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Along with Wimbledon and the Wembley Arena, this remarkable piece of engineering is one of the most visited sport facilities in the world and, at the same time, an astonishing piece of architecture which has become an icon for Oslo.
The architects, Julian De Smedt are among the few who have attempted to approach the world of snow sports in an estethical manner. This is what they stated about the concept of this project: “When we addressed the issue of ski jumping one thing became immediately obvious: the building will have to frame the discipline but not overwhelm it – to celebrate the sport rather than celebrate the architecture. But it should also be a spectacle for the entire city and by doing so extending the tradition of Holmenkollen as the symbol of Oslo as well as a place where the city is celebrated and embraced. A place to see Oslo.”
Now, when you think of ski jumps you think of engineering, sports and Winter Olympics but not at all of architecture. Being built on the same place were the old ski jump had been placed, this new project was designed to unify various requirements into one single piece of architecture. The space of the jump therefore contains the judges booths, the commentators, the fans, circulations, lobby, the arena itself and many other functions. The designers have achieved more than just a very simple and practical building. They have also managed to bring clear focus to the skiers jumping. On the top of the ski jump is a platform which offers a perfect vantage point for the city of Oslo, the fjord and a wonderful, unique perspective of the landscape. The cantilever rises 58 meters in the air and it is 69 meter long. It is definitely an intriguing architectural project. However, the engineering behind is to be taken into consideration and admired too. The construction involved the building of an artificial hill, big enough to sustain the whole structure. The steepest part of the landing slope is 35.7 degrees, which measures 105.6 meters. The in-run is made out of steel and the grandstands out of steel and concrete. It is the only hill in the world tooled with a permanent wind screen and the only steel jump ever made. This remarkable piece of engineering is also a very good example of how far science has got and that man-made structures have almost no limits. We can shape our activities in any way we like and replace imperfect natural elements.
It is nevertheless an engineering project where the design is less important but by making it a top priority the construction team have achieved an outstanding project where design and function meet in the middle creating a perfect balance. What do you think about it?
Photo courtesy to Marco Boella and Iwan Baan
Architect: Julian De Smedt
Project: ski jump, stadium, Retail
Project Team: Aleksandra Kiszkielis, Alex Dent, Alf Lassen Nielsen, Andrea Weisser, Carlos Cabrera, Derrick Lai, Dries Rodet, Edna Lueddecke, Elina Manninen, Erik Olav Marstein, Felix Luong, Filip Lipinsky, Gunnar Hoess, Ieva Maknickaite, James McBennett, Johanna Kliment, Joue Gillet, Kristoffer Harling, Liz Kelzey, Magda Kusowska, Marco Boella, Michaela Weisskirchner, Pauline Parcollet, Robert Huebser, Tineke Vanduffel, Torkel Njå, Wolfgang Mitterer, Wouter Dons
Size: 32.000 m2
Location: Norway, Oslo
Budget: 73.000.000 EUR
Client: Oslo Municipality
Team : JDS, Norconsult, Grindaker, Metallplan
Status : Completion 2011