New project in Larvik

Islamic Culture House is our second project in Larvik City besides Mesterfjellet school project.

The intention is to design a culture house that is open and inviting by placing public funcitons on the groud floor including library, bookstore, information center and a cafe.

The site chosen for the project is located in housing neighborhood in the middle of Larvik. It´s charactarized by an exciting natural landscape. The exisiting kindergarden building will be demolished, however we intened to reuse some of the materials for the construction of the new culture house. Various Architects and the client had a very positive start up meeting with the planning authorities in Larvik.

Planning approval for Mesterfjellet School

Various Architects received a letter from Larvik Kommune with planning approval for all desiplicnes to the following companies:

Various Architects AS received approval for application sent on 14.03.2012

CEBRA A/S received apporval for appliction sent on 12.03.2012

Asplan Viak As recieved approval for application sent on 14.03.2012

Norconsult As recieved approval for application sent on 14.03.2012 (Fire engineering / Building Physiscs / Geotechnical)

Østengen and Bergo recieved approvla for application sent on 19.01.2012


The tender documents were sent out in March 2012. The final result of the tenders are expected to be announced during the coming weeks.

HV Family House Detail Design phase

Various Architects have recently delivered a set of schematic design drawings for HV Family House. The client have been very engaged in the design process and are extremely staisfied with the results. The planning application has been sent to authorities and we expect a resonpnse within the next couple of months.  We look forward to carrying the design forward through detail design phase, and hopefully begin construction in September 2012.

Partner James Dodson leaving VA

Amicable split opens for new collaborations

Various Architects AS partner and co-founder James Dodson has decided to leave Various Architects to pursue new collaborations and creative directions. VA was started in 2008 by Elhayawan and Dodson after 13 years as friends and colleagues at Snøhetta where they participated in the design and construction of many of Snøhetta’s best known public and cultural buildings. For 4 years the pair have led  Various Architects to win international recognition for their ambitious, creative and sustainable designs.


“Starting up Various Architects with Ibrahim has been an amazing, intense, and fruitful experience that I don’t regret in the least. We have pushed each other to create a body of work which I am intensely proud of. In 4 short years we have achieved many of the ambitious goals we set for ourselves when leaving Snøhetta, despite the financial crisis. I look forward to watching Various continue to develop under Ibrahim’s leadership. I think it will also be good for us to go back to being just friends instead of friends and business partners. Ibrahim was best man at my wedding, and he and his family will continue to be an important part of my life. ”  – James Dodson

“Four years ago, when we started up a new company, Jim chose the name Various Architects to reflect our idea of creating a collaborative design firm. The past 4 years have been an amazing and intense experience. We had over 22 people from 10 different nationalities working at Various. Jim has an incredible talent of connecting people together. He created an extremely valuable network for Various. It is sad to see him leaving but his vision and ideas will always remain with us. We wish him the best of luck in his future directions. I am confident that our interlinking networks will create other opportunities to collaborate together in the future. Jim has been one of my closest friends since I moved to Norway 15 years ago.” – Ibrahim Elhayawan

TPAC Groundbreaking

Ibrahim went to Taipei for the groundbreaking.

The construction of Taipei Perfroming Arts Center started on the 16th of February 2012. OMA asked Various Architects partner Ibrahim Elhayawan to the groundbreaking, which was led by Taiwan President MA Ying-Jeou, Mayor Hau Lung-pin together with OMA partners-in-charge, Rem Koolhaas and David Gianotthen. The ritual of the groundbreaking  ceremoney created a very positive atmosphere. It recieved a lot attention in the Asian and global media.

The project consists of three theaters that are plugged into a central glass cube. These theaters can function seperately or can be conneted together in many configurations including a Super Theater configuration with a 60-meter long stage. The central glass cube is lifted from the ground allowing the street to extend into the buliding and drawing people into the Public Loop where the heart of the building including the backstage areas are made visible to the public.

Ibrahim Elhayawan lived in Hong Kong for 16 months leading the Design Team through Prelimenery Services phase, schematic design phase and the early stages of detail design phase. VA partner Jim Dodson also joined the design team as an adivisor. This was the first time that Ibrahim had a chance to meet with the Design team since he moved back to Norway one year ago.