Toneheim Folkehøgskole Norway, Hamar school building, Norwegian architecture, Tun vernacular design

Toneheim Folkehøgskole in Hamar, Norway

27 July 2023

Architects: ASAS arkitektur

Location: Hamar, Norway

Toneheim Folkehoegskole Hamar Norway

Photos by Fredrik Myhre, Ola Spangen, Niklas Hart – ASAS arkitektur

Toneheim Folkehøgskole, Norway

ASAS arkitektur introduces a new student housing project, built to replace existing housing at Toneheim Folkehøgskole, just outside the city of Hamar, Norway. The small wooden village has been erected around a common yard, which is a Norwegian traditional typology called “tun”. The new village-like structure is vernacular and deeply rooted in the site and history.

Toneheim Folkehoegskole Hamar Norway


The idea behind the structure is one simple building block, repeated and varied according to its placement on the site and its orientation. Through this principle, the terrain is left mostly as is, with every building block given an accessible entrance. Each building block consists of five 2-person bedrooms, a common room with a kitchen and lounge, and bathroom facilities. The common rooms and the entrance zones are all oriented towards the common yard. Every student passes the common room on their way in and out of the building, which stimulates interaction between students. The 2-person rooms put restrictions on the amount of private space, encouraging students to interact with each other in the common areas.

Toneheim Folkehoegskole Norway

Toneheim Folkehoegskole Norway

Flexibility and efficiency

The plan is compact, with efficient buildings in terms of space, energy, and economics. The flexible bedroom plans can be furnished in a multitude of ways, and are also wheelchair accessible. Storage space in the bedrooms is maximized, with space both underneath the bed and in a wall niche located above each bed.

Toneheim Folkehoegskole Hamar

Multipurpose stair tower

The stairs are integrated into the common room and create a smaller, more private space within the common room. In these small, intimate rooms, students can read or make telephone calls. Spaces that the stairs create establish connections between private and social spaces, as well as connections between the interior and exterior. The stair tower is also an important internal and external element in terms of the shape of the house, and an important environmental element, with skylights in the stairwell contributing a generous shower of daylight along the walls.

Toneheim Folkehoegskole Hamar Toneheim Folkehoegskole Norway


The common rooms are all oriented towards the new common yard. To ensure that the big, open space functions well, a new in-between zones have been introduced. The in-between zones consist of smaller spaces between the yard and the entrance zones to the different rooms. These smaller spaces are furnished with benches and robust plants, and they connect to walking axes through the area. Natural spaces to meet and spend time have also been created in the yard, with a variety of unique qualities and connections to the entire project.

Toneheim Folkehoegskole Hamar

Small outdoor benches have been established in the façade of the buildings and connect the common rooms inside with the yard. Tactile attention zones and guiding lines are integrated in the walking paths to ensure orientation for the visually impaired. The bedrooms in the houses in the south and the west have an astonishing views towards rural Stangelandet, and the bedrooms to the northeast have views towards the Vang Kirke church.

Toneheim Folkehoegskole Hamar Norway

Fruit trees and robust bushes requiring very little maintenance are preferred in the “tun”, including Juneberry, which flowers in the spring and provides berries in the autumn. Katsura trees and pines have also been planted between the student housing and the neighbouring houses, creating a veil of autumn colours and interesting leaf shapes.

Toneheim Folkehoegskole Hamar Norway

To maintain traffic safety, a tactile zone is marked up where the walking paths cross the street between the school entrance and the student housing.

Toneheim Folkehoegskole Norway

Construction and materials

The buildings are made of wood and concrete, with the concrete constructions based on element production to reduce the building time. All buildings are passive houses with mainly wooden, pre-fabricated constructions as primary elements. Massive wood is used for the inner walls and external spruce cladding, providing the buildings with a grey patina as they age. The chosen construction concept reduced the building time and improves the indoor climate.

Toneheim Folkehoegskole Hamar

Environment: climate and energy

The student housing is designed according to the passive house standard. A compact plan and a chained building structure provide smaller facades, thus limiting the loss of heat from the building blocks. All windows have very low U-values and can also work as sun catchers for heat at the time of day and year when it is feasible.

Toneheim Folkehoegskole Hamar


The new village and tun is a place where students, teachers, and others can thrive, both inside and outside. It is a place where traditions meet modern architecture, with an accent of personal expression. In effect, it is wellbeing architecture.

Toneheim Folkehøgskole in Hamar, Norway – Building Information

Architect: ASAS arkitektur –
Design team: Ola Spangen, James Watkins, Katrine Aursand, Dag Spangen, Mads Jansen, Øyvind Sundli, Silje Romedal, Mari Færevaag, Espen Nordli Larsen

Location: Ridabu, Hamar, Norway
Year: 2011 – 2020

Landscape: Atsite
Area: 3.000 sqm
Photo credits: Fredrik Myhre, Ola Spangen, Niklas Hart

Toneheim Folkehoegskole Hamar Norway

ASAS Hamar / Oslo

About ASAS

Based in the Norwegian cities of Hamar and Oslo, ASAS is an established and independent architecture office founded in 1980. The company consists of 20 architects, interior designers, urbanists, graphic designers, and administrative personnel in a nonhierarchical system with a social profile. The firm has earned a reputation as a versatile, playful, and tidy architecture office, with a focus on a healthy working culture. Their mantra is ‘precision at all levels’.

ASAS promises its clients solid and innovative projects, with close collaboration to ensure agreement on the precise objectives of a project. Varying approaches are essential to successful results, and ASAS ideas and concepts are put to paper by hand as a main working tool. Hand sketching is supplied by testing spatial qualities in physical models before projects enter the 3D digital world, providing the firm’s teams time to investigate the optimal relation between form, space, and function, and to choose the correct strategy for sustainability, systems, and materials.

Toneheim Folkehoegskole Norway

Photography: Fredrik Myhre, Ola Spangen, Niklas Hart – ASAS arkitektur

Toneheim Folkehoegskole, Hamar, Norway, Norway images / information received 270723 from ASAS arkitektur

Location: Ridabu, Hamar, Norway

Norwegian Architecture

Contemporary Norwegian Buildings

Norwegian Building Designs – chronological list

Architecture Tours in Oslo by e-architect

Norwegian Architecture News

Norwegian Architect

Norwegian Architecture – Selection

The Treetop Walk, Hamaren Activity Park, Fyresdal
Architects: EFFEKT
The Treetop Walk Fyresdal Norway
photo : Rasmus Hjortshøj
The Treetop Walk, Norway

Ski Tower, Akershus, Southern Norway
Ski Tower Akershus Southern Norway Housing
photos : Kyrre Sundal and Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter
Ski Tower, Akershus Southern Norway Housing

Holmen Industrial Area, Vesterålen, Nordland county, Northern Norway
Architects: Snøhetta
Holmen Industrial Area in Vesteralen Norway
photograph © Stephen Citrone
Holmen Industrial Area in North Norway

Oslo Buildings

Comments / photos for the Toneheim Folkehøgskole in Hamar, Norway design by ASAS arkitektur page welcome