The future?: This is the architects’ future vision of Kringsjå.

Norway's biggest student city becomes even larger

Oslo City Council decided on Wednesday to build 1,500 new student apartments on Kringsjå.

The large-scale construction work on Kringsjå starts in the spring. The first student houses will be ready to move into at the start of term autumn 2017. It was decided at the Oslo City Council meeting last Wednesday.

– We want to use the potential for a more vibrant and exciting student city with social meeting places and facilitate outdoor activities, says Trond Bakke, Director of SiO Housing.

To go for a walk around the current student city can be a pretty sad sight. Many have completely covered their window with sheets, blankets and bedspreads. It looks worn and shabby there now.

Maren Malthe Sørenssen, faction leader and council representative from the Conservatives (Høyre)

The houses will be built where there today are parking lots. The exterior part of the construction project will focus on embracing a coherent and modern architecture that will fit in with the old buildings.

Maren Malthe Sørenssen, faction leader and council representative from the Conservatives (Høyre).

Bakke explains that the primary focus is building one room apartments with private kitchen and bathroom. In addition, the walkway from the metro station and the main entrance area to the student village will be upgraded.

– A sad sight

Maren Malte Sørenssen, faction leader and council representative of the Conservative Party (Høyre), has been involved in planning the construction project, adding that it was important to make Kringsjå a more attractive student village so that it won’t just become a place where people want to live, but a place they want be.

Kringsjå is Norway's largest student village and houses approximately 2,500 students.

– Kringsjå has a unique location with the proximity to the forest, the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences as its nearest neighbour and short trip with public transport to downtown, the University of Oslo, Norwegian Business School and Oslo and Akershus University College, says Bakke.

Sørenssen believes that the expansion of the student town also will benefit the environment.

– Fewer people will use a car when the subway is as readily available as Kringsjå. Moving more people there will therefore be a small victory for the environment, she says.

Hopeful: Maren Malthe-Sørensen has walked to the top of one of Kringsjå student blocks. She goes straight to a common living room and opens the windows to get a better view of the red-brown blocks. – It's really quite nice up here, with nature so close by. There are many possibilities, but the buildings that are here now are worn.

Facilitates for families

According to Sørenssen, the building project will increasingly improve conditions for established families. She says that there has previously been strife between students who want to party and families who want peace and quiet. Kringsjå will now offer both.

– 15 percent of the new homes will be couple- or family apartments, and will be on the furthest end of the property, while the other houses will be closer to the subway, she says.

Several social activities

Universitas has previously written about a lacking social environment at Kringsjå. In 2008, the social area and café, Zenith, closed down, due to low visitor numbers and low turnover.

Sørenssen is aware that there has not been any success with cafés in the student village, but believes the social environment will improve after Kringsjå is rebuilt as an open-student centre.

– I think the new student village will be an attractive place for people who are active and use the surrounding area, she says.

Director Trond Bakke agrees. He promises that SiO will facilitate more activity, vibrant outdoor areas and a better student services in the village.

– This autumn we are arranging an open air cinema on Kringsjå and other activities, and the response to this has so far been very good, he says.

Sørensen says that the new construction project will lead to more social meeting places such as cafes and bars.

– This is important to get other students to come here. You shouldn’t have to go downtown to attend events. In the future you might only have to take the metro to Kringsjå, she says.

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