PROFILE

Schjelderup Trondahl Architects

You’ve all seen the pictures of some extraordinary projects in some extraordinary nordic sites. What you probably didn’t know is that Øystein Trondahl and Stian Schjelderup are the main architects behind some of those projects.
Founders of the office Schjelderup Trondahl Arkitekter, they develop an architectural approach based on a thorough and personal process, in a quest for “effective and really good spaces regardless of the environment”, and combining a contemporary thinking with local and small scale suppliers.
We bring you in a few simple questions a closer insight to their work and thinking, and their view of contemporary architecture in the Norwegian context.

Schjelderup Trondahl arkitekter, Norway, architecture, Øystein Trondahl, Stian Schjelderup

Øystein Trondahl (left) and Stian Schjelderup (right)

— Office —

Schjelderup Trondahl arkitekter was founded by Stian Schjelderup and Øystein Trondahl in 2009. Both partners studied at Oslo School of Architecture (AHO) until 2002 and have worked with influential offices, like Jarmund/Vigsnæs AS arkitekter and Knut Hjeltnes arkitekter parallel with their own work.
In 2009 it was time to step up full time. The staff consists now of the 2 partners, 1 employee, 1 intern and 1 freelancer.
Ever since studying, we were certain we would start our own office together. We have always complemented each other professionally and have developed a technique for testing concepts and ideas that has proven to work well for the office.

Schjelderup Trondahl arkitekter, Norway, architecture, Øystein Trondahl, Stian Schjelderup, Kolbeinsvik

Kolbeinsvik © Schjelderup Trondahl arkitekter/client

Schjelderup Trondahl arkitekter, Norway, architecture, Øystein Trondahl, Stian Schjelderup, Kolbeinsvik

Kolbeinsvik © Schjelderup Trondahl arkitekter/client

— Approach —

We only work with clients wishing high quality regardless of how much they want to spend on their house. They need to appreciate a thorough and personal process, and give trust. We don’t do projects, unless it is out of the ordinary, unless we can follow the project until it is “key ready”. Only then you are able to achieve the intentional qualities and architecture that we can professionally vouch for. Until this date, we have completed all houses that have passed on from sketch-project and onwards.

And the key concernes that help define the office identity and approach?
Tailored made houses where ever, for who ever, in every scale and in any budget – as long as it is a certain basic realism and a wish for good architecture.

— Start —

Can you characterize the starting point of every new project? 
Thorough analysis of every single parameter. A time consuming phase before putting anything on paper.

What matters to you as architects that come up every time you approach a project?
Effective and really good spaces regardless of the environment. The project has to solve “the problem” and with all main, architectural qualities already in the first phase.
As soon as the project is presented, the customer tends to have problems leaving the given. On the other hand we have no problems "killing our darlings" in the process and start all over again if that’s necessary to achieve our goal - a good architectural answer to the limits given by our customers.

Is there a concern for a certain identity, or does it come naturally as a result of other factors?
If we have an identity, it's in the details. We really love solving complex architecture with apparently simple and sophisticated detailing. Everyone can stack columns, beams and slabs.
We like cooperative construction and hidden building elements – to cultivate the space without disturbing elements. I guess it is called honesty of space.

Schjelderup Trondahl arkitekter, Norway, architecture, Øystein Trondahl, Stian Schjelderup, Stavern transformation

Stavern transformation © Jonas Adolfsen

Schjelderup Trondahl arkitekter, Norway, architecture, Øystein Trondahl, Stian Schjelderup, Stavern transformation

Stavern transformation © Jonas Adolfsen

Schjelderup Trondahl arkitekter, Norway, architecture, Øystein Trondahl, Stian Schjelderup, Stavern transformation

Stavern transformation © Jonas Adolfsen

Schjelderup Trondahl arkitekter, Norway, architecture, Øystein Trondahl, Stian Schjelderup, Stavern transformation

Stavern transformation © Jonas Adolfsen

— Clients —

What’s the clients importance in your works?
They are essential. We are completely dependent on resistance in all projects and preferably on “the abstract” level – as in how they like to live, how they socialize, how they like to sleep, to eat and to work – more than on what kind of tiles and colours they like.

Do they contribute for a final result or not, and how? 
All the way. We usually present a complete sketch-project with a material description. Our sketch projects are based on the close, initial analytic processes, and the building almost always is a result of the clients feedback and resistance.
The final product is from then on refined through the detailing phase of the project in close dialogue with our clients - all the way until time of ordering the components and building the house.

— Norway —

There are a lot of good Norwegian architects, but it can really be a struggle doing good stuff up here because of very strict building regulations and conservative attitude at the authorities. I guess we can call it anxiety for profession, or maybe only lack of competence.
Norway is also a very cold and wet country which makes detailing, insulation issues and moisture control a major part of the package. Despite this, there are some prime examples on very good architecture from known and lesser known offices around the country. It’s honorable every time someone manages to go “all the way” up here.

What’s the context in which you develop your work?
Of course, architects always love working with scenic sites, and we are no exception.
Unfortunately, they are not very common. We use all qualities, and non-qualities as conceptual resistance in all projects, believing that architecture can add quality in almost any situation if done humbly and with good proportions and detailing.

Schjelderup Trondahl arkitekter, Norway, architecture, Øystein Trondahl, Stian Schjelderup, Holm Massivewood

Holm Massivewood © Schjelderup Trondahl arkitekter

Schjelderup Trondahl arkitekter, Norway, architecture, Øystein Trondahl, Stian Schjelderup, Holm Massivewood

Holm Massivewood © Schjelderup Trondahl arkitekter

Schjelderup Trondahl arkitekter, Norway, architecture, Øystein Trondahl, Stian Schjelderup, Holm Massivewood

Holm Massivewood © Schjelderup Trondahl arkitekter

— Material —

We have no favorite material, but use wood a lot, as any Norwegian architect. It’s mainly because of availability, but it is also a sustainable, carbon balanced choice.
We use selected suppliers, especially for exterior cladding, and try to stay away from the big commercial actors which sell too expensive, medium quality materials.
Our suppliers are mostly small scale and with affection to wood and sustainable foresting.

— Influences —

Architects working conceptually and with clear idioms. We have learn a lot from different offices in Norway, like Jarmund/Vigsnæs AS and Knut Hjeltnes Arkitekter AS e.g.
We get inspired especially by swiss and Japanese architects. They really dare to do clear cut, uncompromised architecture.
Up here in the north, we try to tidy up the spaces we create, but we also add warmth, materiality and tactility to our houses. Norwegians spend a lot of time in their houses, mainly because of the cold, dark and wet seasons.
Houses are very important for Norwegians.

Architectural influences or not, what do you go for when creating something?
It can really be anything, but we try to steer off the direct inspiration from e.g. a wooden stick found on the site – oddly enough ending up as the final project.
That's not about architecture, but more about objectifying. There is a lot of objectifying trends nowadays.
It is superficial, often 2 dimensional and not necessarily about good space.

Schjelderup Trondahl arkitekter, Norway, architecture, Øystein Trondahl, Stian Schjelderup, Holm Massivewood

Summer House © Jonas Adolfsen

Schjelderup Trondahl arkitekter, Norway, architecture, Øystein Trondahl, Stian Schjelderup, Holm Massivewood

Summer House © Jonas Adolfsen

Schjelderup Trondahl arkitekter, Norway, architecture, Øystein Trondahl, Stian Schjelderup, Holm Massivewood

Interior Oslo © Jonas Adolfsen

Schjelderup Trondahl arkitekter, Norway, architecture, Øystein Trondahl, Stian Schjelderup, Holm Massivewood

Interior Oslo © Jonas Adolfsen

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