Architectural wonders: 5 spots in Oslo worth visiting for their dreamy design

By Linnéa Pesonen

Photo: Getty

Architectural masterpieces can be discovered all over the capital. Vogue Scandinavia rounds up five unmissable buildings that will keep your focus

Oslo is a city brimming with activities. Whether it’s the blossoming restaurant scene, great shopping opportunities or scenic outdoor galleries, there is lots to keep you occupied. And for the design fans, architectural gems can be found sprinkled across the city. Plus, taking a tour is easy, as many buildings are within a short walking distance, so you can easily slot a couple of viewings into your day.


Below, Vogue Scandinavia has compiled a list of the most visually-arresting design-led spots to find in the Norwegian capital.


Deichman Bjørvika library

Photo: Erik Thallaug

Located right next to the Oslo Opera House is the Deichman Bjørvika, Oslo’s main public library, a design collaboration between Lund Hagem Architects and Atelier Oslo. It has quickly cemented its place as one of the city’s must-see landmarks, having been chosen as the best public library in the world back in 2021. With six floors bathing in natural light thanks to the huge glass windows, the inside of the library features a distinctive, angular design and an earthy colour palette. A rainy day in Oslo beckons to be spent here.

Anne-Cath, Vestlys plass 1, 0150 Oslo, Norway


Sommerro Hotel

The hotel's main restaurant, The Expedition Hall. Photo: Francisco Nogueira

Located in west Oslo’s Frogner, one of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods, the Sommerro Hotel opened its doors in 2022 and has since become a regular spot for fashion insiders and celebrities alike.

Originally the Oslo Lysverker, the city's electrical company designed by acclaimed Norwegian architects Andreas Bjercke and Georg Eliassen, the once government-owned building has now been transformed into a vibrant and decadent space boasting a hotel, three bars, four restaurants and even a rooftop pool.

Photo: Francisco Nogueira

Photo: Francisco Nogueira

Adorned with elaborate art deco detailing preserved from the original, the hotel’s exteriors are a mix of neoclassical aesthetics and functionalist features, while the interiors, imagined by designers Alice Lund and Adam Greco, take their cues from Norway’s rich history and culture. But it’s the hotel’s public areas and guest rooms which are really special, drawing from the colour schemes found in artist Gerhard Munthe’s paintings. This is a must-stay for any design nerds.

Sommerrogata 1, 0255 Oslo, Norway


The Barcode Project

Photo: @designwanted

Photo: @icko_arnaudov

One of Oslo’s newest areas, the Barcode Project, is located just behind the Oslo Opera House and the Munch Museum. Imagined by a host of different architect firms, including Dark Arkitekter, A-lab, Snøhetta and MVRDV, the project consists of 12 high-rise multipurpose buildings built on repurposed industrial land. The area’s name stems from the gaps that separate each construction, making it resemble a barcode – clever, really. Featuring cutting edge design, the district boasts everything from apartments to restaurants and galleries and looks especially eye-catching at night.


Oslo Opera House

Photo: Getty

Situated right on the waterfront, just a stone’s throw away from the city centre, the striking Oslo Opera House, built in 2008, is one to scribble on your ‘to-visit’ list. Created by Norwegian architect firm Snøhetta, the building’s design was based around the sentiment that the outdoors should be enjoyed by everyone. (Luckily in Norway it is). This idea resulted in a construction where people can walk up the sloped sides of the opera house and enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the city and the fjord. The white, angular facade adorned with enormous windows gives the illusion of the building rising up out of the water.

And if you're seeing a performance inside, be sure to take a good look around, as the interiors are quite something. Crafted largely from oak, the main hall is shaped like a horseshoe, inspired by classical theatres of the past.

Kirsten Flagstads pl. 1 N-0150 Oslo, Norway


Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art

A long-time favourite of art enthusiasts and architecture buffs, the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art sits on the waterfront in Tjuvholmen, a peninsula located southwest of Oslo’s city centre. Designed by acclaimed Italian architect Renzo Piano, the mastermind behind New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, the museum takes its inspiration from a ship’s sails – the building’s maritime-inspired curved roof is crafted from thick glass and its walls from weathered timber.

Spend a few hours meandering around the local area, known as the art hub of Oslo, as you can find a myriad of other galleries, too. Our recommendation? End on Gallery Haaken and Gallery M35 to really get your culture fix.

Strandpromenade 2, 0252 Oslo, Norway