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New Norwegian embassy building. The student project has caught the attention of diplomats

Dobrawa Bies
20 of January '23

{tag:studenci} from the Faculty of Architecture and Fine Arts at the Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow Academy, fascinated by Norway, decided to design the new building of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Warsaw. He enriched his project inspired by Scandinavian minimalism and nature with a consulate and a Foreign Education Center. The ambassador of Norway himself, Anders H. Eide , was interested in the work and invited the author to a meeting in Warsaw.

The presented work entitled. „Project of the New Embassy of the Kingdom of Norway with the Consulate and the Center for Foreign Education in Warsaw” was created as an engineering diploma under the supervision of Prof. nadzw. Krzysztof Ingarden and Piotr Urbanowicz.

Elewacja ambasady pokryta jest łupkiem kamiennym

The facade of the embassy is covered with stone slate

© Piotr Blicharz

The goal accompanying me from the very beginning of my design work was to find a compromise between a building that is adequately secured and an object that is open to the urban agglomeration and the public, eager to learn about the culture and richness of the country it represents. Analyzing the topic of embassies brought me to create a concept that would break the stereotypes of closed buildings, surrounded by a high wall, protected so well that only a few can enter its premises. For the most part, these are precisely the buildings that are difficult to access due to extraterritoriality or assessed threat level. However, the building of a diplomatic mission is supposed to represent and look after the interests of the represented country. That's why I tried to respond to the thesis I put forward, „The idea of shaping the image of the Kingdom of Norway through Architecture,” precisely through this project. — explains Piotr Blicharz.

In the implementation of the thesis, the promoters were helpful, as well as the book by Prof. Artur Jasinski „Architecture in Times of Terrorism. City — public space — building”. The author also drew inspiration from the building of the Embassy of the Scandinavian Countries in Berlin. It was this building that prompted him to expand the embassy's functions to include a Foreign Education Center.

Projekt nowej Ambasady Królestwa Norwegii w Warszawie, sytuacja

Project of the new Royal Norwegian Embassy in Warsaw, situation

© Piotr Blicharz

new embassy building

The embassyproposed by Piotr Blicharz would be built on Kawalerii Street in Warsaw, adjacent to the Embassy of South Korea and the Embassy of Japan. Its massing is simple, in line with Scandinavian minimalism and respect for nature, and the facade made of stone slate and green roofs attract attention. The author also saved the trees growing on the plot, moving them to the designed courtyard. In addition to the embassy, the site includes a consulate, and the qualities of openness and accessibility are represented by the Education Center.

I enriched the embassy'sglass fac ade with unevenly spaced vertical wooden elements, imitating the arrangement of trees. Such a treatment simultaneously hides some of the parts of the building. These elementswere painted in four colors: green — symbolizing nature, brown — wood, red and yellow — traditional Norwegian colors, the author explains.

Widok na Centrum Edukacji Zagranicznej i konsulat

A view of the Foreign Education Center and the consulate

© Piotr Blicharz

The front wall also features a coat of arms illuminated at night, as well as an inscription cut using a water jet. The aforementioned stone facade was made of Sogndal slate, which is mined in one of the prettiest areas of Norway, located by the Jostedelsbreen National Park. Also, the internal road from the entrance gate to the representative entrance, as well as the internal road leading to the underground garage and the catering area, was made of Norwegian stone slate.

The use of this material in the construction of the embassy emphasizes tradition and the value of nature, which is encountered at every turn in Norwegian space, Peter adds.

Rzut poziomu 0 ambasady Rzut poziomu +1 ambasady

plan of levels 0 and +1

© Piotr Blicharz

Level 0 of the embassy consists of properly prepared offices, there is also a conference room, sanitary facilities, a social room or an archive. Access to this part is preceded by the need to pass through one of the external or internal locks. Level 1 is occupied by the office of the ambassador and his deputy, office rooms of senior functionaries, sanitary facilities, a conference room and a terrace. This level is communicated internally with the consular section with rules for granting access to the various areas. Level 2 is the ambassador's suite, a living area for the cipher and guest rooms. There is also a green courtyard on the embassy grounds.

Projekt nowej Ambasady Królestwa Norwegii w Warszawie, elewacje i przekroje

elevations and sections of the embassy

© Piotr Blicharz

anti-terrorist security features

The glass used in the project is high-end laminated bulletproof glass. Meanwhile, the use of glass with a polyester film provides better anti-explosion parameters. The lightweight fence, 2.5 meters high, can easily be retrofitted with perimeter security systems. The entrance to the embassy area is equipped with retractable, anti-terrorist barriers. In addition, a reinforced entrance gate that retracts into the ground provides another barrier. Along the façade of the consulate, the author has placed stones of considerable size, which, in addition to the decorative aspect, act as road safety barriers.

Widok na konsulat i ambasadę

View of the consulate and embassy

© Piotr Blicharz

new consulate

In the east wing of the building, the author proposed a consulate. Its first floor houses the reception and waiting area, placed along the glass facade of the building overlooking the courtyard. Adequate customer service rooms including sanitary facilities have also been provided. The second floor of the consulate includes office space for the consul and administrative staff. A passageway provides access to the embassy grounds and a direct exit to the terrace overlooking the inner courtyard.

This part of the building was designed so that the only way to get to the embassy area, is through the second floor of the consulate. This provides a naturally built, further line of protection from unwanted people, the author adds.

Dziedziniec wewnętrzny mogą wypełniać rzeźby

The inner courtyard can be filled with sculptures

© Piotr Blicharz

Foreign Education Center

The function of promotion and education related to Norway is performed by the Foreign Education Center. The building consists of a large, multi-purpose hall, allowing the organization of artistic performances, exhibitions or meetings accessible to a wider range of people. There is also a cafeteria here. At the entrance to the building, the designer envisaged a multifunctional installation for artistic and educational elements. The concept of the Center allows it to be immediately integrated into the embassies, fully ensuring the integrity of the protected facility.

Prezentacja projektu w ambasadzie, od lewej: Piotr Blicharz i ambasador Anders H. Eide

Presentation of the project at the embassy, from left: Piotr Blicharz and Ambassador Anders H. Eide

photo: archive of Piotr Blicharz

meeting at the Royal Norwegian Embassy

Encouraged by his colleagues, Piotr Blicharz sent his project to the Norwegian Ambassador Anders H. Eide, who , interested in the concept, decided to invite the young architect for a visit and conversation at the embassy. The meeting took place on January 11 this year. Currently, the embassy is located in the Focus office building by Kurylowicz & Associates, with plans to return to the building on Frederic Chopin Street in the future.

I had the honor of meeting the Norwegian ambassador Anders H. Eide and the entire embassy team. It was an amazing adventure to present the idea to the main representative of the country of Norway in Poland. The ambassador and his team were delighted with the idea, as well as with the amount of information gathered during the development of the project. After the presentation of the project, we had an extended chat on topics related to embassy buildings, Norway, Poland and the state of the condition of Polish architecture. As a thank you, I received an extremely interesting book "The Art of Diplomacy" by Kathrine Lund. The meeting was a reward for my work and a valuable experience, where I was able to learn about the functions of the embassy from the inside and present the project in front of such important people in our country. To my surprise, the visit I had will not be my last, as I have already been invited to celebrate Norwegian Constitution Day together on May 17, during which I will have another chance to learn about Norwegian traditions," reports Piotr Blicharz.

Dobrawa Bies

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