Wesselkvartalet Marziale
© Wienerberger

A melodic architectural recital

architectum edition #34

Wesselkvartalet Marziale
© Wienerberger

Shaping a town centre with organic forms

in Norway

Wesselkvartalet Marziale
© Wienerberger

Product used

Terca Marziale

A melodic architectural recital

The centre of the Norwegian town of Asker is dominated by brick. However, the new Wesselkvartalet residential, office and business centre is an expressive monument created by Vigsnæs+Kosberg++Arkitekter that cannot be compared to any of the surrounding buildings.

When you started planning the neighbourhood, what were your own and the client’s requirements?

Håkan Vigsnæs and Martin Blum-Jansen: We wanted a mixture of shops and restaurants at street level, offices on the first floor and apartments of different sizes. We envisaged a project that fits into the existing townscape, enhancing the freedom of movement of pedestrians and referencing the different heights and characteristics of the surrounding buildings. We also wanted to create a public garden within the new block.

„The brick itself allows and almost demands an organic building contour and varied details in the composition.” - Vigsnæs+Kosberg++Arkitekter.

The buildings have unusual rounded shapes. What was your inspiration?

It was important to us to create a clear architectural language filled with subtle details and surprises. Most notably, the curved lines of various existing buildings in the vicinity influenced the forms we chose. The organic geometry also lightens the look of the rather imposing building complex. And, of course, the material, the brick itself, also softens the form.

On the one hand, Wesselkvartalet is similar to other buildings in the neighbourhood, on the other, it is very different. How did you manage to merge it into the surroundings?

The dominant building material used in Asker town centre is brick. So, the new complex reflects the surrounding architecture in form, material and height. However, it also creates something entirely new. We saw it as being like a sandcastle or adobe castle. Despite its height, size and very charismatic style, we wanted it to form a tranquil backdrop, particularly for the two old wooden buildings in the block.

How did you decide on the different brick structures – e. g., the perforated brick balcony parapets or the horizontal stripes on the façade?

We wanted to create horizontal continuity by using various patterns like the longitudinal stripes and continuing this concept into the balconies. There, we opted for an open lattice structure to allow in more light and give unobstructed views into the living areas. The colour of the windows and metal matches the sandy tone of the bricks, so it blends in rather than creating contrast.

What do you personally like best about the buildings, the materials and the façade?

The brick itself allows and almost demands an organic building contour and varied details in the composition. Bricks are durable. Their appearance varies depending on the weather and light and on whether they are viewed from near or far. Our favourite part of the building is the almost canyon-like exterior space that opens up after you enter the two-storey foyer. This is where the potential of the geometry comes into its own: complex but also simple in a vertical, intimate space.

Wesselkvartalet Marziale
© Wienerberger

As architects, what did you find new and exciting about this project?

It was fascinating to find solutions for our concepts and the detailed features taking the musical architectural language into consideration and to play with the principles of this language, as it were, whilst still remaining within reasonable technical limits. We wanted it to be melodic, not frenetic. 

Wesselkvartalet Marziale
© Wienerberger

Facts & Figures

Project name: Wesselkvartalet, Asker, Norway


Architecture   Vigsnæs+Kosberg++Arkitekter

Client   SV Betong AS

Year of completion   2021

Product used  Terca Marziale

Building type  Apartment Building

Published in  architectum #34

Wesselkvartalet Marziale
© Wienerberger

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