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65 607 Nixtopia Tromsø

Full course name in Norwegian Bokmål: 
Nixtopia Tromsø
Course code: 
65 607
Level of study: 
Teaching semester: 
2020 Spring
Assessment semester: 
2020 Spring
Language of instruction: 
Person in charge
Kjerstin Uhre
Required prerequisite knowledge

Admission to AHO and successful completion of three years bachelor level studies (180 ECTS)

Prerequisites/Admission requirements: Bachelor in landscape architecture/architecture

Recommended previous knowledge:  working knowledge of hand-drawing/sketching, Adobe InDesign/Illustrator/Photoshop, CAD. 3D modelling and GIS experience is an advantage.

Course content

Tromsø is an urban island that abounds with snow from the Polar night through spring-winter. Daily routines for snow handling and storage are required five to six months of the year. A warming climate poses new disruptions with sudden thaws and rain on snow entailing challenges to human and animal livelihoods both within and outside the city. The Arctic is warming six times the global average, and Tromsø is growing in a thawing environment. The course Nixtopia Tromsø combines traditional, scientific, and practical snow-how with landscape design strategies. Winter actions broadly define the conditions for snow critters and plant species, liveable, and pleasurable areas in spring and summer.

The studio will run parallelly and collaborate closely with the course Ecology for Landscape Architecture. Shared knowledge between the two courses helps to understand the importance of coordination of seasonal routines and ecological life cycles in the maintenance of green, blue and white infrastructures.

Latin names of plant species are used in the ecology course, mirroring this, the course name Nixtopia combines the Latin word for snow, Nix and the suffix -topia, which means both place and community. Nixtopia Tromsø aims to explore the possibilities for civic meeting places and connections throughout the Tromsø island’s city centres, forests, and plains. The studio aims to develop an awareness and critical reflection on topics that contribute to positioning landscape architecture in the public discourse.

The students will work with on-site field investigations and landscape architectural projects at localities on the Tromsø Island/Romssasuolu. Each student starts as location scouts to find a suitable location where snow practices may be experienced, staged and studied. We expect that the students use their site actively in their design research and concept development. 

Learning outcome


  • Site-specific project work during winter and spring-winter period will provide and produce knowledge on:
    • Sub-arctic snow and water features in urban environments, materiality, opportunities and structure
    • The forces at work in snow management
    • Ecology in relation to site-specific spatial and climatic conditions of the sub-arctic
    • Human practices in the landscape, with a particular focus on sub-arctic conditions
  • Landscape architectural mapping and modelling as a medium in transdisciplinary urban research



  • Perceive and represent ephemeral landscapes and landscape transformation
  • Produce tangible knowledge through developing landscape design concepts
  • Urban landscape programming and location strategies
  • Visual communication and architectural drawing
  • Visual analysis and communication of elemental geological, ecological, meteorological, and cultural understanding
  • Design conceptualisation and experimentation with form in changing environments



  • Ability to acquire knowledge and develop sensitivity to input from site, science and culture as well as the specific local context
  • Ability to make this knowledge instrumental to the development of strong concepts and design proposals with artistic quality
  • Ability to conceptualize and develop integral landscape architecture design rooted in seasonal, local contexts
  • Landscape architectural projects as constructive and critical statements in urban transformation
  • Collaboration with peers in research and design development
Working and learning activities
  • Excursions/mini-study trips to significant landscapes in the region, including overnight stays
  • Site-specific analysis and spatial experiments at the Tromsø Island /Romssasuolu
  • Seminars with guest lecturers
  • Book production, and articulation of landscape texts
  • Workshops in applied climate knowledge, infographics, model building, and Arctic Urbanism
  • Approximately 19 weeks of supervised design research and development in the studio

·         Relevant texts are provided as part of studio resources

·         Students will have access to workshop facilities

Form of assessmentGroupingGrading scaleComment
Project assignmentGroupPass / failFinal studio work is presented in group review evaluated by external sensors. Details on deliverables will be provided with the detailed studio plan but usually includes digital presentation and exhibition of model work together with printed posters/boards.
Form of assessment:Project assignment
Grading scale:Pass / fail
Comment:Final studio work is presented in group review evaluated by external sensors. Details on deliverables will be provided with the detailed studio plan but usually includes digital presentation and exhibition of model work together with printed posters/boards.