Town center development in Harestua


Site development, resident, commercial, offices




Sketchproject, detail design project, implementation


Harestua, Norway

Contact persons:

Bjarni Árnason, Alf Felberg


Sagparken Utvikling AS /


140 250 m²

The concept consists of several divided mass-timber volumes, varying in height and character, which together with a commercial base form a car-free square, a new hub, and an important meeting place for Harestua.

Sawmill Park Center is rooted in the site’s history. With a former sawmill site, it was natural for the architect, in collaboration with the developer, to work extensively with wood, both in construction and character, to retain the history and character of the place.

The project is divided into 4 phases, with phase 1 completed in 2020 and phases 2-3 expected to be finished by 2022. Phase 4 will then complete the square in the north. Together, they contain approximately 80 apartments, two office blocks, several commercial areas, and a large grocery store. Together with the Care Center in the south, this creates a vibrant mix of functions that ensure a lively neighborhood.

Life between the buildings
By dividing the buildings into several different and smaller volumes, the landscape is drawn in, and the silhouette of the forest/mountains in the background is preserved between the houses. The character of the place is thus brought into the square, where the three volumes become part of the forest again. At the same time, the homes have contact with the square, with balconies facing west and “million-dollar views” of Harestua lake and the mountain peaks to the west. The sun moves between the volumes, into important outdoor areas and onto the square at different times of the day.

One of the most important elements of the project is the square; the city’s meeting place and heart. The square, as a common feature for the city, will consist of, among other things, a water element, a stage, seating areas, and playground equipment, where locals and shoppers meet. A place where various activities can unfold, formal and informal, small and large. With outward-facing and active facades, the square will become an attractive meeting place for market stalls, fairs, cultural events, and social gatherings. With a new pedestrian and bicycle axis running through the hub, the project connects Harestua Nord and Sør together, providing safe access to the area.

Local and Norwegian timber! Sustainability is a key element of the project, with a strong focus on materiality, history, and social sustainability. Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is a building material that sequesters more CO2 than is emitted during its production. Wood absorbs CO2 during its growth phase, sequesters CO2 throughout its lifespan, and does not release more CO2 upon decomposition than it absorbed during the forest growth. Therefore, wood is a renewable resource that is sustainable throughout its lifecycle. Additionally, CLT provides architectural quality and character while also offering a healthy indoor climate for the residences.

Overall, the project is significant for social sustainability, creating a new meeting place and mixing functions and workplaces to ensure vibrant city life. It encourages people to shop and work locally, supporting the growth of smaller cities in Norway.

Maintenance-free. The volumes are clad with Thermowood, which naturally weathers over time and requires no maintenance. Concrete sandwich elements are robust materials that can endure for many years without alteration. Reused stone and aggregates in the concrete facade provide a lively character, with the commercial base contrasting with the timber volumes.



Covered walkways as a quality feature. Phase 1 of the development includes a large grocery store on the ground floor, which presents challenges for access to the residential volumes on top. Instead of creating a typical covered walkway building, which often results in a negative experience, the project reimagines it as a positive feature—an extension of the apartments. The covered walkway is pulled away from the facade and gathers the volume. Larger openings in the covered walkway extend all the way down to the terrace, ensuring good daylight conditions and increased visual contact while also creating a private buffer against the walkway’s pedestrian area.

The private space formed in front of the apartments is utilized as an additional terrace facing east, where one can enjoy morning coffee in the sunshine, look down at the square, and greet passing neighbors. It’s a positive experience, providing privacy while also enhancing social community living. Visible wooden beams and solid wood contribute to a cozy and warm atmosphere in the room. Towards the west of each apartment, there is a larger balcony, a terrace facing the evening sun, offering an untouched panoramic view over Harestua Lake and the mountains.

Alle leilighetene har panaromautsikt mot naturen i vest