Oslofjord. Each apartment has its own balcony. The majority of the apartments are double aspect apartments with the sunlight coming in from two or three sides. A spacious open kitchen and living room with floor to ceiling glass sliding doors that let the sunlight through, is placed on the front side. 

The apartments on the top floor have their own roof terraces in addition to the west-facing balconies. Private staircases lead up to the roof and leaves room for personal furnishing. A green sedum roofing is put in between the three roof terraces to provide lushness as well as surface water management.

Photos by Ivan Brodey