Project TeamKristin Jarmund, Graeme Ferguson
Text description provided by the architects. The Norwegian Embassy was formed as a freestanding building in the garden of an older villa which housed the Norwegian Embassy. After completion of the new embassy, the villa was demolished to make way for the new residence. The embassy was completed in 2008 and the residence in 2012.The property size is roughly 5000m2.
The Norwegian Embassy is built on a sloping site towards the north,overlooks the Kathmandu valley, and on clear days has spectacular views of the Himalaya mountain range. The building itself is integrated into the tilted landscape, allowing plateaus of outdoor space to extend into the building.The site is surrounded by high walls with neighbouring buildings built right up to the property.
The new residence sits directly behind and above the Embassy on an elevated plateau.The main form of the residence is a precise cube with an open atrium as a central element and a lower wing integrated as part of the “garden” wall.The building form creates a rigid structure to withstand earthquakes and at the same time refers to traditional Nepalese building typology.
A series of three clearly defined outdoor spacesalong the central axis of the site connect the Residence and Embassy buildings together. - the main entrance square/courtyard to the south. - the central garden, enclosed by the building itself. - the north facing terrace, which creates and addresses itself to the adjacent garden at the embassy.
Due to security restrictions the spaces and rooms within the building are oriented with their “backs” to neighbouring properties and the road adjacent to the site. They are draped around and open up to the atrium and towards the embassy. The representational and service functions of the residence are located on the ground floor while the Ambassadors private apartment is located on the first floor.
A partially covered terrace towards the north is intended as private outdoor space for the Ambassadors apartment. The terrace opens up towards the atrium and to the north thus allowing for both sunlight in the daytime and views to the Himalayas. Staff quarters and service facilities are located along the perimeter wall and are closed off towards the entrance area. Similarlocally available materials were used in both the embassy and residence.
Nepal is one of the world’s poorest countries. Supply of materials, labour and equipment was often in shortage during the construction process. In addition, there was considerable political unrest during the construction of the embassy. Norwegian consultants worked on the project up to the preliminary design phase. The detail project and subsequent workings drawings were done by local consultants in collaboration with Kristin Jarmund Arkitekter AS. A local contractor with Nepalese workerswas used for the construction. The projectsare“ Hand made in Nepal”.