Youngskvartalet is a rehabilitation project which forms one of the iconic corners facing Young´s Square "Youngstorget", which is located in the heart of Oslo, Norway. The overall reconstruction of Youngskvartalet was to balance historical values with the modern needs. It comprised of rehabilitating three heritage brick buildings and developing a new commercial building in the former courtyard which is an extension of an existing office building. Even though the three heritage buildings and the new commercial building are detached from each other, they are tied together with a smaller common public courtyard to create a sense of context and tension in the meeting between the old and new.
The full-scale renewal and renovation of the three brick buildings date back to the second half of the 19th century (1861 - 1874) and defined and characterized Oslo’s earliest masonry settlement. The brick buildings were forgotten and at risk of being demolished before they were heritage listed in 2002. It housed diverse ventures in the past, includinga butcher shop, a brewery, and stables. The buildings' former life remains visible in the new interiors where existing wooden beams and brick walls are preserved and left exposed to reveal memories from the past.
The facades are now open to the public and have been restored and incorporated into the original materials and surfaces. Seven innovative restaurants are located at street level to make them more accessible to the public. The restaurant area makes adaptive reuse of the former butcher shop and brewery. Each restaurant is distinctly different from each other, creating divergent atmospheres and bringing life to the square. By stripping down and unveiling the space's history, the floors above contain light and airy office spaces were pre-existing, preserved skylights and timber structures are exposed.
The former courtyard has been converted into an eight-story commercial building which links together with the former central core within the existing building. Social areas such as a café are located at ground level while office spaces occupy the top floors. The exterior façade is fully cladded with prefabricated elements in copper and demonstrates an innovative use of today’s construction methods with mechanized seaming that span from each floor level. The design strategy for using copper was employed so over time the copper would oxidize and integrate the new commercial building with its surrounding context. Moreover, with its unique visual and sustainable characteristics, it forms a calm, harmonizing backdrop to the heritage buildings. The overall design of "Youngskvartalet" has enforced a sense of identity, creating a new and exciting urban environment in Oslo city center.