In 2003, MVRDV together with Norwegian firms Dark and A-lab, won the competition for the Bjørvika waterfront development with the design of the Bjørvika Barcode, a dense urban masterplan along Nyland Allé , which will be developed and realised by Oslo S Utvikling (OSU) in different phases. The masterplan comprises 220,000 m2 of mixed program. Construction on the first buildings within the Barcode started in 2005 and completion is estimated for 2016, with MVRDV’s DNB Headquarters completed in 2012.


Location: Oslo, Norway

Year: 2003-2016

Client: Oslo S Utvikling (OSU), Oslo, Norway

Program: 14.5 Ha masterplan including offices and public space

Budget: Undisclosed



Oslo Cityprisen, Oslo, NO



The Barcode masterplan is open to the public at ground level, where the majority of the space is commercial or cultural. Visit the museum while you are there to learn about the history of the site and see artefacts dug up during the construction process. For those wishing to take the train, Oslo Central Station is directly adjacent to the site.

Address: Dronning Eufemias gate, 0191 Oslo, Norway



The masterplan occupies a unique site in the city between the expanse of the fjord and a major transport hub that combines the Central station and highways. The goal of the project is to maximise urban and architectural diversity as well as spatial flexibility, and the realization of a pedestrian-friendly zone in the centre of Oslo. The site is divided into narrow strips, creating the so-called ‘Barcode’. Each building has one façade facing the fjord and one the transport hub on the opposite side to maximise views, number of addresses and flexible space for housing, office, commercial or cultural programs. Each building has its own identity and material expression while relating to their adjacent buildings in shape and architecture.

The masterplan was shaped early on in the process with a series of 'urban rules' as guidance. Examples of these rules include the differentiation in height and width of each building, the minimum width of passages between buildings, a minimum of 50% green outdoor space on horizontal surfaces, and that each program should be present in all phases to create a balanced development from the beginning.


The Barcode consists of 11 buildings designed by different architecture firms according to these rules, selected by individual commissions and organized competitions. In total, the masterplan accommodates 135,300m2 offices, of which 80,000 m2 will form the new headquarter-complex of DnB NOR and 36,200m2 for housing. The ground level of each building is reserved for commercial and cultural facilities, with 8,100m2 of public program. All buildings in the Barcode are connected by underground levels which will contain parking and technical facilities and communal program. Included in this area is a museum devoted to the archaeological finds on the site during the Barcode's construction. In particular, a series of 16th and 17th-century boats will take pride of place in the museum.


The execution of the masterplan allows for a phased development. Each building is constructed independently from the others with the public space around becoming a 24h-accessible, animated, pedestrian-zone.


For MVRDV's project for Norwegian Bank DNB's Headquarters which forms part of the Barcode development see DNB Headquarters (Projects).



Design: MVRDVWiny Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries

Design Team:

Competition Phase: Winy Maas, Marc Joubert, Jeroen Zuidgeest with Sven Thorissen and Ole Schröderm Anders Nis-Handsen, Ross Adams and Patricia Mata-Mayrand

Design Phase: Winy Maas, Marc Joubert, Jeroen Zuidgeest with Gudjon Kjartansson and Joanna Gasparski



Co-architects: A-lab, Oslo, Norway and DARK, Oslo, Norway

Model: Made by Mistake, Delft, The Netherlands

Software: cThrough, Eindhoven, The Netherlands

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