Norway Plans On Building The World’s Tallest Wooden Building

Illustration by Reiulf Ramstad Architects.


The Norwegian Barents Secretariat wants to materialise the role of the High North with the building of a signature building in the Arctic border town of Kirkenes. The building will be the highest wooden building ever constructed, and made in line with the best possible environmental standards.

Being a centre in the Barents cooperation and a bridgehead in Norwegian High North policies, the Norwegian border town of Kirkenes has long played an important role in Norwegian foreign policy. It is in Kirkenes that Norway meets Russia. Here geopolitics have for centuries been a vital factor in shaping society and the relations across borders.

The Norwegian Barents Secretariat in a press release highlights the timing for the project. Now is the time for the construction of a physical symbol of this important role. A signature building which displays the importance of continued positive developments in the High North.

“The new Barents House must be of such significance that people would want to go there from afar to experience the house. It must be an attraction and a landmark which is beyond any other similar building. As important is the ambition of making the building a centre for knowledge development, especially about the High North and Norwegian-Russian relations, and a place for the gathering and assembly of international High North interests,” says Secretary General Rune Rafaelsen at the Norwegian Barents Secretariat.


It is the Oslo-based architect firm Reiulf Ramstad Architects which is now working on the plan to build the world’s highest building ever constructed in wood. It will become a monument of 16-17 floors, all built in natural materials with innovative and environmental solutions in all parts of the building.

“The idea is to construct a building which will be CO2-neutral, where the concept of the cycles of nature will be preserved. The innovative solutions on modern wooden constructions will stand as a token of the level of competence in the region,” says architect Reiulf Ramstad.


Rafaelsen believes the Barents House project could attract resources and a wide range of competence of various expertises from the three northernmost counties of Norway. The project would be situated in downtown Kirkenes, on the historical ground of a multiethnic area of Kirkenes. It is planned to contribute to the further development of cooperation between Russians, Finns, Swedes, Saamis and Norwegians.


“The new Barents House will function as a lighthouse for the development of the Barents Region and the regional border cooperation in the North,” says Rafaelsen. The building will include a number of facilities, among them a library, a theatre and a creative environment for artists, researchers, students and other relevant institutions. The Norwegian Barents Secretariat, the International Barents Secretariat and the Barents Institute will of course also have their offices in the building.


“I do not think we will have any difficulties in filling up the approximately 10 000 square metres the building will consist of,” says Rafaelsen.


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