Voksenåsen Conference Hotel, Oslo, Norway
Norway presented Sweden with Voksenåsen on 2 October 1960. Voksenåsen is the nation's gift to Sweden for the help the Norwegians received from the Swedes during the Second World War.
"Sweden's most beautiful view in Norway"
Voksenåsen is a modern course and conference hotel that operates commercially alongside its cultural activities. The hotel lies 500 metres above sea level, giving it far-reaching views of Oslo and the fjord beyond, with its location putting it around 15 kilometres from the centre of Oslo. The Oslo Tramway that runs from the city centre almost all the way to the hotel takes around 35 minutes.
The hotel complex is twice the size it was when it was first built. With a usable floor area of about 7000 square metres, it houses 85 rooms with 125 beds, a restaurant and meeting rooms of various sizes. The maximum capacity for conferences is 180 people. Since its construction in 1960, Voksenåsen has undergone a number of renovations, extensions and modernisations, increasing the total area by several thousand square metres. In 2012, the National Property Board Sweden conducted a major renovation and modernisation of the reception area. The site of around 33,000 square metres includes a large car park, a pool and fitness trails. The hotel is very tastefully furnished and has a beautiful collection of art. The National Property Board Sweden is responsible for and funds the property's maintenance.
Unknown artist won with "Scherzo"
In May 1955 a deed of gift was presented with much ceremony by the Norwegian Prime Minister at the large property up on Voksenkollen. Later that year, an architectural competition was announced for the building.The winning entry, called "Scherzo", was designed by the newly qualified and as yet entirely unknown architects Hans-Kjell Larsen and Terje Thorstensen. To ensure the success of the project, the construction committee had them work with a more experienced architect, Marius Sundt Hansen. Larsen has continued to work on Voksenåsen's extension and development ever since.
1950s Functionalism and natural beauty
The modern and streamlined architecture melts into the natural setting, with its low buildings and grass roof. The chosen materials were Nordic woods, natural stone, copperplate and concrete, with a façade of white-rendered brick. The design was inspired by the architecture of the early 1950s, which in turn has its roots in the Functionalism of the 1930s. The architects wanted the building to be a clear reflection of the times in which the gift was first presented.
Pavilion with cookery school
The Dag Hammarsköld Pavilion – a new addition of around 300 square metres – opened on 8 May 2006. In addition to conference and exhibition rooms, it includes a cookery school called MatTeater Janssons, with a large open kitchen and dining room for up to 22 people. The pavilion also houses the Aniara Astrocentre, with its starry sky, telescope and space organ. Beneath the pavilion lies a welcoming wine cellar, Arkadien, with facilities for dinners and winetasting. There is also a small gallery. The architecture and interiors chime well with the rest of Voksenåsen, with solid materials and a sense of a fluid boundary between the indoor environment and the natural world outside.
A Swedish-Norwegian art collection
Norway's gift to Sweden included a collection of Norwegian art that forms the backbone of today's large collection. The Public Art Agency Sweden has also donated a wide range of works to Voksenåsen. The current collection of several hundred paintings, prints, textiles and sculptures has either been donated to or purchased by Voksenåsen.
Modern Scandinavian interiors
The hotel's interiors are beautifully balanced against the architecture, nature and art. The white-plastered brick walls and the wood and slate floors give a neutral and obliging backdrop. The textiles and colours follow the palette of the surrounding forest: grey mist, purple heather, blueberries and bright red lingonberries. This proves highly effective, since the boundary between inside and out is made diffuse by the large areas of glazing and numerous windows. The furniture is largely made up of quality Scandinavian pieces in a classic and modern style.