The reconstruction of the town centre of Ålesund after the town fire of 1904 gave the town a remarkably homogenous architecture: a striking, local interpretation of Art Nouveau concentrated in a limited area. The town’s architecture is of high artistic, architectural and cultural historic value. That is why, over the period 1985-2003, the Directorate for Cultural Heritage chose to list a total of ten Art Nouveau buildings in Ålesund.
The listed buildings cover the whole breadth of reconstruction architecture. They include famous monuments and relatively unexceptional buildings. They reflect the different types of building typical of the period 1904 to 1907, and are also representative of the contemporary materials, construction methods, designs and styles. Together, the listed buildings help to give us an impression of what Ålesund looked like, and what life was like in the town, at the start of the 20th century.
Buildings are listed because they are considered to be of national, cultural historic value. The listing process involves making a resolution pursuant to Section 15 of the Cultural Heritage Act of 1978. The intention is to ensure that listed buildings are preserved for future generations. Any changes other than ordinary maintenance and repairs must be approved by the cultural heritage authorities, in this case the Commissioner for Cultural Heritage in the county of Møre og Romsdal. It is important that appropriate, traditional materials and techniques are used for maintenance work, in order to preserve the wonderful cultural heritage that the buildings constitute.
Ålesund's Art Nouveau architecture is its trademark, and helps to create an important identity for local people. It is also an important piece of Norwegian cultural heritage, and a resource for local businesses and the tourism industry.