The House of Literature, Fredrikstad.

The House of Literature, Fredrikstad.

Site overview. The blue circle marks the building site.

The view down Agentgata, which has been opened right down to the river's edge.

The main entrance from Storgata.

The secondary building.

From the secondary building, which houses the administration offices of the Church City Mission. The Harbourside Chapel.

Ground floor. From the entrance to restaurant Fabel you can see through into the bookshop café.

Restaurant Fabel, with the concrete table.
Foto: Trygve Flæbu Jørundland

Restaurant Fabel, with the specially designed wine store in the background.

From the 2nd floor foyer, the lounge.

From the foyer outside the main auditorium, second floor.

From the 2nd floor foyer. The bookshelf is full of books donated by the public.
Foto: Ola Sommerfeldt

The new Market Square used to be a parking lot. The raised lawn gives greenery but prevents wear.
Foto: Berg & Dyring

The lighting emphasises the new places and directions.
Foto: Berg & Dyring

Plan of the Market Square. House of Literature to the left.

Ground floor plan.

First floor plan.

Second floor plan.

Third floor plan.


The new House of Literature in the coastal town of Fredrikstad is the result of a limited design competition following a fire in 2008. In contrast to many other similar ventures, the Fredrikstad House of Literature is privately financed and operated by a local property company, combining a number of separate ventures in one building, open to the public.
The building is located next to a former riverside market square and houses a book café and bookshop, a literary organisation, two restaurants, a drawing workshop and the Institute of Journalism, with a local charity housed in a connected building across the street, part of the same development.
The interior is exposed and given views and direction through a number of “cuts” into the basic timber cube of the building. The cladding is wide Accoya boards with a light stain.

The main idea of the interiors is to create a meeting place where everyone can come by, to grab a coffee or buy a book or for an evening out with a show and dinner. The vertical communication spirals up around the central core, giving the public sequential access to all public and semi-public functions. The materials are direct and rough, with the concrete of the core walls only partly covered with partitions and shelves in dark wood.

The Market Square
When the car park was relocated underground, the square could be reinstated as a public area. The design combines green park features like trees and a raised lawn with hard paving for intense use including outdoor events. The lawn is bounded by a granite ledge with integral lighting, and a fountain of pulsating jets and fibre optic lights provides variation.