Fish Market in Bergen

Bergen´s fish market has had a long and important presence in Bergen. As a lively market place it is leaving it´s mark upon the city just as well as does the historic monuments that are significant tourist attractions.

Our contribution to the design competition intends to carry on telling this story in the future. For that reason we chose the title “History Continued”.

The contemporary fish market caters all year round to clients. It therefore needs to provide levels of convenience and hygiene that require a permanent structure. Our proposition for the new fish market intends to address all challenges in this specific place in the center of Bergen.

The building shall meet all conceptional urban requirements while blending into the historical context and creating an image for the market place by means of modern architecture.

Position and Shape

The property is located in the heart of Bergen in the very middle of the world cultural heritage.

“Bryggen“. The lines of sight from the “Almenning roads” to the sea well as the lines of sight to the landmarks are crossing the property. Maintaining those is essential for experiencing the urban context around the historic bay.On the property remains therefore an approximate triangular space for the new construction. Given the moderate height of the new fish market hall it will still be the historic facades behind it that form the limits towards the historic bay.

From a pedestrian´s perspective it is the first 4-5 meters of façade that determine connection and segregation in urban space. The transparent glass façade on the ground floor continues to provide the view at the world cultural heritage ”Bryggen“ via the market hall.

Our concept does not aim at creating an interior for the fish market but instead at providing a climatizing protection for the market place that makes limits between market place and market hall disappear. The space is not divided. The floating construction volume is a roof and creates the protected part of the marketplace. The flexible glass façade provides shelter towards wind and weather.

The façade can be opened on warm summer days. Market activities inside connect to those outside in a way that creates one homogenous market place and market: The fish market in Bergen.

Market Place`s Surface

The edge of the current pier had been designed to meet the needs of steamboats from the 1900s. Earlier than that, it was sailing ships that serviced the storehouses in the bay. Sailing ships could enter between storehouses and for that reason the edge of the pier used to be curved.

This important evolution changed the appearance of the city significantly and we show it by making the curved historic edge of the pier visible in the pavement.

As pavement material we chose granite as a reference to the historic material of the market place. The historic edge of the pier as well as the names of the initial proprietors is visible as wooden lines on the floor.

At the same time the edge of the pier offers an indication for possible locations of market stalls inside and out. Any object on the square is also subjected to this pattern, therefore creating a network of paths. The more important paths being wider.

The fish market in Bergen is an international tourist destination and attraction. It has changed over time and has evolved: First vending fished from the boats, then using fish basins and traditional vending stalls until the current market hall. Backlit large-sized pictures tell the long story of Bergen´s fish market.


Next to the public part of the market hall there is a service entity of 3 floors. It houses storage space, cold storage and freezer, production of ice, wardrobe and restrooms as well other technical units. The market hall´s roof hosts the tourist information and the „Norwegian Sea Food Centre“ on the first floor. The tourist information is also public space with panorama views towards the historic center of Bergen.


The buildings shape and the façade complement themselves together with the historic context of the world cultural heritage. Even though the market evolved in a new shape the choice of colors and materials emanate from the historic substance.

Historic origins are being recomposed and newly interpreted with the material glass. Wooden panels in colors that are typical for Bergen, ocher, dark red and white are changing in rhythm and density. They render the façade lively. Seen from the front the façade stands for glass and accessibility.

Accessibility and closeness alternating this determines a “modern marketplace” image inside and out. The market activity seems part of a staged scene. By night the building structure presents itself beaming with light. The fish market in Bergen remains market place and centre of city life while it is flexibly usable for activities as an open space as well as with its protected climate.

Description by architects


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Building Activity

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