Architectural highlights in Bodø and Salten

A museum building inspired by Knut Hamsun’s literary characters,
a toilet shaped like a wave, and an award-winning cultural quarter
– in Bodø and Salten, there are several architectural curiosities worth visiting

The Hamsun centre

The Hamsun Center is a unique building designed to create a feeling of being inside Knut Hamsun’s literary world. The building is designed as a labyrinth and contains exhibitions that focus on Hamsun’s life and work as an author, as well as themes from his books. The Hamsun Center also has a beautiful location by the Glimma ocean current in Hamarøy, giving visitors the opportunity to experience the beautiful nature in the area while exploring the architecture and cultural heritage. If you look closely, you will find the tufts of hair on the roof, and the elevator installation inside illustrates the spine of the building.

The fascinating tower invites you on a discovery journey, and in the extensive exhibition, you can explore Knut Hamsun’s controversial life and literature. The windows and balconies encourage you to see and listen to the landscape that Knut Hamsun grew up in, and which inspired world-famous books such as Pan, Markens grøde og Landstrykere.

Hamsunsenteret is designed by the architect Steven Holl.


The wave-shaped building that has been called “the world’s most beautiful public restroom” by international media several times. In addition to being an iconic toilet, Ureddplassen is also a rest stop and a war memorial.

Ureddplassen has a strong history. The place is named after the Norwegian submarine KNM “Uredd”, which hit an underwater mine in Fugløyfjorden in 1943. The accident cost the lives of 42 people, and when the submarine was found in 1987, a memorial was mounted at the site for those who had fallen

In recent times, Ureddplassen has undergone a major upgrade, and today the rest area has a nine-meter wide terrace overlooking the fjord, beautiful marble benches, and a stair amphitheater that leads down to the beach area.

The Arctic Hideaway

In the midst of the open sea west of Bodø lies The Arctic Hideaway. On the island group Fleinvær in Gildeskål, you will find this gem of a facility consisting of nine small houses built to provide inspiration and peace in a wild and beautiful coastal landscape.

Fleinvær has no cars, no shops, but a high sky and an endless horizon. If you look to the right, you can gaze out towards the Lofoten Wall.

A bathhouse with two toilets, a sauna on the pier, a kitchen building, a studio house/lounge, and a sky and sea observatory inspired by Njalla (a Sami storage hut).


In Steigen, you can visit the distinctive Manshausen cabins, designed to complement nature and its surroundings. Here, you can experience the feeling of being immersed in nature while staying warm and cozy behind the large glass windows.

The place is owned by polar explorer Børge Ousland, known for his groundbreaking expeditions in the Arctic and Antarctic – expeditions that push the boundaries of what was once thought possible.

Børge bought Manshausen in 2010 and soon decided to share this untouched and rarely visited part of Northern Norway with others. The award-winning architect Snorre Stinessen, renowned for his modern style and ability to integrate architecture with nature, was commissioned to design the cabins.

The Stormen Cultural Quarter

The Stormen Cultural Quarter was completed in the heart of Bodø in 2014. The intention behind the two buildings was to create new attractive venues for art, literature, and culture in the city center.

An architectural competition was held in 2009, and ultimately, the architects Daniel Rosbottom and David Howarth, from the London-based architectural firm DRDH, won with their contribution called “Urban Figures.”

“Urban Figures” features two buildings composed of sections of varying heights and designs, reflecting the city’s other structures. The large facade of the library facing the harbor resembles an open book. If you stand on the middle floor of the concert hall at the back, you can enjoy a fantastic view of the harbor through the windows of the library building.

Bodø City Hall

Bodø City Hall connects the old and the new in an exciting combination of open modernity and venerable tradition.

On October 1, 2019, Bodø’s new city hall opened after a construction period of just over two years. Both the old city hall from 1959 and the former bank building next to it were preserved, and the new city hall was built on top of them.

In addition to the old clock tower, it is the new building that leaves the strongest impression when you see the new city hall from the outside. The Danish architects ALL (Atelier Lorentzen and Langkilde) have created a whole comprised of the yellow-brown plaster facade of the city hall, the dark gray stone facade of the old bank building, and a new, angular stone facade in the 7,100 square meter new building.

You can find the city hall as a landmark building at Kongens gate 23 in the center of Bodø.

Norwegian Jekt Trade Museum in Bodø

In a spectacular landscape, in Bodøsjøen, just outside the city center of Bodø, you will find the Norwegian Jekt Trade Museum.

The building consists of three parts seamlessly joined together: a service and communication building, a large jekte hall, and an exhibition and activity hall. The jekte hall was constructed around the large jekt called “Anna Karoline,” which acts as the centerpiece of the exhibition. The history of jektefart (coastal trade) will be central to all parts of the building.

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