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80 610 Re-store - Field Work

Full course name in Norwegian Bokmål: 
Re-store - Field work
Credits: 
24
Course code: 
80 610
Level of study: 
Master
Teaching semester: 
2019 Spring
Assessment semester: 
2019 Spring
Language of instruction: 
Norwegian / English
Year: 
2019
Maximum number of students: 
15
Person in charge
Amandine Kastler
Erlend Skjeseth
Required prerequisite knowledge

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

  • Good understanding of written and spoken English.
  • Intermediate to good level of digital modeling and drafting.
  • Experience with and interest in building large-scale material models.
Course content

In architecture books we are bombarded with statistics confirming the ubiquity of the urban condition,

while the symmetrical question is ignored – what are those moving to the city leaving behind?”

Rem Koolhaas, ICON Magazine September 2014: Countryside, “Koolhaas in the country”

This year’s Re Store studio course will continue to creatively analyze and transform existing buildings. The studio will move out of the city to investigate disused buildings in rural Norway. The countryside is a rapidly changing environment that is often overlooked by architects. Critiquing the tendency to romanticise abandoned buildings as nostalgic markers of a bygone era, students will delve into the subject’s material, spatial, and operational qualities. Forensic examination of obsolete architecture will be the first step to understanding the building´s value as an asset to its context. Engaging with the history of the site, both architectural and social, we will re-imagine a future use through deconstruction, repurposing and recycling. Re Store - Field Work studio will collaborate with Tristan Boniver from Rotor, a cooperative design practice based in Brussels that investigates the organisation of the material environment. (http://rotordb.org/)

Seen purely through the lens of the market driven economy, the Norwegian countryside is being kept alive on life support. The agricultural sector contributes to less than 1% of the gross national product and only 1% of the country’s working population is employed in agricultural industries. In Norway however, the countryside is a cultural anchor situated at the core of the nation’s origin myth and identity. Hence, the agricultural industry acts as a conduit for the funnelling of state funds from an increasingly centralised government to the periphery through subsidies. This in turn means that the vast majority of farms are sustained for a sociocultural purpose rather than for a commercial one. This situation is precarious and, financially speaking, unsustainable in the long run. Since the turn of the century, around a third of the agricultural businesses in Norway has closed down, leaving millions of square meters of buildings obsolete and vacant.

The studio will work with the most commonly found building across the Norwegian countryside, the ‘combined unit barn’ (Enhetslåve in Norwegian). The result of nationwide land reforms during the mid-nineteenth century, all these buildings were centrally designed by seven architects. Locally built and refined, the structures were initiators of modernity in rural areas of Norway. The barns were buildings that engaged with the landscape in the most direct way possible, as organisms receiving the growth of the soil and then converting it into fodder, which in turn went back into the fields as manure. This cyclical process, and its refinement over time, shaped the cultural landscape of Norway into its current form.

Designed as large mechanical operations with each floor of the building catering towards a specific part of the nutritional circle, these barns were in effect highly mechanized instruments for a more rational way of farming, resulting in a much greater yield. Advancements in industrialised farming through the twentieth-century led these agricultural structures to became superseded technology. Too expensive to maintain or demolish, today these places of production have come to a standstill. They are now (mere) objects in the landscape they previously formed. The studio will cultivate universally applicable approaches for re-use and transformation of these obsolete giants by activating their finely tuned relationship to the surrounding context and harnessing the potential in their tectonic composition.  

The Enhetslåve at Billerud Farm in Toten, an area well known for its agricultural output and fertile soil, will serve as the case study for the studio. The building is a model example of the typology. The barn is not in active use and the studio will have access to it throughout the semester. The farm at Billerud is an old farm with houses dating back to the 18th century and the main manor house is a fully listed building containing wall murals by the landscape painter and decorator Peder Balke (1804-1887). The visionary painter was not only a romanticist but an interpreter of landscapes through memory and repetition. The studio will make use of a wide range of perspectives in its approach to Billerud Farm. From local history and natural history to the study of contemporary ideas concerning the development and future of the rural countryside. Students will reside in the area for several weeks throughout the semester and will actively be a part of the ongoing discussions with local stakeholders about the future of the building. The studio will address the question of how history, mythology and memory can inform the transformation of well-known architectural structures.

Learning outcome
  • Approaching the re-use and transformation of existing structures at varying scales.
  • Formulate individual architectural proposals based on close observation and analysis of present conditions.
  • Analyze and adapt existing infrastructure to develop operational forms of architecture.
  • Utilizing precise surveying technology in both analogue and digital form.
  • Engaging actively with real stake holders including community groups, local municipality, and heritage authorities.
  • Learning how to navigate and write requirements and regulatory framework.
  • Experiencing historic craft methods and Scandinavian vernacular building tradition.
  • Reading basic theory on typology and preservation.
Working and learning activities

The studio will lend considerable attention to to understanding context through fieldwork. Students will be expected to stay in Toten and work on site for parts of the semester, including but not limited to, one week at the beginning of the semester and two weeks during the studio excursion week. The region is around one and a half hours’ drive north of Oslo along the largest lake in Norway, Lake Mjøsa. The local municipality will be a stakeholder in the project and will contribute with lodging, work facilities and local expertise.

The studio does not consider research to be a separate exercise from propositional thinking, rather, it asserts that the act of surveying is propositional by nature and therefore inherent to design thinking. The studio will work with precise structural and material analysis of the existing building. The initial survey assignment will combine physical sampling with digital recording.

The analysis will lead to the making of a physical fragment of the building at a detailed scale. The fragment model is a physical and material manifestation of an essential component or junction. The fragment interprets the primary modular node in the structural logic of the building, an intersection containing the main material ingredients or a composition which captures specific tectonic qualities.

Projects for the re-use of the Enhetslåve will be developed through large-scale material models and architectural drawings throughout the semester. Learning from what has already been built, traditional craft will inform contemporary construction methods. Rather than looking for the answers in niche programming, the studio will aim to develop applicable and universal approaches.

The designs will be informed by reading contemporary theories on the current cultural and political development of rural areas and the countryside. There will be a lecture series running through the whole semester on preservation and the history of agricultural systems.

The studio will work with other architects, archaeologists, historians, agronomists, planners and engineers. Workshops on digital surveying and building in historic environments will be held with Architect Jacob Schroll from Gamle 3 Hus (https://gamle3hus.no/). Writer Tore Engelsen Espedal and Artist Johannes Engelsen Espedal (http://www.johannesespedal.com/) will also be active participants.

When in Oslo, students are expected to work in the studio. Teaching will consist of twice-weekly desk tutorials, seminars, pin-ups and reviews with invited critics. Students are expected to be active participants, to attend all trips, studio meetings, pin-ups and reviews, while keeping up with a rigorous level of production. The studio will be evaluated by assignments and participation, and judged as “passed” or “not passed” (according to AHO regulations for master studies).

Curriculum

The curriculum will be given out closer to the start date.

Form of assessmentGroupingGrading scaleComment
Portfolio assessment (Vurderingsmappe)IndividualPass / failPass/Fail, based on the following criteria in relation to the given assignments:

The final grade in the course will be given based on:
- Attendance and design production for twice-weekly studio meetings: 30%
- Mid review and Interim review presentation: 30%
- Final review presentation: 40%
The oral presentation is a part of the portfolio assessment.

Mid review, Interim review and Final review: Work presented for the Mid review, the Interim review and the Final review will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

- Conceptual Clarity: Students should demonstrate proactive engagement with the material and self-motivated intellectual pursuits that enhance their own design ambitions. Students are expected to clearly articulate their ambitions and the intellectual underpinnings of their work in pin-ups and desk crits.

- Technique: Students are expected to execute all assignments with care and precision.

Assignments will be evaluated not only on the basis of the ideas, but also to a large degree on the quality of the execution. Students are responsible for planning sufficient time for developing appropriate and thorough representations.

Portfolio: The care taken in the compilation and design of the portfolio the presentation of physical models will be considered in the final assessment. The portfolio is to be formatted and printed at A2 or larger. Each student will also be required to design a portfolio booklet at A3 to accompany the printed portfolio.
Vurderinger:
Form of assessment:Portfolio assessment (Vurderingsmappe)
Grouping:Individual
Grading scale:Pass / fail
Comment:Pass/Fail, based on the following criteria in relation to the given assignments:

The final grade in the course will be given based on:
- Attendance and design production for twice-weekly studio meetings: 30%
- Mid review and Interim review presentation: 30%
- Final review presentation: 40%
The oral presentation is a part of the portfolio assessment.

Mid review, Interim review and Final review: Work presented for the Mid review, the Interim review and the Final review will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

- Conceptual Clarity: Students should demonstrate proactive engagement with the material and self-motivated intellectual pursuits that enhance their own design ambitions. Students are expected to clearly articulate their ambitions and the intellectual underpinnings of their work in pin-ups and desk crits.

- Technique: Students are expected to execute all assignments with care and precision.

Assignments will be evaluated not only on the basis of the ideas, but also to a large degree on the quality of the execution. Students are responsible for planning sufficient time for developing appropriate and thorough representations.

Portfolio: The care taken in the compilation and design of the portfolio the presentation of physical models will be considered in the final assessment. The portfolio is to be formatted and printed at A2 or larger. Each student will also be required to design a portfolio booklet at A3 to accompany the printed portfolio.
Workload activityComment
Group workStudents are expected to regularly work in the studio and to be active participants in the collaborative studio environment. Sharing knowledge, techniques, and ideas with your fellow students is incredibly important to your own creative development and to your success in this studio. Students are expected to keep the studio space orderly and to and to collectively organise and maintain a large table and wall space for group meetings and pin-ups.

Students are expected to work independently and to show initiative in locating the resources and supplies they need to complete their work. Since this course involves site visits outside of the school, students are expected to behave maturely and respectfully when dealing local communities.
Individual problem solvingDeadlines and required deliverables are indicated on the syllabus and on individual project assignments and are not negotiable. Students must complete assignments by the given deadline.

Students are responsible for managing their own print schedules and for backing up files. Loss of data will not be considered a valid justification for submitting incomplete project work.

Deadlines can only be extended in cases of illness or special circumstances, and requests for extensions must be submitted to the tutor before the deadline in writing, accompanied by a medical certificate when necessary.
AttendanceStudents are expected to be present and working during all studio meetings, which occur twice a week. Students are also expected to be present during all seminars and reviews. Absences for social engagements, holidays, etc. will not be accepted. Absences from studio meetings and reviews will affect the final grade and multiple unexcused absences will result in course failure.
ExcursionThe studio will travel to Palermo, Sicily with Tristan Boniver to visit Rotor´s project for Manifesta 12 titled From up here, it’s a whole other story. (http://m12.manifesta.org/monte-gallo/).
The studio will also take a trip to Belgium for a workshop with Rotor in Brussels. There will be visits to places of interest along the way.
Forventet arbeidsinnsats:
Workload activity:Group work
Comment:Students are expected to regularly work in the studio and to be active participants in the collaborative studio environment. Sharing knowledge, techniques, and ideas with your fellow students is incredibly important to your own creative development and to your success in this studio. Students are expected to keep the studio space orderly and to and to collectively organise and maintain a large table and wall space for group meetings and pin-ups.

Students are expected to work independently and to show initiative in locating the resources and supplies they need to complete their work. Since this course involves site visits outside of the school, students are expected to behave maturely and respectfully when dealing local communities.
Workload activity:Individual problem solving
Comment:Deadlines and required deliverables are indicated on the syllabus and on individual project assignments and are not negotiable. Students must complete assignments by the given deadline.

Students are responsible for managing their own print schedules and for backing up files. Loss of data will not be considered a valid justification for submitting incomplete project work.

Deadlines can only be extended in cases of illness or special circumstances, and requests for extensions must be submitted to the tutor before the deadline in writing, accompanied by a medical certificate when necessary.
Workload activity:Attendance
Comment:Students are expected to be present and working during all studio meetings, which occur twice a week. Students are also expected to be present during all seminars and reviews. Absences for social engagements, holidays, etc. will not be accepted. Absences from studio meetings and reviews will affect the final grade and multiple unexcused absences will result in course failure.
Workload activity:Excursion
Comment:The studio will travel to Palermo, Sicily with Tristan Boniver to visit Rotor´s project for Manifesta 12 titled From up here, it’s a whole other story. (http://m12.manifesta.org/monte-gallo/).
The studio will also take a trip to Belgium for a workshop with Rotor in Brussels. There will be visits to places of interest along the way.