Benk: Haugar

Project description


We are three architecture students from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. In the early summer of 2014 we have designed and built a park bench, as a voluntary student project and a gift to the city of Tønsberg, the oldest city in Norway. The park bench is located in the park between Haugar Vestfold Art Museum and the former city library. Haugar is a historic location, been the site of the ancient assembly (Thing) of Haugating and Viking era mounds.


Jonas and Simen are both from Tønsberg, and had been talking about how fun it would be to do a small-scale, hands-on type of project in their hometown. Simen and Trond had simultaneously talked about designing and making furniture. The natural result being the three of them teaming up for an urban furniture project in Tønsberg.


We have met a great deal of benevolence amongst businesses and the municipality. The municipality really liked the idea we had, and was kind enough to let us pick out the project site. The local carpenter and furniture maker Timber AS sponsored the project with French oak and let us use their woodshop. The stainless, acid proof steel is sponsored by the Oslo-based metal supplier Astrup AS. The welding work was performed by local business H Henriksen Mekaniske Verksted.



The bench top is a massive, heavy wood structure, sustained by thin steel bolts, seemingly placed at random. In reality the steel bolts are part of one balanced steel frame, partially buried and anchored underground.

Having locked down on the site before starting the design process, we were able to make a design specifically for this place, and we are really happy with the result.

Haugar is a height in the middle of the city core, with Viking era mounds. This was also the location for Haugating (ancient assembly) in the 1200s and 1300s. Today, Haugar is site for the county museum of contemporary art, in the old premises of Tønsberg Sailor Academy.

To reflect today’s use of Haugar, as a museum of contemporary art, we wanted to make something exciting and different, but at the same time calm and modest, out of respect for this historic place. We believe we have accomplished this.

Seen from a distance, the intention behind the design is apparent. Against the dark brick wall of the museum or against the bright sky above the city, the massive wooden top is «hovering» over the ground, only supported by thin legs placed seemingly at random.

More info / Contact

Simen Andreas Aas /

Fact box

Owner / Beneficiary                         Municipality of Tønsberg

Location                                              Tønsberg, Norway


Sponsoring partners                         Timber AS (wood)

Astrup AS (steel)

H Henriksen Mekaniske Verksted (welding work)



Jonas Velken Kverneland (stud.arch.)

Trond Bjarne Pettersen (stud.arch.)

Simen Andreas Aas (stud.arch.)