Main entrance. The first floor window has a view of the Himalayas.

Main entrance. The first floor window has a view of the Himalayas.

Inner entrance court. The embassy is located within the dense building fabric of Kathmandu.

Security gates protecting the inner court.

Model. Entrance court in the foreground.

Roof overhang clad in light travertine, retaining walls in natural stone.

The new Norwegian Embassy is a freestanding building in the garden of the older villa. The villa, which formerly housed the embassy, is to be demolished to make way for a new ambassador’s residence. The site measures about 4000 sq.m. The design of the building and its landscape are intended to present a modest, yet up-to-date and quality-conscious image of Norway. At the same time the design and detailing should not be entirely alien to Nepalese architecture and the use of materials should reflect local building traditions. Most of the building is on a single level and has a low profile in the landscape, apart from a small two-storey volume marking the main entrance. This gives the rooms in the upper floor a panoramic view of the Himalayas, which are reflected in a long zigzag-shaped ”Himalayan window”.

Natural stone of high quality has been used throughout, and shelves planted with vegetation are built into the walls. The aim is to present Norwegian culture through an open and transparent working environment, where the various rooms are divided by glass partitions. A long hallway links the offices and common rooms and opens onto a south-facing terrace. External steps, the foundation wall and the outer walls of the basement are faced with slate. The top-floor facades and the slab edges are faced with light-coloured travertine. Nepalese sesau wood has been used for pergolas, ventilation grilles and some elements of the facade. The main structure is a stiff framework of columns and beams, with free-spanning slabs of in-situ concrete, in accordance with the requirements for buildings in earthquake areas. The detailing was developed by local consultants in cooperation with Kristin Jarmund Arkitekter. Local entrepreneurs and local workmen were used. Statsbygg (The Directorate of Public Construction and Property) provided temporary accommodation for the workmen and their families for the duration of the project.