Stavanger kommune

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Stavanger kommune


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Stavanger Municipality

Department of Culture and

Urban Development 2009





Stavanger Municipality

Department of Culture and

Urban Development 2009


This is not a history book, nor is it a catalogue for those with

a special interest in culture, architecture and town planning.

It is a short introduction into how the city has become what

we see today and what it may become in the future.

Many members of the Department of Culture and Urban Development,

and some from other departments in the Stavanger

Municipality, have contributed text and illustrations. Together,

we have made a short presentation of examples from

the city’s physical development and plans for the future. The

examples can be an expression of an era, a mood or a stage

in the continuous development of the city. They may be symbols,

places which have become part of Stavanger’s identity.

In this way we hope to show some of what we feel is special

about Stavanger, both old and new.

The first edition of this book was one of the Department of

Culture and Urban Development’s contributions to Stavanger

as European Capital of Culture 2008 (“Stavanger 2008”). We

hope this translation will be useful and enjoyable for visitors

to the city.

Per Jarle Solheim has written several of the chapters and developed

the manuscript. Egil Bjørøen has been responsible

Vågen seen from Valberget 2008


Vågen seen from Valberget. Photo: C. L. Jacobsen, 1870s

for the layout, design and some of the illustrations. Jorunn

Imsland has provided most of the illustrations and the maps.

Unless specified otherwise, the photographs have been taken

by Siv Egeli. Thommas Bjerga has supervised production

of the book. Brenda Solheim has translated the book into


Department of Culture and Urban Development

Stavanger, 1 June 2009

Halvor S. Karlsen


List of Contents






















City Expansion

Stavanger has developed from a small village round the harbour

and adjacent area (Vågen and Østervåg) in the 12th century

to become the fourth largest city in Norway. The city’s

boundaries have been moved several times to accommodate

population growth and commercial activities.

As the map shows, growth was modest until 1866. The largest

expansion occurred in 1965 when Madla municipality

and parts of Hetland municipality were incorporated into


Vågen seen from Valberget. Photo: C. L. Jacobsen 1869

A Short History of the City

It is not without reason that the slogan for

Stavanger 2008 was Open Port. The harbour

and the sea have always been important.

Vågen (the inner harbour), protected

from the open ocean, was a natural starting Fishing-net sinker

point for a port town. People have lived in

what is now Stavanger as far back as the Stone Age. The first

visible signs of habitation are rock carvings from the Bronze

Age. However, it took a long time from about 1000 B.C.,

when the first carvings were chiselled into the rock at Rudlå,

until Stavanger became an important city.

It is difficult to establish when Stavanger became a town or a

city. Little is known of the period before approximately 1125

when building of the cathedral (Domkirken) started on the

hill between Vågen and Breiavatnet. Stavanger was given to

the church in 1164 and was an important clerical centre in the

Middle Ages. Even though town privileges were awarded in

1425, the population at the beginning of the 16th century was

no more than about 100, the majority of whom were connected

to the church.

Iron age farm, Ullandhaug

Bronze Age rock carvings, Rudlå

In the mid 16th century, there was a large international demand

for timber and export of timber from Ryfylke to continental

Europe laid the foundation for expansion. The first

commercial firms and ship owners were established. Stavanger

became the administrative centre for Stavanger County



in 1568 and was granted a town charter in 1594. By that

stage, the population had increased to 600.

At the beginning of the 19th century, natural resources

and international trade - the incredible herring fisheries

and market for herring in Europe - provided the basis for

enormous growth, particularly after free world trade was

established in 1850. In the second half of the 19th century,

Stavanger had the second largest commercial fleet in

the country, with 600 ships in foreign trade, and was the

centre of one of the country’s most important shipbuilding

areas. Large trading and shipping companies were


Stavanger cathedral

The walls of the Kongsgård school are as old as the cathedral and the

Utstein monastery, and one of very few buildings in the region from that


The population grew from 2 500 in

1800 to 30 000 a hundred years later.

Stavanger became a large town by

the standards of the time, with the

cultural and material ambitions of a

large city.

By the late 19th century, the period

of growth had in reality ended. The

herring disappeared in about 1870.

The freight market stagnated and

almost disappeared during the next

decade and the town went into a

deep recession.

In about 1890 a new business came into existence, the canning

industry. The raw material was brisling from the fjord. In the

course of a few decades, tinned brisling from Stavanger became

one of the country’s most important export products. At the outbreak

of the First World War, Stavanger was one of the leading

industrial towns in Norway. Shipbuilding and maintenance was

an important industry as well as the canning industry and its


Sardine packing at Egeland’s canning factory, Hillevåg. Photo: H. Johannesen, ca 1910

Ship under construction at Rosenberg. Photo: O. Gulliksen, ca 1920

International crises in the period between the two World Wars

also affected Stavanger. Many firms struggled and several local

banks went bankrupt. However, this was a relatively short recession

and by the end of the 1930s the town was on the rise again.



Herring in Vågen. C. Lutcherath, ca 1910

Drill bit, Norwegian

Petroleum Museum

The town was relatively undamaged during

the Second World War and continued to grow

until the 1960s, when demand for canned

food decreased and competition within

shipbuilding was hard. The town was

heading for a new recession.

The discovery of oil in the North Sea

started a new period of growth. The

first major oil field, Ekofisk, was

discovered in the autumn of 1969.

Stavanger became the administrative

and technical centre for North Sea oil

activity. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (Oljedirektoratet)

was established in Stavanger and national and international

oil companies set up offices. The Norwegian State’s national

oil company (Statoil) became the largest employer. Major oil

installations were constructed at Rosenberg and Jåttåvågen.

After the end of major construction activity, growth continued

in the service industry and administration, with great cumulative


Amalgamation of the Stavanger municipality with Madla and

parts of Hetland in 1965 enabled Stavanger to expand and keep

pace with the growth, and to establish new districts. The first

general plan for the amalgamated area was approved in 1968.

Platform construction. Photo: A. Brueland 1973



The planning basis was thereby ready to meet new challenges

and further growth which resulted from major oil and

gas discoveries. Many essential features of the plan have

been implemented in establishing green areas, development

areas and main roads.

Prosperity is still increasing in the entire greater Stavanger

area. There are today no clear divisions between Stavanger

and the neighbouring municipalities of Sandnes, Sola and

Randaberg and cooperation between the municipalities

is developing strongly. The Forus area, which is located

centrally at the junction of Stavanger, Sandnes and Sola, is

perhaps the clearest example of cooperation with respect to

area planning.

Stavanger has been become a prosperous and international

city, with a dynamic commercial and cultural life and high

ambitions. The city became a university town on 1 January

2005. The city has also received several civic awards, such

as the Synergy Prize in 2001, Ossietzky Prize, Norwegian

Cultural Municipality and Norwegian Sports Municipality

in 2003, Best Host Town of Tall Ships Race 2004, International

Municipality 2004 and Urban Environment Prize in

2005 and 2006.

Summer in Byfjorden

Stavanger on the Map

Town Secretary Ulrik Frederik Aagaard’s map from 1726 is

the oldest map of Stavanger. However, the town did not have

technical mapping and surveying expertise until after the fire

at Holmen in 1860 when first lieutenant Hielm in Kristiania

(now Olso) was contracted to survey the area.

As a result of the fire in 1860, water and gas works were

established, the fire department was organized on a permanent

basis and, in 1866, a position for a town engineer was

established. It was not until 1901 that a combined position for

Below: Surveyor’s certificate of plot area measure

Right: Stavanger’s first theodolite



technical director and head of building development was

established. A separate building development department

was established in 1916. However, the Town Engineer did

not recommend establishing a separate entity for planning

and surveying until 1931. In 1952 the Council voted to

establish the surveying department as a separate service and

to establish a position of Chief Surveyor.

The first series of maps at 1:500 scale was constructed in

the 1950s. They were then photographed as the basis for

maps at 1:1000. In the 1970s, a street name map was created

for use internally within the municipality.

In 1992 it was decided that the City

Surveyor’s department should establish digital

mapping data bases, including property

maps. The coordinate system was recalculated

(Euref 89) and implemented in 1998. At

the same time, the mapping data bases were

made accessible for internal and external use.

Maps have now become “consumables” and

anyone who has access to Internet also has

access to a current map, updated every night.

Theodolite, robot station with GPS 3D model of the area round the county court house GPS

Stavanger in Numbers

The following diagram shows the current distribution of

land use within Stavanger:



City centre

Industry and commerce

Transformation areas

Public buildings

Public outdoor recreation

Agriculture and nature



Approximately a third is housing. Just about one half is

not built up and includes farmland, natural and recreational

areas. However, it should be noted that many of Stavanger’s

inhabitants work outside the city limits and that municipalities

in the region are in practice one market for employment,

housing and commerce.

Right: Growth is distributed unevenly between the individual districts





Health and

social services

Other social and

personal services

Agriculture etc

Industry, oil and

gas production









Building and


Sri Lanka






State, county and


Office and



Finance and


Transport and


Shops, hotels

and restaurants

















A large portion of the jobs in Stavanger are associated with

the oil industry or the industrial and administrative sectors,

as shown in the diagram above. At the other end of the scale

are agriculture, forestry and fishing (“Agriculture etc.”).

People from Stavanger are often called “siddiser”,

probably a Norwegian version of the English citizen,

originating in the shipping era. At present, 12.5% of

the inhabitants are immigrants. The above diagram

indicates where these 15 000 new “siddiser” come

from. The largest 20 groups are specified, but over

130 other nationalities are included in “Others”.

Traces until 1965

Stavanger’s history has left visible traces which we can still

see today. Individual buildings and areas are witnesses to and

symbols of different phases of development.

King Sigurd Jorsalfar established the Stavanger bishopric in

1125 and this is considered to be the year in which Stavanger

was founded. Stavanger may have been selected because of its

natural harbour, located closest to England. Stavanger became

an ecclesiastic centre, with monastery, school and bishop’s

residence. However, after stagnating for many years, the bishopric

was moved to Kristiansand in 1682 and a bishopric was

not re-established in Stavanger before 1925.

Many of Stavanger’s historical buildings have been lost, due in

part to changes in society’s structure and values. The St. Olav

monastery which lay west of Breivatnet fell into ruin after the

Reformation and all traces were removed in 1577 when the

monastery was used as a stone quarry. After existing for more

than 500 years, the latin school was demolished in 1842. The

Maria church was used as the town hall and finally a fire station,

before it was pulled down in 1883.

However, the cause of the greatest destruction historically has

been fire. Most of the buildings were timber and fires were

catastrophic. Between 1633 and 1833, large parts of the town

were burnt to the ground as many as seven times.

Eastern facade of the cathedral. Photo: C.J. Jacobsen, ca 1910




Building of the cathedral in romanesque style started in

about 1125 under Bishop Reinald from Winchester in England.

The building was seriously damaged by fire in 1272.

During its reconstruction, the cathedral was expanded by

adding a choir in gothic style and acquired its current form.

The cathedral was renovated extensively between 1939

and 1964. In connection with this work, led by Gerhard

Fischer, the plaster was removed and the cathedral largely

restored to its medieval appearance.

Valberg Tower

After the fire of 1833, it was decided to build a watchtower

for the town’s firemen at Valberget, the highest point on

Holmen, with an overview of the whole town at the time.

The Valberg tower (Valbergtårnet), designed by the palace

architect, Christian Grosch, was completed in 1853.

The tower was never very successful in terms of fire

protection. Following the next fire in 1860, when 210 houses

at Holmen burnt to the ground, only the new fire tower

was left standing. However, even though the Valberg tower

never served its original purpose, the building, with its

beautiful shape and commanding position, has become an

important symbol of Stavanger.

Between 1800 and 1900, the population increased tenfold.

This, as well as modern technology and external influences,

changed Stavanger completely in many areas. Banks, Valberg tower from the north-west. Photo: G. Wareberg 1917

gasworks, waterworks, railway, telephone, missionary societies,

temperance society and newspaper were established. Cultural

life flourished. The author Alexander Kielland, the artist

Kitty Kielland and lyric poet Sigbjørn Obstfelder are perhaps

the most well-known cultural figures from this period.


Prosperity gave Stavanger a new self-respect, which culminated

in the construction of four large public buildings between

1883 and 1897, the Rogaland Theatre (Rogaland Teater)

(1883), Stavanger gymnastics hall (Stavanger Turnhall) (1891),

Stavanger Museum (1893) and Stavanger hospital (Stavanger

sykehus) (1897). All of these were dedicated to culture and

the welfare of the people, all were designed by the Stavanger

architect Hartvig Sverdrup Eckhoff and all were located on the

hill above the town as it was at the time, a local “Acropolis”.

The water supply for the hospital came from Mosvannet via a

water tank at Våland and, from 1895, the Våland tower became

a landmark. All this building activity was an enormous economic

effort, perhaps the greatest investment in public welfare in

Stavanger to date. Remarkably, this coincided with the onset

of a serious depression following the collapse of the herring

fisheries and shipping industry. All the major shipowners and

businesses went bankrupt during the 1880s.

Museum, gymnastics hall and theatre. Photo: C.J. Jacobsen 1901

Stavanger hospital. Photo: M. Eckhoff 1897

Today, the Rogaland Theatre has taken over the gymnastics

hall and most of the hospital is used as Rogaland County Council

offices. However, the buildings bear witness to civic pride,

vision and faith in the future.



”Acropolis” 2008

Below: Stavanger Museum. Right: Rogaland Theatre

Breiavatnet and Byparken

Breiavatnet has many names – the heart of the city, the city’s

smiling eye – and has a special place in the city’s consciousness.

Breiavatnet was part of Vågen until approximately 3 000 years

ago, when the land rose (or the sea sank). At that time people

were carving rock signs at Rudlå. The lake lay outside of the

built-up area until the 19th century and just inside the town

boundary until it was expanded in 1878.

The town park was established as a public park in about 1870.

Today, the city benefits from this wise decision.

The park has beautiful trees, well-maintained beds of flowers

and one of Stavanger’s most distinctive buildings. In 1915 an

architectural competition was held for design of a music pavilion

next to the cathedral. The winner was architect Erling

Nielsen of Kristiania. This modest, but well-designed, building

was completed in 1925 and fits in with the cathedral and green

area of Kongsgård.

Breiavatnet towards the railway station. Photo: A. Brueland 1970

Music pavilion, 1920s

Breiavatnet. Photo: Bitmap

Together with Vågen, Breiavatnet is still the strongest natural

feature in the city centre, even though landfills have changed

its original appearance. Stavanger would have been poorer

without the park and Breiavatnet with its promenade in the

middle of the city.



The Advent of Two-family Houses

In the mid 19th century, Stavanger was a compact town,

concentrated in the areas close to the sea between Bjergsted

and Spilderhaug (Badedammen). This area largely coincides

with the area which is considered to be the centre of

Stavanger today.

By the end of the 19th century, all the area available for

building had been taken into use. However, no tenement

blocks were built. Instead, the built-up area had started to

expand towards Storhaug and Våland, and horizontally

divided 2-family timber houses became the most common

type of dwelling, both in this area and in later expansion

up to the 1950s. The new districts were equipped with big

prestigious school buildings. In the eastern part of town,

new industries were established. Just south of town, the

industrial area Hillevåg was established. The Rosenberg

shipyard moved from Bjergsted to Buøy and accelerated

development there.

Morning at Mosvannet. Photo: H. Henriksen, ca 1915

Våland from the mid-1930s. Photo: Widerøe

Mosvatnet and Vålandskogen

Mosvatnet and Vålandshaugen were incorporated into the

town in 1866 and 1905 respectively. Large parts of Våland

have subsequently become built-up. However, trees were

planted in what is now Vålandskogen and around Mosvatnet

lake and have become a resource for the city.

The Wooden Town (Trehusbyen)

The concept of protection, which was established in the

1950s, has subsequently developed and become stronger. One

expression of this is preservation of the so-called Trehusbyen,

which lies largely within the pre-1923 town limits. See the

map on page 7.

In Stavanger, as in other Norwegian towns, a large portion

of the houses are timber constructions. Even though brick

buildings appeared following the fires in the town centre in

the 19th century, use of such material had as much to do with

the building’s size and use as with fire safety. Wooden houses

continued to dominate in the centre and in the new districts

established as the city grew.

Sporadic attempts were made to impose use of brick.

However, these efforts did not succeed, primarily because of

the cost. Brick was reserved for churches, factory buildings

and other large buildings.

Two-family houses, Våland

Brick buildings, Wessels gate (left) and St. Petri (right). Photos: Egil Bjørøen

With approximately 8 000 wooden houses from the period

before 1950, Stavanger is the city with the largest number of

wooden houses in Europe. It is truly a wooden city, and Trehusbyen

is a natural description and name.

Opposite: Wooden housing, Storhaug



Awareness of the value of the wooden buildings is relatively

new. In the 1940s, the municipality prepared comprehensive

plans for modernizing the centre. The plans implied complete

clearance of the existing buildings in the centre and at Straen.

Only the cathedral, Kongsgård and the old post office were to

be left standing.

The first projects carried out in line with the clearance plans

(Klubbgata, Olavskleiva) provoked protests. These resulted

in a conservation plan for Straen, or ”Old Stavanger” (Gamle

Stavanger), in 1956. This was one of the first conservation

plans in the country and was extremely important for subsequent

town planning in Stavanger. Architect Einar Hedén was

central in this work. The plan has been expanded several times

and it is now acknowledged that not only the city centre, but

also all the wooden buildings in central districts, are important

to Stavanger.

The wharf warehouses are also an important part of

Stavanger’s character. The herring period from about 1800–

1880 changed the towns’s appearance in the shape of a

continuous row of 200–300 warehouses from Sandvigå to


When the herring disappeared, many of the warehouses were

abandoned or were converted for other uses such as canning

Above: Old Stavanger, Nedre Strandgate

Below: Old Stavanger, Øvre Strandgate



factories. Only approximately 60 still remain and many have

changed shape or facade over time. In addition, they now lie

some distance from the water following repeated landfills

along the harbour front. However, they are still a visible

and characteristic feature of the city. Many are now used as

restaurants, pubs and discos, others as shops, storerooms or

offices. It was not until 1993 that a complete register of the

remaining warehouses was compiled and specific conservation

regulations introduced.

The row of wharf warehouses ca 1870 (Stavanger Cultural Heritage Office)

Reconstructed on the basis of Torstrup’s map and old photographs by

Helge Schelderup (Vågen) and Unnleiv Bergsgard (eastern harbour)

Row of warehouses today, Skagenkaien towards Millennium Site

The conservation work has now also been applied to other

districts with newer buildings. The most comprehensive work

is the introduction of regulations for Trehusbyen, as defined

in the Cultural Heritage Plan (Kulturminneplanen) in 1995.

Specific aesthetic guidelines for Trehusbyen were introduced in

2003. The municipality’s objective is to preserve this as an area

with wooden buildings, both by preserving existing buildings

and by constructing new buildings in wood.

Two-family house, Våland

Opposite: Inquisitive tourists in Øvre Strandgate

Map showing ”Trehusbyen”



After the Second World War, Norway was to be rebuilt. An

idealistic generation of planners and architects were to give the

towns more and better houses, new jobs, and green areas for

the inhabitants. Terrace houses, where everyone had access to a

garden, and blocks with large open areas were built outside the

old town centre.

There was a great shortage of houses and the standard of the

older housing was poor. Housing cooperatives were one means

of alleviating the housing shortage and the Stavanger Cooperative

Building and Housing Association (SBBL) was established

in 1946.

The terrace house, also called the Stavanger House, was developed

in about 1950. It became a trademark of housing

construction in the 1950s and for SBBL’s early Cooperative

Housing Societies. The house was based on a construction with

economic spans and no internal load bearing walls and was

simple and cheap to build. All the houses have an entrance at

street level and their own garden. With two floors plus basement

and attic, three bedrooms and practical kitchens, these

were ideal family dwellings.

Terrace houses (”Stavanger houses”) at Bekkefaret. Photo: Widerøe 1957

Blocks of flats, Misjonsmarka. Photo: Widerøe 1957

The Stavanger House received a lot of attention and many

successors throughout the country. Fifty years later, they are

still not old-fashioned. Even though many have been extended,

reflecting increased affluence, many have retained their original

layout and details.



Typical areas with Stavanger houses are Steinkopfstykket

and Årrestadstykket near Randabergveien, Tjennsvollskråningen,

Vålandskråningen, Bekkefaret and Saxemarka-

Solsletta. In total, almost 800 houses of this type have

been built.

The Stavanger houses from the 1950s stand as a testimony

to the idealism of architects and developers in the difficult

years after the Second World War. Some areas have also

been designated for preservation.

Stavanger is known for its wooden houses. However, other

types of housing have also been built. International trends,

particularly from Sweden, were followed. The first blocks

of flats were built in 1948 and 1951 at Misjonsmarka, with

175 flats in total. Saxemarka was subsequently developed,

with over 400 flats.

Blocks of flats, Saxemarka. Photo: Per Jarle Solheim

Terrace houses (“Stavanger houses”) Ullandhaug

One of the basic principles behind the construction of

blocks in the 1950s was that the inhabitants should have

light and fresh air. The blocks were not to be built too close

together. There should be spacious outdoor areas. Every

flat was to have a balcony, to compensate for lack of direct

access to outdoor areas at ground level. The buildings

were simple and economic.

City Expansion in 1965 and

Urban Development Areas

Amalgamation with Madla and parts of Hetland on 1 January

1965 was a watershed in development of the city in more recent

years, providing Stavanger with the opportunity for significant


Stavanger is not a big city by international standards and does

not have any real suburbs. Instead, so-called development areas

have been established.

The location of the development areas in the expanded Stavanger

municipality was largely defined by the development plan

1966-70. The areas included Hundvåg, Stokka, Tjensvoll-Madlamark,

Kvernevik-Sunde, Kristianlyst-Mariero, Hinna and

Gausel-Godeset-Jattå, all outside the old city boundary, and

Godalen and Rosenli inside it.

Kalhammarviken with Bjelland’s herring meal factory. Photo: Widerøe 1952

Development of Tjensvollskråningen. Photo: Widerøe 1957

The development areas were a natural consequence of

Stavanger’s active building land allocation policy, the socalled

Stavanger Model. The Stavanger Model entails that the

municipality acquires all larger areas which are designated for

development. The areas are provided with roads, water, sewage

and electricity. Individual areas within the larger areas are then

sold to different developers based on a more detailed development


Opposite: Madlatorget. Photo: Bitmap



Three Typical Development Areas

The following areas are representative of different phases in

development of the city:


Buøy has been part of Stavanger since 1878, while Hundvåg

was incorporated into the city in 1965. The water tower at

Buøy, a local landmark, was built in 1920 when the Rosenberg

shipyard moved from Sandvigå at Bjergsted to Buøy.

Houses for the workers were built both on Buøy and also at

Hundvåg. The development of larger housing estates started

in about 1967. At first the pace was fairly slow, but this increased

after construction of the city bridge (Bybrua).

When the bridge was opened, the island’s population was

7 000. There are now 12 500 people living in this area and

the number is expected to increase to 15 000. At the same

time, the drastic reduction of activity at the Rosenberg

shipyard has resulted in increased road traffic due to people

driving to work on the mainland.

The city bridge (Bybrua), constructed by professor Arne Selberg and engineer

Johannes Holt, was opened in December 1977. A cutting connecting

the harbour ring road and the Varmen/Lervig area in 1985 and a tunnel

between the Stavanger railway station and the harbour ring road in 1989

greatly improved access to the development areas on Buøy and Hundvåg

Below: Rosenberg shipyard 1921

Planning of a new underwater connection to the mainland

is in progress, both as part of the Ryfast project, connecting

Stavanger to Ryfylke via a 14 km underwater tunnel, and

because an alternative ferry-free connection is desirable.

Opposite: City bridge with Buøy and Hundvåg. Photo: Bitmap




When development started almost immediately after expansion

of the city limits in 1965, Sunde and Kvernevik seemed to be

far from town.

Most of Sunde and Kvernevik was developed before 1980.

Given that there were many developers, catering for different

potential buyers, almost all types of houses and building styles

from that period are represented. Developments in society and

increased prosperity after the city’s last recession in the 1960s

are reflected in the number of extensions subsequently built to

the first houses at Kvernevik.

Development area Søra Bråde, Sunde

Building is still going on in the area, and there are examples

of more recent architecture, as illustrated by the photographs

from Søra Bråde at Sunde.


A continuous urban belt between Stavanger and Sandnes, also

called the “Linear City”, was accepted as one of the basic

principles of development of North Jæren. This made Gausel-

Godeset-Jåttå, midway between Sandnes and Stavanger centre,

a prime candidate for development. In addition, the proximity

of work places at Forus made this area very attractive. Local

work places were not part of the concept for any of the development

areas. However, in this case, they were at least located

in the vicinity.



Planning started in about 1975. Development of Gauselmarka

started in earnest in about 1980 and continued at

Godeset. Development of Gauselbakken South and North

started in about 2000. A main principle in all cases has

been to ensure easy access to green areas.

The period after 1980 has been a growth period, at the

same time as new architectural fashions have arisen. Godeset-Gauselmarka

and Gauselbakken have been gradually

developed during this period, with a wide range of house

types and styles in both areas. Gauselbakken North is the

last area within the Stavanger boundaries where detached

houses have been built to any great extent.

Development will continue northwards at Jåttå.

Development area Gauselbakken North

Left and below: “Building for the future”, Gausel

Industrial Areas and Work Places

In the development areas, there is a predominance of housing

rather than work places. Work places are concentrated today

in two main areas, Stavanger centre and Forus, 10 km further


The Stavanger municipality’s development plan for 1966-

1970 identified two new industrial areas, Dusavik and Forus.

Both areas have been extremely important for development of

the city.

Dusavik became an onshore base for oil industry activity in

the North Sea. Forus became a regional concentration of work

places which most likely surpasses the visions of the planners

in the 1960s. Jåttåvågen was established later as a construction

site for large North Sea installations, notably the Condeep

concrete gravity platforms.

Early in the 1950s, initiative was taken to develop the Forus

area for industry. Gradually the idea arose of establishing a

large industrial area located centrally between the Stavanger,

Sola and Sandnes municipalities as delineated following expansion

of Stavanger in 1965. The total area is approximately

65 hectares.

Forus was originally the name of the area where the Stokka

lake, which covered most of Forussletta, discharged into

Forus area. Photo: Bitmap



Gandsfjorden. The Stokka lake was drained at the beginning

of the 20th century and the area was cultivated and became

part of the adjacent farms. During the Second World War, the

Germans built a new airport on Forussletta. After the war, the

airport was no longer used, but the State retained ownership

of the airport area.

Forus extends across the boundaries of three municipalities,

but is in reality treated as one continuous industrial area. This

was the basis for the Forus master plan in 1965. The plan

envisaged a traditional industrial area, but this was not to be.

A major change occurred at the end of the 1970s as a result

of oil industry activity. Statoil established its head office at

Forus, followed by other oil companies. Structural changes

Oil-related industry, Forus

in the Norwegian economy, whereby fewer and fewer goods

are produced locally, have also left their mark. Heavy industry

failed to materialize and, instead of manufacturing plants,

warehouses for imported goods were built. The warehouses

also developed gradually into sales outlets and then shops in

competition with businesses in the urban centres.

The area is administered by Forus Næringspark AS, an intermunicipality

company with the mayors of Stavanger, Sandnes

and Sola sitting on the board of directors. The company provides

ready-for-building sites for sale to companies - almost

1 000 companies to date.

Today more than 60% of the almost 25 000 work places are

related to offices, services and retail shopping. The number of

work places may double within the next 30 years.

One of the main challenges in the Forus area is the much larger

relative growth in work places compared to other parts of

the greater city area. This has resulted in considerably more

car traffic to and from Forus compared to the town centres and

in strained traffic conditions, particularly in the rush hour.

Plans are now focusing on developing dedicated public transport

routes. Pedestrian and bicycle traffic is also to be facilitated.

The objective is to increase the number of people travelling

to and from work by public transport or on foot or bicycle.

Opposite: Statoil, Forus. Photo: Bitmap



Transport and Urban Development

The first car arrived in 1899, 20 years after the railway between

Stavanger and Egersund was opened.

Today approximately 60 000 vehicles are registered in Stavanger,

over 75% of which are private cars. This has had enormous

influence on development of the city. As the car became

the most important means of transport, designing the road

network became a major task. Car parking facilities had to be

provided. Increased traffic became a major problem, first in

the city centre and gradually throughout the entire city as new

districts developed and jobs were established outside the

centre. The motorway, which 40 years ago was supposed to

solve transport problems for the foreseeable future, is now

periodically jammed. Rush-hour traffic has become a problem

in large parts of the road network.

Dual-track, Jåttå station

Traffic, Madlaveien at Siddishallen

New roads have been built to remedy the situation. At the same

time, Stavanger has focused on reducing the negative impact

of car traffic in the city centre. The first major step has been to

ban cars from parts of the centre at Holmen and Straen. When

the Bergeland tunnel was opened in 1989, the main road past

the cathedral could be restricted to pedestrians. The Storhaug

tunnel reduced through-traffic in the Storhaug area.

In recent years, Stavanger has also focused on bicycle traffic as

a safe and effective alternative and on safety for pedestrians.



However, the number of people opting to cycle has not

increased as much as hoped. Ambitions for increased use

of the bicycle are high and ongoing planning of a main

cycle road between Stavanger, Forus and Sandnes is part

of this investment. Planned to be of an exceptionally high

standard, the main cycle road may be the first of its kind in


Attention is increasingly focused on public transport, including

establishing bus lanes. The railway between Stavanger

and Sandnes will become dual track in the near future.

Possible excess capacity on this part of the track will be

evaluated for use in a city rail system, initially in the form

of a track from the railway at Gausel via Forus to the

Stavanger airport.

Traffic north to Haugesund and Bergen and east towards

Ryfylke is at present dependent on ferries. Construction of

an Eiganes tunnel has been proposed as part of a satisfactory

route through Stavanger for the main coastal road E39

from Kristiansand to Bergen and further north. This solution

could contribute to reducing traffic through housing

areas in Stavanger. Continuing north via an underwater

tunnel (Rogfast) between North and South Rogaland, this

will connect the west coast closer, in the same way as

Ryfast (page 34) will connect Ryfylke closer to Stavanger.

Bridge for cyclists and pedestrians across Madlaveien

Storhaug tunnel

Glimpses of the New Stavanger

Stavanger Centre

The area considered to be the city centre today is largely the

same as the area within the 1848 town boundary. The district

from the cathedral out to Holmen, limited by the market place,

the cathedral square and Kongsgata, is often described as the

medieval town, with its characteristic narrow and winding

streets. The streets are probably based on old paths and tracks,

adapted naturally to the terrain.

After the Second World War, plans to modernize the city centre

with wide streets and new buildings were considered. The

plans were never implemented and, today, most of Holmen and

the area around the cathedral are reserved for pedestrians.


Skagen with the Fred Hansen house in the foreground

Stavanger Cultural Centre

(Stavanger Kulturhus Sølvberget)

When walking round this area, one will sooner or later come

across Arneageren. This little square is the natural centre of

the network of streets, and is where the Cultural Centre Sølvberget

is located. Since 1987, Sølvberget has become a central

cultural venue in the city and region and houses the Stavanger

library, Stavanger cinema, the Norwegian Children’s Museum

(Norsk Barnemuseum), children’s workshop (Barnas Kulturverksted)

and cafés. The centre is very popular and is always

full of people. It has also developed into an international

arena for work related to freedom of speech, where Stavanger




Left: Søregata

Below: Arneageren with Stavanger Cultural Centre Sølvberget

Freedom Centre, the International Cities of Refuge Network

(ICORN) and the literature and freedom of speech festival

Kapittel have central roles.

The Harbour and Market Place

The harbour has always been important to Stavanger. In the

19th century it became a significant international port, but

its shape and function have changed over the years. Major

landfills have created a completely different waterfront, and

the characteristic warehouses, which in the 19th century lay

all along the water’s edge, now lie some distance from the


The brig Alpha in Vågen ca 1880

Sightseeing boat Clipper in Vågen in 2007

Goods transport and international ferry traffic have been moved

to Risavika near Tananger. However, local ferry traffic is

still important, and cruise ships are frequent visitors during

the tourist season.

The harbour has become more of a recreational area for festivals

and sporting events than a trade port. A 4 km urban walk,

the “Blue Promenade”, follows the water from Badedammen

to Bjergsted, passing ferry terminals and marinas.

The marketplace, Torget, was important in the day-to-day

life of the town. Farmers and fishermen congregated here and

sold their produce. This traditional marketplace still exists,

although on a smaller scale. It is particularly lively during the

fruit and berry season.



Millennium Site, the marketplace (Torget)

Cruise ship Queen Mary 2 in Vågen

Beach volleyball tournament World Tour Stavanger

Like the harbour, the marketplace has changed both in shape

and function. Perhaps the most significant change took place

around the start of the new millennium when Stavanger selected

Torget as its “Millennium Site” and arranged an open

architectural competition for its development. Millennium

sites were created all over Norway, but the new Torget ranks

amongst the most spectacular. A total renewal of the entire

area, it connects Vågen to the sheltered Breiavatnet lake and

is Stavanger’s major open-air arena, accommodating large

events and festivals.

The city centre has changed in use and character. At one time

an important religious centre, it is now a centre for shopping

and recreation. The process of change is illustrated in buildings

from different epochs which have been preserved, rehabilitated

or converted to other uses. These buildings are part

of Stavanger’s visual identity, and a challenge to developers.

Some modern buildings, such as the Skagen Brygge Hotel,

have adapted to their historical surroundings; others, like the

Norwegian Petroleum Museum (Oljemuseet) on Kjeringholmen,

are strong contemporary statements.

Skagen Brygge Hotel

The Norwegian

Petroleum Museum




Cathedral square with SR-bank and Norges Bank

Colourful houses in Øvre Holmegate

Stavanger Storsenter, Klubbgata

City Centre Plan

Work on a master plan for the centre (Kommunedelplan

Stavanger Sentrum 1994 – 2005) started in 1992. When the

plan was approved 4 years later, it was the first comprehensive

master plan for a city centre in Norway.

Combining more than 100 zoning plans, the master plan established

traffic systems as well as parks and green corridors,

conservation projects, “handle with care” buildings and not

least new main projects for the public spaces in the city centre.

Establishment of the plan had been enabled by the opening of

the new E18 (now Rv 509) road from Kannik to Verksalmenningen

in 1989, with a bridge over the railway area and a tunnel

through Storhaug.

Together with the master plan, a local analysis of the city

centre and a City Catalogue were prepared, with 65 proposals

for restoration of smaller public spaces. Some of the projects



could be combined and created the basis for an action plan

with five main proposed projects: the Central Public Space

(development of Torget and the area round Breiavatnet), the

Blue Promenade, the “green” Løkkeveien street, the “Green

Corridor” between Breiavatnet and Mosvatnet, and Stavanger

East (upgrading of the Nedre Blåsenborg and Smedgate

areas). The projects, shown on the map below, were completed

or under construction in 2008.

Main projects, City Centre Plan

Blocks of flats in the centre

Previous page, bottom left: St. Olav seen from Breiavatnet. Previous page:

Olav V’s gate. Above: Badedammen. Below: Blåsenborg

Green Areas in Stavanger

Stavanger has perhaps the best continuous urban green structure

of all Norwegian cities.

Everything can be found here: parks, woods, beaches, lakes,

meadows with wild flowers, viewpoints, skating facilities,

playgrounds, cycling paths, bridle paths, ball parks, outdoor activity

centres, swimming facilities and sports halls, connected

together and make accessible by a network of footpaths. When

the network is complete, it will offer approximately 220 km of

“green” connections.

In addition, many of the smaller islands in the municipality are

designated for outdoor life and nature conservation.

Green areas Above: Lundsneset Below: Mosvatnet Right: Bathing at Godalen

The foundation for this continuous green structure was laid

in the first master plan for the Stavanger municipality in the

late 1960s. This was followed up in a Green Plan, approved in

1992, and in all subsequent master plan revisions.

During the last five years, the municipality has put great effort

into securing outdoor areas for the general public through the

public outdoor recreation area project (Friområdeprosjektet).

The project is still ongoing and every year major investments

are made to secure and make accessible more green areas.

You will always find a footpath in the vicinity!




Stavanger har kan hende den aller beste urbane, sammenhengende

grønnstrukturen av alle norske byer.

Her er alt: Parker, skoger, strender, vann og innsjøer, blomsterenger,

utsiktspunkter, naturvernområder, kulturlandskaper,

skateanlegg, lekeplasser, sykkelstier, ridestier, balløkker,

friluftssentre, badeplasser, tett kontakt med idrettsanlegg og

skolegårder, bundet sammen og gjort tilgjengelig med turveinettet,

som ferdig utbygd vil by på ca 220 km sammenhengende

grønne forbindelser.

I tillegg er mange av de mindre øyene i kommunen sikret for

friluftsliv og naturvern.

Grunnlaget for denne gode, sammenhengende grønne strukturen,

ble lagt allerede i Stavangers første generalplan fra slutten

av 60-årene, fulgt opp gjennom Grønn Plan og alle senere

utgaver av kommuneplan for Stavanger. De 5 siste årene har

kommunen lagt ekstra stor innsats i å sikre og tilrettelegge friarealene

for allmenn bruk, gjennom Friluftsprosjektet hvor det

årlig investeres store beløp i sikring og tilgjengeliggjøring av de

grønne områdene.

Du finner alltid en turvei i nærheten!

Two Major Town Planning Competitions

Several town planning competitions have been held in Stavanger,

both for the central areas and also for the new districts.

Two examples of the latter, which have subsequently been

implemented, are Tjensvollbyen, started in 1968, and Jåttåvågen,

started 32 years later.

Tjensvollbyen (“Tjensvoll Town”)

The concept of Tjensvollbyen had already arisen before amalgamation

of the municipalities in 1965. The approximately 60

hectare area lies partially within the old Madla and Stavanger

municipalities, on what was mostly open agricultural land.

The idea was to build houses and a centre with shops and services

for the inhabitants in the middle of the area. Other work

places were not included in the concept.

The planning competition in 1968 was won by the planning

office of Andersson og Skjånes AS together with architectural

firm Alex Christiansen AS. These formed the Tjensvoll team,

which handled detailed planning. A smaller part of the area,

Haugtussa, was awarded to the second prize winner, Brantenberg,

Brantenberg and Hiorthøy, as an experimental area for

low-cost housing.

The development plan was ready in 1969. An independent

committee was established to process planning issues within

the area. Building started in 1972. Altogether approximately



2 000 houses were built, mostly under the direction of the Stavanger

and Hetland Cooperative Building and Housing Associations.

By 1980, most of Tjensvoll had been developed.

One of the distinctive features of Tjensvollbyen is the large variety

of house types (low blocks, terrace houses and detached

houses) and sizes (from 1 to 4 bedrooms). However, the impression

is harmonious, not least because one firm of architects

had overall responsibility for the main part of the development.

The social profile of the area is another special feature. The

almost 2 000 housing units include no “luxury apartments”.

Tjensvollbyen was also the first large area in Stavanger which

was designed to be free of cars. The majority of the car parking

spaces were placed under the blocks of flats which surround

the rest of the houses. Unfortunately, new driving and shopping

habits have resulted in the commercial centre, which at

the time was thought to be ideally located in the middle of the

area, being used much less than anticipated.

Left: Tjensvoll and Stavanger Forum Below: Individual houses, Tjensvoll

Jåttåvågen (“Jåttå Bay”)

Jåttåvågen is located approximately 7.5 km from Stavanger

centre and approximately 3–5 km from the industrial area at

Forus. The area is situated alongside the public transport route

between Stavanger and Sandnes, where dual-track railway line

is being constructed.

During the most hectic North Sea development period, Jåttåvågen

became a construction site for concrete structures. The

first structure to be built was the Ekofisk tank in 1971-1973,

followed by 14 Condeep platforms. The last of these was the

Troll platform in 1995. One of the tallest structures in the

world, it also marked the end of Jåttåvågen’s period as construction

site for the North Sea.

In 1998, the Stavanger municipality decided that Jåttåvågen

should become a new urban district, with houses, industry

and services, and that the municipality and private developers

Hinna Park AS should cooperate in developing the area.

Large parts of the bay had been filled in as part of the construction

site and there was little nature or agriculture to take

into account. However, one landmark of Jåttåvågen’s significance

for North Sea oil industry has been preserved. The

“leaning tower”, which was originally built to test concretelaying

techniques, still stands.

In 2000, the municipality arranged an open Nordic town planning

competition which was to provide the basis for a local



master plan. Jåttåvågen was to be developed as:

- A modern area for high technological and internationally

orientated businesses (5 000 – 8 000 work places)

- A futuristic and attractive housing area (min. 1 500 houses)

- A pilot project for high density and ecofriendly development

- A recreational area by the sea and a valuable link in

continuous green areas

- An area of high architectural quality, a meeting place for

the district and a dynamo for the region.

The winners of the competition were engaged to prepare the

master plan, with Lund Hagem as main consultant and Team

Yoto–70 grader nord, as contributor.

The “leaning tower” will be an important element in the main

axis between Jåttånuten and the Ryfylke mountains. A central

public space will have room for large events.

Jåttåvågen Previous page: Hinna Park block with the leaning tower in

the background Above: Terrace houses Below: Tower blocks under


A new stadium for the Viking football club and a district commercial

centre were built early on. These have been important

generators for development of the area. This, together with the

deliberate focus on public transport with a new railway station

on the dual-track railway, distinguishes Jåttåvågen from Tjensvoll.

The size and type of dwellings is varied, as at Tjensvoll,

but with no detached houses and a large proportion of flats in

tower blocks.

The first home match at the Viking stadium was played in

May 2004. A year later, the commercial centre opened, with

10 000 m² of businesses and services. By the end of 2007,

approximately 600 dwellings and 40 000 m² businesses, with

1 500 work places, had been built or were under construction.

A new secondary school was also opened in 2008 in the same


Jåttåvågen will be an urban entity halfway between the established

centres in Stavanger and Sandnes, with more than

2 000 dwellings (about the same as at Tjensvoll), but with approximately

7 000 work places and a number of services for

the inhabitants and visitors.

Jåttå secondary school

Hinna Park housing complex

Below: Housing at Jåttåvågen. Opposite: Overview of Jåttåvågen with Viking stadium

and Jåttåvågen secondary school. Photo: Bitmap



Two Major Central Development Areas

Until 2000, the trend was for the majority of the population

to move out of the city centre, initially to the areas close to

the centre, Storhaug, Våland, Vestre Platå and Kampen, and

later to the new development areas.

Recently, this trend has reversed to a certain extent and larger

housing projects have been built and continue to be built

within the town boundary of 1848. This applies particularly

to areas where traditional industry was located until the end

of the canning era in the 1960s and the establishment of

Forus as the new inter-municipality business district.

Urban Seafront (Stavanger East)

In the 1950s, the eastern part of town, together with Hillevåg,

had the largest concentration of industry in Stavanger.

Twenty years later, many of the companies had disappeared

or moved. There was a surplus of empty sites, particularly

along the waterfront where the canning factories had been

located. The reduction in employment and the increased

number of empty industrial buildings resulted in the increasingly

dilapidated character of the area.

In 1999, Urban Seafront (Urban Sjøfront) was introduced

as a new concept for the eastern part of town. Prior to this,

plans were to continue using the area as a business district

with a large element of industrial activity. The Urban Seafront

concept proposed transforming the area into a mix



of housing, work places, recreation and culture. Many were

enthusiastic about the concept and contributed to working towards

its implementation. This work has been largely pursued

Left: Urban Seafront concept Below: Tou Scene

by Urban Sjøfront AS, a non-profit company owned by several

landowners in the area.

Many elements of the concept from 1999, such as a public

promenade along the waterfront and different types of activity

zones extending in from the sea, have been included in

subsequent plans and projects. Development of the so-called

“cultural axis” along Kvitsøygata has progressed furthest. The

most important of the zones is undoubtedly centred around

Tou Scene, an alternative cultural stage established in the old

premises of the Tou Brewery.

A zoning plan from 2002 for the southern part of the area stipulates

a maximum height of 4-5 floors for buildings in most

of the district. A similar plan for the northern part of the area

was approved in 2006. Both plans allow for both housing

and commercial activity.

So far, a series of high density housing projects has been

completed at the Urban Seafront. Few commercial buildings

have been constructed.

Two major international architectural competitions have

been held for development of parts of this

area. The district on the north side of

Lervig was one of several European

sites included in the international

architectural competition Europan

8. An international

architectural competition

was also held for the area

at the outside edge of

Siriskjær as part of

the Norwegian Wood

project (see page 78).

Badedammen is the

part of Urban Seafront

which has progressed

furthest. The Strømsteinen

area had long been used

Above: Décor from Badedammen block Right. Overview of Badedammen



as a lido by the townspeople after several inhabited small

islands were connected together in the 19th century and the

seawater lake Badedammen was established. At about the

same time, houses were built in the area in addition to the

wharf warehouses which already existed.

During the course of the next century, landfills were carried

out in the area, particularly in Banevigå in the west, and

many of the warehouses were replaced by larger industrial


When the bridge to the islands was constructed in 1978, one

of its columns was located in Badedammen. Ten years later

a development plan for the Badedammen area was approved.

The plan allowed development of both private housing and

commercial buildings. Canals were to be dug into Badedammen

to recreate the impression of an area of several small islands.

However, development of the area came to a standstill

due to economic stagnation.

Only a few years later economic conditions changed. From

the mid 1990s, new buildings have been constructed along

almost the entire seafront. On the whole, these have been

planned individually and have followed the development

plan of 1988 to a limited extent only.

The Badedammen park is located at the south-easternmost

end of the Blue Promenade and is now being upgraded.

Badedammen with city bridge

Bjergsted Area

The area between the Bjergsted park and “Old Stavanger” has

been totally transformed over the last 15 years. Prior to this,

the area was an industrial zone. The gasworks, with two large

gasometers, were located here as well as a nail factory, coal

storage, print shop, soap factory and canning factories. These

activities have now been either discontinued or moved. In their

place, urban flats have been built or are under construction, in

addition to a few office premises.

The first project was Bjergsted Terrasse in about 1990.

Straen Terrasse, just north of “Old Stavanger”, in 2000 was

first in a new wave of large-scale developments in the area.

The newest project, which is now under construction, Løkkeveien

111, will create a clear boundary for Old Stavanger

towards the west.

Photo montage Løkkeveien 111

Above: New blocks of flats, Bjergsted Opposite: Overview of Bjergsted.

Photo: Bitmap

The same area. Gasworks 1930s. Photo: Wilse



Culture is Urban Development

After the Second World War, cultural politics were an important

part of establishment of the welfare state. At the same

time, the definition of culture was expanded to include a wide

range of human activities. A cultural democracy was to be

created, where the government was to play an major role.

In 1964 Stavanger established a Standing Committee of Cultural

Affairs, followed in 1969 by the first culture plan. With its

focus on the new and broader vision of culture, this plan was


Today, the Stavanger municipality conducts an active and

broad cultural policy to ensure that cultural values are accessible

to more people and to include and support new and

untraditional cultural activities. A new plan for art and culture

2009–2014 will establish the main guidelines for future cultural


Here are some examples of the city’s varied and exciting cultural


Rogaland Theatre

In 1850, the mayor L.W. Hansen built a new building at Skagen

which was furnished with theatre facilities on the first

floor and space for 300 spectators. Performances were later

held in Stavanger Sparekasse’s assembly hall, and in 1883 the

curtain went up for the first time at a new theatre building at

From the opening of European City of Culture 2008



Main stage, Rogaland Theatre. Performance of “The Thousandth Heart” 2007. Photo: E. Ashley

Kannik. The Rogaland Theatre, which was formally established

in 1947, is housed in this building today. The theatre has

been expanded several times. It has also taken over the adjacent

old gymnastics hall, which has been rebuilt and used for

children’s and youth theatre since 1957. Today the Rogaland

Theatre is one of the leading theatres in the country and presents

10–14 productions each year on four different stages.

Sølvberget: Stavanger Kulturhus is described on page 44.

Museums and Collections

Stavanger has almost 20 museums which take care of and

promote the cultural heritage of the city and region. These

cover the whole spectrum from large to small collections.

The Stavanger Museum has two departments at Muségata

16. The Zoological Department displays bird

life, with main emphasis on Rogaland, as well as

Norwegian and foreign mammals. The Department

of Cultural History has a special responsibility

for documenting the general

cultural history of Rogaland, with

main emphasis on the history of

Stavanger. The museum also administers

the Norwegian Children’s

Museum, the Medical Museum (Medisinsk

Museum) and the Norwegian Museum

of Printing (Norsk Grafisk Museum).

Stavanger Museum. Above: 18th century interior

Left: Finback whale scull and sparrowhawk



The Maritime Museum (Sjøfartsmuseet), a special museum

for the maritime history of the south-west of Norway,

is located at Nedre Strandgate 17 and 19. The Canning

Museum (Hermetikkmuseet) is located in a former canning

factory at Øvre Strandgata 88 in Old Stavanger.

The Museum of Archaeology (Arkeologisk museum i Stavanger),

in Peder Klows gate 30, covers the history of Rogaland

from the appearance of the first humans until the end

of the Middle Ages. In addition to exhibitions, the museum

does extensive research. In the summer months, a number

of archaeological digs are carried out under the museum’s


Above: Archeological Museum. Below: Norwegian Petroleum Museum.

Bottom: Rogaland Museum of Fine Arts

The Norwegian Petroleum Museum (Norsk Oljemuseum)

at Kjeringholmen is a modern and interactive museum. The

museum shows how oil and gas are created and the technological

development which enables these resources to be


The Rogaland Museum of Fine Arts (Rogaland Kunstmuseum)

is situated in a beautiful location at Mosvannsparken,

a couple of kilometres from the city centre. Since 1992, the

museum has been pivotal for the whole region and owns the

largest Lars Hertervig collection in the country, more than

70 oil paintings and other works. The museum’s permanent

collection gives a rich insight into Norwegian pictorial art,

totalling more than 2 000 works from the 19th century onwards.

Stavanger Symphony Orchestra

The Stavanger Symphony Orchestra (Stavanger Symfoniorkester)

is one of the most prominent orchestras in the country,

with roots which go back to 1930. The orchestra is based in the

Stavanger Concert Hall (Stavanger Konserthus) at Bjergsted.

In association with the Stavanger Symphony Choir (Stavanger

Symfonikor), the orchestra offers a varied programme of established

and new music, from major works to intimate chamber

music, under the direction of famous conductors. The orchestra

plays an important part in the cultural life of the city.

Bjergsted Music Park and the Bjergsted Vision

Bjergsted Park lies just north of Old Stavanger, a short walk

from the marketplace. Since the 1970s, the park has been a

meeting place for large music institutions and amateur music

in Stavanger.

Bjergsted park with Stavanger concert hall

Festival in Bjergsted park. Photo: Sigbjørn Sigbjørnsen

The park itself was established in about 1860, separated from

the fjord by a row of warehouses and shipyards in Sandvigå.

From 1920 until 1969, the park was used for trade fairs and

exhibitions. Two of the exhibition halls were subsequently

converted into the Stavanger School of Music (Stavanger musikkskole)

and Stavanger Concert Hall. Bjergsted became the

home of the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Stavanger School

of Culture, University of Stavanger’s Institute of Music and

Dance, Norwegian Institute of Sound and other musical organizations,

and a venue for festivals.

In about 2000, the Bjergsted Vision was launched. Bjergsted



Music Park and the harbour area at Sandvigå were to

become a national powerhouse for music and art and include

a new concert hall of the highest international standard. The

new hall will be situated beside the fjord, linking Bjergsted

and the city centre. Construction started in early 2009 and is

planned to be completed in 2011.

The concert hall will contain an orchestral auditorium with

1 500 seats and a multipurpose hall which will be used

mainly for performance of amplified music and musical theatre

and which can accommodate up to 2 000 spectators. An

impressive foyer will face the sea and the forecourt. A large

and sheltered outdoor amphitheatre will be located south of

the concert hall.

New concert hall at Bjergsted, now under construction. Illustration: Placebo Effects AS

Café at Tou Scene

A school of culture and a secondary school for music, dance

and drama will be built north of the new concert hall.

Tou Scene (Tou Stage)

The Tou brewery moved out of its characteristic buildings by

the sea in the eastern part of town in the 1970s. Tou Scene

was established in the old brewery premises in 2001 after

several groups of artists had emphasized the need for a new

arena for modern art.

After extensive rebuilding and rehabilitation, Tou Scene was

officially opened in 2005 as a centre for contemporary art

within different fields such as music, visual art, film and dramatic

art. Tou Scene presents a continuous programme for the

public, where multi-disciplinary projects and performances are

central. The premises are rented out to artists and commercial

cultural enterprises. The goal is that Tou Scene shall be a work

in progress, while retaining its cultural integrity and profile.

Sculpture in the City

Public sculpture is part of any active and affluent city.

The first sculpture in Stavanger was the Iron

Fountain (Jernfontenen), purchased when the

waterworks were established in 1866.

Gradually statues of the town’s dignitaries

and purely artistic sculptures were


Broken chain by Johannes Block Hellum 1986

Shipping monument by Arnold Haukeland 1968

One work, which is very noticeable

and which has received international

attention, is Anthony Gormley’s

“Broken Column”. This comprises 23

stylized full-scale (1.95 m) casts of

the artist’s body. These are installed at

different locations, at a constant difference

in altitude equal to the height

of the statues, so that they would

have formed an unbroken column

if they had stood in the same place.

All the sculptures face the same


Alexander Kielland

by Magnus Vigrestad 1928



Broken Column, A. Gormley.

Six of a total of 23 sculptures

University of Stavanger

Development of the University of Stavanger has been called

“the Ullandhaug fairy tale”. Following a meeting at the

mayor’s office in spring 1962, a university committee for Rogaland

was established. The first challenges were to establish

university level education in the county and acquire a 120

hectare site at Ullandhaug. A university fund was established

and the Stavanger Municipality, Rogaland County Council

and local companies contributed with significant amounts. The

committee presented a strong recommendation that Norway’s

fifth university should be situated in Stavanger. It was to take

over 40 years to reach this goal.

The first step was to establish the Rogaland District College

(Rogaland Distriktshøyskole). The first building stage was

complete in autumn 1974. The previous year Rogaland Research

(Rogalandsforskning, now IRIS) was established and

the research library (Forskningsbiblioteket) was opened in

1975. The Stavanger Teacher Training College, Rogalandsdata

and Norwegian School of Hotel Management (Norsk Hotellfagskole)

were also established in the area. Over the next 30

years, the District College was changed and expanded through

mergers, name changes and several building stages.

The University of Stavanger (UiS) was officially opened by

King Harald V on 17 January 2005. A determined strategic

effort, broad support at the local political level, economic

strength in the region and efforts in the central decisionmaking

apparatus had made this event possible.

University area at Ullandhaug. Photo: Bitmap



UiS lies in a central yet rural location at Ullandhaug, approximately

4.5 km from Stavanger centre. UiS has about

8 000 students and 1 000 employees. The aim is to increase

the number of students to 9 000 by 2020. UiS has almost

100 000 m² at its disposal. The university has a variety of

teaching, research and development activities and is organized

in three faculties, Arts and Education, Social Sciences and

Science and Technology, all in the campus at Ullandhaug. In

addition, the Institute of Music and Dance is located in idyllic

surroundings at Bjergsted.

Above: Auditorium

Left: Canteen and foyer

Below: Map of university area with main buildings

Festival City

Stavanger Municipality has made a conscious effort during the

last few decades to establish and develop festivals. Stavanger

is now a leading festival city, with over 60 large and small

festivals for all groups of society, including festivals for food,

sports, music, art, literature, oil, culture, humour and film.

These have provided an important incentive in development of

the city’s artistic and cultural life and identity and represent important

values like diversity, quality, openness and accessibility.

Right: Kaizers Orchestra, Pulpit Rock festival. Photo: S. Sigbjørnsen

Opposite, top left: Gladmat festival, Strandkaien Bottom left: Grilling,

Gladmat festival. Photo: S. Sigbjørnsen. Right: Beach volleyball, World Tour

Below: The many festivals at Vågen in the summer attract large crowds.

A rest on deck between activities can be useful.



Norwegian Wood

Norwegian Wood was one of the main Stavanger 2008 projects.

Rogaland has a rich tradition of building in wood. The Norwegian

Wood project highlights this tradition, contributing at the

same time to the development of the Norwegian wooden town

with urban, modern and sustainable architecture in an exciting

interaction with the historical town. Norwegian Wood will be an

arena where possibilities within wooden buildings are studied

and tested, a showcase both nationally and internationally.

Norwegian Wood includes 10–15 building projects in Rogaland.

Common to all of these is the use of wood in an innovative

manner, an emphasis on

ecofriendly materials, energy

efficiency and the principle of

universal access.

Above: Egenes Park Below: Jåttå East

Three of the largest projects

have been initiated by the Stavanger

municipality: the new

wooden houses at Siriskjær in

the Urban Seafront, Egenes

Park at the Stavanger stadium

and the Hothouse project at

Jåttå East.



Siriskjær is the result of an international architectural competition

held by Norwegian Wood and the Stavanger Municipality

in 2006. The project includes 150 flats, with some

commercial premises on the ground floor. The concept is a

reinterpretation of the wharf warehouse rows, with a sheltered

inner side facing town while the outside opens up to the

fjord and mountains.

theme was the creation of urban qualities in the suburbs.

Inspired by Trehusbyen, the architects arranged the buildings

in a quadrant, with an almost continuous band of houses

and gardens surrounding a public park. The project is

the first low-energy project built under the direction of the

Stavanger Municipality.

Egenes Park includes 56 houses and a nursery school. The

buildings have been adapted to the surrounding area, with

terrace houses facing the existing wooden houses to the

south. Towards the stadium, the largest massive wood block

of flats in Northern Europe to date has been built.

The Hothouse project, comprising 73 houses at Jåttå East,

is the result of the Europan 7 competition, where a major

Above: Egenes Park under construction Below: Siriskjær project

Views and Walks

There are good views of Stavanger from the following five

viewpoints: Valberget, Vålandshaugen, Varden, Tastaveden

and Ullandhaug.

Even though Valberget is not open on all sides, it is possible

to see the harbour and the fjord, Old Stavanger and parts of

the city centre, as well as the nearby islands and the fjord

further out towards Ryfylke. From Vålandshaugen there is a

wide vista and it is possible to see large parts of the city and

Auglendshøyden, Ullandhaug and Mosvatnet to the south and

west. From Varden there is particularly good overview of

Storhaug and the area towards the city centre, Hillevåg and

Våland. Tastaveden is a fine location for viewing the city’s

islands and Ryfylke. The best overall view can be seen from

Ullandhaug, with a stunning 360 degree panorama of the

entire city and surrounding area.

Left: From Varden, Storhaug Above: From Ullandhaug tower

Below: From Valberg tower



From Våland tower From Tastaveden

Walks in the Central Parts of the City

1. Storhaug

This is an exciting round-walk from Obstfelders Plass (Obstfelder’s square)

to the idyllic Ramsvig, returning via Rosenli, Tou Scene and Badedammen.

The route goes through the old part of Stavanger at Blåsenborg and the

residential area along Jelsagata and round Storhaugmarka, before continuing

past Midjord and down to Ramsvig. From Ramsvig, the walk continues

along the sea, first past Rosenli and Breivig, and then through the former

industrial area from the heyday of the canning industry. The last part of the

walk follows the Blue Promenade before returning to Obstfelders Plass via

the characteristic ABC-quarter.

2. Eiganes

The Eiganes walk starts at Kiellandshagen. Many elegant timber and brick

villas were built along the historical Eiganesveien during the period from

1850 to 1920. The Kielland family’s summer residence, Ledaal, and Breidablikk

are well-known tourist attractions, but there are also many private

villas of high architectural quality. The walk ends at the Rogaland Museum

of Fine Arts where you may study the largest collection of Lars Hertervig’s

work in the country.

Jelsagata 49

Above: Ledaal. Below: Stokkabrautene

3. A Cross-section of the City

This walk starts in the harbour and goes via Old Stavanger to Store Stokkavatnet

and back (approximately 6 km in total). Along the walk, it is possible

to observe the expansion of the city and the development of the houses from

1750 to the present day. Small deviations are recommended in order to see

several interesting housing projects not on the main route.



Brochures describing the 3 walks are available at the Stavanger municipality’s Service Centre (Servicetorget). Also available is a pamphlet describing architecture

and other sights along the Blue Promenade. Other pamphlets, including one for “Old Stavanger”, are under preparation.

Planning a City

Many factors determine how a city develops. These may include

geography and climate, economy, the structure of the

community, natural resources, division of power, ideology,

technology, culture, war and peace.

Planning is currently regulated by the Planning and Building

Act. The Stavanger city council is responsible for the execution

of the Act and for the management of municipal and area

planning and building permits. There are standing committees

for planning and building issues (Kommunalstyret for

byutvikling) and for cultural matters (Kommunalstyret for

kultur). Both are served by one department, the Department

of Culture and Urban Development (Kommunalavdeling

kultur og byutvikling).

The vision of the Department of Culture and Urban Development

is to make Stavanger a “lively, green, safe and beautiful

city”, by obtaining background material, producing or processing

plans and building matters in accordance with applicable

laws and regulations and by presenting such plans and building

matters to the politicians so that they can make informed

and – at least at the time – correct decisions.

In order to carry out this process, the Department of Culture

and Urban Development has seven sections, each of which is

responsible for part of the process.

Three of the sections deal with planning and processing of

private planning proposals. Municipal Planning (Kommuneplanavdelingen)

is responsible for producing the municipal

master plan, which is updated every four years. Town Planning

(Byplanavdelingen) and Transport Planning (Transportplanavdelingen)

deal with all detailed plans such as zoning

plans and local development plans. Some of the detailed

plans are produced internally; others are submitted by private

developers or other public authorities.

Building Matters (Byggesakavdelingen) deals with all building

and construction projects which are submitted for approval

under the Planning and Building Act.

Geodata (Geodataavdelingen) produces and maintains necessary

maps and carries out land surveys.

The Cultural Heritage Office (Byantikvaren) has an important

role in the preservation and maintenance of existing buildings

of cultural value and in ensuring good building practices.

Cultural Affairs (Kulturavdelingen) is responsible for preparing

and implementing the Culture Plan, and for maintaining

the infrastructure necessary for the interaction between culture

and urban development and for the city’s cultural function and




The Future

Stavanger has experienced strong growth from the middle of the 1960s, both

economically and in population and area. Approximately 50 years ago, the

concept of the Stavanger-Sandnes “Linear City” was first described in writing.

Today, the area between the two centres is completely built up, with

Forus in the middle a destination in its own right.

Stavanger is a lively and affluent urban society. Trade and industry is largely

associated with the oil and gas activities. Work to expand the business base

is in progress. All development plans for the city and region point towards

further growth. Global challenges such as climate change, economic development

and population growth, are the backdrop for long-term planning in the


Protection of agricultural land and sustainable urban development are central

challenges for North Jæren. The Jæren Long-term Urban Development Plan

(Fylkesdelplan for langsiktig byutvikling på Jæren (FDP)) provides the

framework for urban growth up to 2040. The Stavanger Municipality is planning

for new development areas and for infill and transformation projects

within the city’s built-up areas, particularly along the main public transport


Revision of the FDP, the Strategic Commercial Plan (Strategisk næringsplan)

for the Stavanger region and the Municipal Master Plan for Stavanger is ongoing.

The Stavanger region aims to be nationally and internationally recognized

as open, energetic and creative. Cooperation between the commercial

sector, the university, research establishments and the public sector creates a

solid foundation for further development towards this goal.

Above: The “Linear City”

Right: Forus towards


Opposite: The Jæren

Long-term Urban

Development Plan (FDP)



City Rail System


Bus Route



Bus Corridor

Development Area


Long-term Boundary


Built-up Area

Green Area

Core Area Agriculture


The Department of Culture and Urban Development is a

multi-faceted department, with expertise in many areas. Its

employees have been the most important source of information

in this book. The Parks and Sports Department (Park og

idrett) and City Archives (Byarkivet) have also contributed.

The Stavanger Historical Society (Byhistorisk Forening Stavanger)

(home page www.byhistoriskforening.org) and the

following books have also been useful:

“En by tar form”

Author Anders Haaland, editor Unnleiv Bergsgard.

Publisher Wigestrand, in cooperation with the Stavanger

Architectural Society, 1999

Stavangers bebyggelse 1945-1965 – Den sosialdemokratiske


Unnleiv Bergsgard

Stavanger Museum’s year book, volume 115 (2005), 2007

Useful Web Sites

There are many web sites with in-depth or specialized information

about Stavanger and the Stavanger region, far too many to

list here.

Visitors as well as locals will find www.regionstavanger.com

useful. This is a comprehensive multilingual portal for the whole

region, with a wealth of information and useful links. The site is

updated daily.

Another very informative web site is www.stavanger-guide.no,

especially its multilingual guide maps.

The Stavanger municipality’s own web site

www.stavanger.kommune.no gives useful information about

the local authority’s operations, access to a range of maps, and

assistance with many services. An English version is currently

under development.

”Rom for alle – Stavanger Boligbyggelag gjennom 50 år”

Oddvar Lavold

Stavanger Boligbyggelag, 1996

Opposite: Kirkegata ca 1900. Photo: C. J. Jacobsen.



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