Rebuilding the government building complex

The work on rebuilding the Government Building Complex is well underway. The Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation is responsible for the New Government Building Complex project. Statsbygg, The Norwegian Directorate of Public Construction and Property, will be handling the practical execution of the project on behalf of the Ministry.

In September 2018, the Government presented the plans for a new Government Building Complex with a reduced volume. In the new sketch, the new buildings are lower than the zoning plan allows. The plans are for 4700 employees, compared with 5700 in the original plans. Some support functions will be placed outside the complex. The total volume is thus less than previously planned. The Government is preparing incremental and efficient development to reduce the construction costs.

See press realease: An open, safe and green Government Building Complex

Building Stage 1 encompasses the rehabilitation of the High-Rise Block and Møllergata 19, a new D Building and a new A Building, in addition to a basement, protection measures for Ring 1 and area protection. The incremental construction provides the flexibility to adapt the buildings to the actual development in the number of employees.

The intention is to rehabilitate the High-Rise Block first. The Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Justice and Public Security will then be among the first to move back into the Government Building Complex. At the same time, Building D will be built between the High-Rise Block and Møllergata 19, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will move in here.

The Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation will present a proposal for the cost framework for the new Government Building Complex to the Storting in 2019/2020. With the start of construction in 2020, the High-Rise Block, D Building and Møllergata 19 will be ready for occupancy early in 2024.

Idea phase, planning process and architectural competition 2014–2017

In May 2014 the Solberg Government decided that the new government building complex will include the Office of the Prime Minister and all ministries with the exception of the Ministry of Defence. The Norwegian Government Security and Service Organisation (G.S.S.O) will also be based in the new complex. The government wants a concentrated complex to ensure maximum space utilisation within the existing government building complex.

The government building complex will be planned with ambitious environment protection targets and a high degree of energy-efficiency, ensuring that planning is on a par with best practice within eco-friendly construction and outdoor areas are designed with service life in mind, to give economic and cost-effective use of resources.

Security will be a key factor for all aspects of planning the new complex. A general basic level of security will be incorporated into the plans for all ministries, yet all buildings and facilities will be designed to be open and inviting to the public and visitors.

See press release on the government's decision.

As a basis for the Government’s decision on the conceptual solution in May 2014, a so-called concept selection report was performed (presented June 2013) and then subjected to a separate quality assurance process (known as QA1, presented February 2014). The concept selection report and the quality assurance of the choice of concept is part of the so called Quality Assurance Scheme, which the Ministry of Finance has established to ensure that the Government makes its decisions on a fair and rational basis. The aim is that the final choice of concept is the one with the highest economic returns, the best use of public funds. The two reports also consider consequences related to security issues, city environment, heritage and artwork in the existing buildings, flexibility, efficient work places for the ministries, and long-term planning. 

Based on decisions made by the government, in June 2014 The Norwegian Directorate of Public Construction and Property (Statsbygg) was assigned to commence work on the zoning plan.

The planning work for the new government building complex has been carried out as a national zoning plan in accordance with Section 6-4 of the Planning and Building Act, with the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation as the planning authority.

The government has been eager to encourage debate and input in connection with the work on the zoning plan. Therefore, an “idea phase” was conducted in spring 2015 to obtain different proposals for how the new government building complex may take shape in the future. In June 2015, an evaluation committee presented its assessment of the proposals and provided its recommendation for how the government building complex can be designed.

In October 2015, Statsbygg presented its recommendations for urban design principles for the new government building complex. Statsbygg’s recommendation was based on ideas from the idea phase, the evaluation committee's report and other suggestions, including from Oslo municipality and the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage.

Statsbygg’s proposed zoning plan was complete in June 2016. The proposed plan was submitted for consultation and public inspection from 28 June until 31 October 2016. An open meeting was held during the consultation period, as well as separate meetings with stakeholders who will be particularly affected by the planning work. The proposed plan has also been exhibited at Høyblokka.

The Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation approved the zoning plan on 10 February 2017.

In June 2014, Statsbygg was also assigned to prepare a spatial and function programme for the new government building complex. The spatial and function programme involves identifying necessary functions, spaces and areas for the new government building complex to ensure a good, safe and efficient workplace. The employees and employee representatives have been involved in the process, which has taken place over a few years. The spatial and function programme was approved by the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation in March 2017. Together with the zoning plan, the spatial and function programme constitutes the basis for the continued planning and for the planning and design competition.

In February 2017, the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation approved the zoning plan for the new government building complex. Statsbygg was then assigned to hold a planning and design competition (architectural competition) for the new government building complex. There were seven participants in the planning and design competition.

In November 2017, Statsbygg entered into a contract with Team Urbis, the firm that won the architectural competition with their project “Adapt”. Here you will find illustrations of the winning project.

About the demolition of Block Y

When the Government decided on the main concept for the new Government Building Complex in 2014, they also assumed that the High-Rise Block would be preserved, but that Block Y would be demolished. 

The Government will build an open, safe and green Government Building Complex. It should be an area that is pleasant and nice to walk through, with green areas and fine outdoor spaces. The solutions that have been selected make the level of security better than today, while the complex will be more open and accessible.

Block Y must be demolished, because it lies above Ring 1. Ring 1 will be lowered and covered, but this does not change anything for Block Y. In order for the ministerial buildings to be adequately secured, they cannot lie directly over a road with uncontrolled traffic. There are also lateral distance requirements. The new Building A will be erected somewhat further east than where Block Y stands today. The distance from building A to Akersgata will be sufficient so that Akersgata can be used as a public transport route, if necessary.

The decision to preserve the High-Rise Block and demolish Block Y was made on the basis of an overall assessment. Security considerations (object protection) and the possibility to keep Ring 1 open to traffic have weighed heavily. The area where Block Y is located is key to the development of the Government Building Complex in several ways.

The new building on Field A will constitute the new main entrance to the Government Building Complex from Akersgata. Within the same area, space will also be freed up to establish a new park in the Government Building Complex. The park is very important so that the Government Building Complex can be an attractive area for the general public and visitors.

The Ministry adopted the zoning plan in February 2017. The negative consequences of demolishing Block Y have been accounted for in the cultural relics and cultural environment section of the impact assessment. Overall, the consequences of demolishing Block Y are considered to be very large, but the consequences are considered to be less if the integrated works of art can be handled in a way so that the works can in isolation be integrated into the new Government Building Complex.

If Block Y were to be preserved, one would have either had to lower the security ambitions or build a new Government Building Complex in another location.

Four buildings were damaged during the terrorist attack in 2011. The most central building in the Government Building Complex, the High-Rise Building, will be rehabilitated. Great emphasis is placed on the symbolic significance of the Office of the Prime Minister returning to this building.

Block S was demolished in 2015, and R4 will be demolished early in 2019. The Government plans to start demolition of Block Y in the autumn of 2019.

Picasso’s art (The Fishermen and The Seagull) from Block Y will be preserved and integrated into the new Government Building Complex. There will be an expert study to determine where these works of art shall be placed in the new Government Building Complex.

When will the new Government Building Complex be finished?

The Storting is informed about the progress of the work on the government building complex in the annual budget proposals. The Storting will make the final decision on commissioning construction by granting funds. The Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation will submit a separate proposal regarding the matter, according to the plans in 2019/2020. If construction commences in 2020, the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Justice and Public Security can move back into the H Block in 2024. According to the plans the ministries should be in place in the new buildings in 2028. Construction in the area will continue for some time after this.

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