The Watch

Wooden Architecture of Trondheim

Trondheim, Norway

1998 World Monuments Watch

Few of Norway's original wooden towns exist. Fires, urban renewal, indifferent owners have reduced many to dereliction. In Trondheim, though, considerable parts of the historic town center are filled with log buildings covered with wood panels. Korsgata (Cross Street), for instance, is a typical residential street lined with such buildings, most of which have remained unchanged since their erection. Part of the millennial celebration for Trondheim in 1997 will focus on the preservation of these wooden structures because they are at risk of being compromised with inappropriate new materials and additions. In 1969, the University of Trondheim bought the site of Korsgata and began demolishing its buildings; public demonstrations halted the destruction. But since then, the properties have been rented to low-income tenants and maintenance has been neglected. The university is now selling the properties and it is feared that the rehabilitations undertaken by new owners may wholly transform the houses. Guidelines for the sensitive restoration of this enclave of buildings need to be established, which, in turn, could be applied to Norway's other wooden towns.

Since the Watch

A student-run organization that provides housing for university students in Trondheim took ownership of the threatened areas. Some historic buildings were preserved, but others were demolished to construct new dormitories. Housing supply has struggled to keep up with the growing student population of Trondheim. January 2011.

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