SANDNES (NO) - A short distance south of Stavanger lies Sandnes, currently one of the fastest developing cities in Norway. As a symbolic gesture in recognition of its rising urbanity, a few months ago a unique pavilion was completed at a square located in the town's historical area, along its main pedestrian street. According to the French-Norwegian project team of AWP and Atelier Oslo the issue of scale played a major part in the pavilion's conception. The narrow square in which it sits and the surrounding smaller streets contrast with the city's more modern extension toward the harbour, which is wider in scale but understandably lacks a similar agreeable atmosphere. In examining how to re-imagine the public space, the architects 'believed the people of Sandnes deserved a strong, clear but also delicate image of their urban reality: homely but looking at the future.'
Taking the form of a traditional wooden house, the complex, double-grid timber (pine and oak) and steel structure is supported by four groups of columns and enveloped by glass panels mounted in an overlapping pattern, a metaphor for the traditional slate roof. Depending on the weather, light filters in different ways through the pavilion's familiar, sheltering shape, blurring the line between interior and exterior. At night, it glows from within like a welcoming beacon of safety and respite. The motif becomes 'a symbol of the old city scaled up to the new city's dimensions', a thoroughly modern object realized through the venerable tradition of Scandinavian wooden architecture and a landmark for Sandnes.