Stavanger and Sandnes in Western Norway are growing together as twin cities, boosted by the fast growing oil industry in the area. Dale valley is located between the two cities on the other side of Grandsfjord. The settlement of the valley dates back to the Viking era. In 1912, a closed hospital complex was built in the Dale valley, which operated until 1980. Recently, the building has been used as a centre for asylum seekers and war refugees. Now the Rogaland general plan proposes a district of 2,000 dwellings for 7,000 people in the Dale valley. In addition to apartment buildings, also a school, kindergartens, service facilities and retail spaces are planned. The time frame for the completion of the development is estimated at 30 years.
The main building of Dale hospital was built in 1911–1913 according to plans by Norwegian architect Sigur Lunde. The imposing building, reminiscent of Alpine hotels, overlooks the sea; in front of the main facade is a pretty park with an old orchard. The building with its symmetrical layout was decorated with corner towers and overhangs, and characterized by windows that follow a classical rhythm. In the 1960s, the hospital went through a major conversion, and the original art deco elements were removed from the facade. The building became more functional but from today’s perspective sadly also a rather characterless colossus.
The first phase of the reconstruction project for Dale consists of two stages: the reconstruction of the former hospital’s main building and its conversion into an apartment building and the construction of new apartment buildings and terrace houses within the same ensemble.
The focus of the project is the renovation of the main building to create a symbiosis of historical and contemporary architecture. The towers on the seafront facade of the building, the art deco elements and windowpanes will be restored according to old drawings and photographs. Because it was built as a hospital, the internal structure of the building opens as a system of wards from the central hallway. This is not suitable for an apartment building, and therefore, it is planned to save only the main facade and the walls of the corner towers and build a new bearing construction that almost doubles the depth of the building.
A restaurant, gallery and hiking equipment shop will be opened on the ground floor. Sixty-six new apartments will be planned so that both morning and afternoon light reaches all apartments. All living rooms overlook the park and the fjord; the bedrooms face the mountains. Starting from the third floor, the apartments will have roof terraces: the floors behind the roof recede stepwise creating balconies. The shape of the roof will be maintained as an imaginary notation in the form of a geometric metal lattice.
The facade of the building will have a comprehensive lighting design that floods the building in the evening to make it visible even for passers-by on the other side of the fjord. The design of the reconstruction is rather unusual in the Stavanger region but has been approved by the heritage authorities.
New buildings with 159 apartments will surround the main building. These will include apartment buildings, terrace houses and detached houses, all built using prefabricated modules. The dwellings with large windows and panoramic views will be located away from the main building offering sea views even for those on the furthest hill-side.