Text description provided by the architects. Sentralen consists of Christiania Sparebank's old bank building from 1899, and an adjacent office building from 1900 (architects Henrik Nissen and Ivar Cock). In 2012 Atelier Oslo and Kima Arkitektur started the work of turning these two buildings into a new cultural hub of Oslo, offering co-working spaces for cultural producers and social innovators.
Both buildings were characterized by several refurbishments in recent decades, and an extensive amount of debris were removed in the beginning of the rebuilding process. Structural changes in the protected facades and interiors was made to make the buildings more inviting and open the former bank buildings to the public. As the original buildings were separate structures, it was important to connect the spaces. As a solution to this, a new entrance was established with a new elevator and an elaborate staircase weaving the two buildings together. A new roof over the old courtyard, creating a new interior square, has become a pivotal point for the users.
User groups with expertise on a variety of themes such as technical solutions, jobs, entertainment, and cultural functions, were working in close collaboration with the architects to ensure optimal functionality. An extensive work analysis of the buildings' condition and opportunities was carried through before developing space and functional program with the client. Finding flexible solutions was emphasized and all spaces are designed for various activities. To ensure this it has been important to add a limited number of new items and keep the spaces as open as possible. The building is planned and built to withstand changes over time.
Many of the old materials - excavated layers of gypsum, carpets, and suspended ceilings - has been kept with its worn or unfinished feel, while other special room has been restored and returned to its original condition. this contrast between the rough and the refined grandeur gives the building a distinctive atmosphere.