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Karl Johans Gate

Karl Johans Gate

Karl Johans gate is Oslo’s main boulevard leading from the Central Station through the central shopping district and up to the Royal Palace.  Snøhetta re-designed the historic streetscape to create more engaging public and green spaces for pedestrians, and improve stormwater management and the streetscape’s pavement.


The designers focused on enhancing the dramatic perspective of the new Karl Johans gate by reinforcing the strong middle axis.  The pavement on the south side was re-finished to create a symmetrical street profile. During the day, the curbs and shadow further enforce this perspective. All vertical elements placed on the pavement, like light- and flagpoles, are also defined by these lines. At night, the perspective is highlighted through the rhythm of the streetlight poles. 


More than 50 custom-made details and elements have been designed for this project. The large scale of the details reflects the importance of this project. The rainwater runoff from the Parliament and the Palace meet at the lowest point on Karl Johans gate, and is then transported by drain elements designed as infrastructural sculptures which lead the water to the underground river ‘Bislettbekken’.

Landscape, Public Space, Master Planning, Infrastructure, Renovation & Expansion

2003 - 2005




Oslo, Norway


Urban Design


10 000m2


Oslo Municipality

The Main Shopping Street of Oslo.

By expanding the width of the streetside pedestrian areas, they now appear as proud promenades leading to the Castle, home to outdoor restaurants and cafés on both sides. 

A number of large lime trees have been planted to complete the row of existing trees, creating a strong lush green facade facing the avenue.