"The new government building complex should be modern. We will create a living, safe urban area with the best working conditions and the work starts now," says Minister of Local Government and Modernisation Jan Tore Sanner, marking the occasion of construction work starting in the complex on Monday.
The government took a number of decisions earlier in the year on the choice of concept for the complex, and construction work is now starting.
"Building the new complex is a massive project. We want to follow rational processes to decide what the complex will become whilst getting started with the necessary construction work," states Sanner.
Statsbygg started to demolish the 'S-block' government building on 1 October. Demolition is scheduled to be complete in the winter of 2015, when work will then start on building a new infrastructure for the complex. Demolition and construction of the new infrastructure can be performed independent of other decisions on the new complex.
Traffic during the construction period
Outdoor areas in the complex are currently used by pedestrians and cyclists as a thoroughfare. They are popular with tourists and used on a daily basis by employees and visitors to the government buildings. Construction work and traffic will be a feature of this part of the inner city for some time to come.
"We want the new government building complex to be open and with plenty of public spaces. We also want it to be accessible to the public during the construction phase as far as possible," says Sanner.
The government has decided that the Høyblokka tower block and open space on Akersgata will be retained in the new complex. During the autumn construction period, a new passage will be opened running through Høyblokka's reception. Sheets will be hung on Høyblokka showing the original facade, and allowing the use of Johan Nygaardsvolds place during the construction period.
"Høyblokka is an important part of our history, and we want to retain it moving forward. The fact that we are opening a thoroughfare through the building reflects the level of openness we want to achieve," says Sanner.
Clearing up in the area
The ministry places special emphasis on aesthetics, use and the urban environment, plus of course security in the complex during construction.
The concrete elements currently used to prevent vehicular access will gradually be replaced by more functional and aesthetic solutions. Public information on development of the complex will be provided for visitors and workers.
Information Centre on 22 July in the government building complex
Sanner intends to open an information centre on the events of 22 July.
"We have decided to open an Information Centre in the complex on what happened 22 July 2011, and with details of what's going on here now," states Sanner.
The actual details of establishing the Information Centre will be discussed in dialogue with the 22 July national support group and the AUF.