AHO students win prestigious award

AHO students win prestigious award

Architecture students Maria Årthun og Nicole Lilly Gros have won the competition ‘Place & Displacement: A marketplace in a Refugee Settlement’ for their project about a women's bazaar in Jordan. 

The Place and Displacement competition aims to create a discourse on refugee livelihoods, which embodies the dignity and resilience of refugees working to protect their autonomy, creativity and capability in difficult conditions.
As part of the master course In Transit, AHO students submitted projects to the international competition, which received 300 proposals from 150 universities around the world.
Maria Årthun og Nicole Lilly Gros from AHO have, along with two other projects, been announced as winners of the prestigious competition - Zataari site, with their suggestion to a Women’s Bazaar in Za’tari, Jordan.
On 22nd of April they will travel to New York to present their project and accept the award, and participate in a workshop and exhibition.
“We couldn’t believe it when we found out that we won. It is very exciting and a great opportunity. We would like to work in the intersection of the architecture and humanitarian fields, and hopefully this can help further our careers”, said Årthun and Gros.  
Their proposal is a protected market place connected to the UN Women compound, consisting of workshops, childcare, social areas, and retail spaces.
“The female population is under-represented on the Za’atari job market. Only 4 percent women work at the local marked. We wanted to create a women's bazaar that is a safe space for working and social activities.”
The architecture and spatial organization of the retail area function both as a protective barrier and link with the public market street. Architectural elements reflect the origins of most of the  population. The construction system is scaleable, assembling into different spatial configurations.


The In Transit master course is a fairly new course offered at AHO. It was started as a response to the need for architects’ expertise on how to improve the physical conditions for people seeking sanctuary in unfamiliar environments. Teachers Håvard Breivik and Tone Selmer-Olsen are happy about the result,  but not surprised that the students have won this competition.
“One of the goals of the Studio is to convey the message that architecture, urban design, and urban planning should be an integrated part of emergency response, and development projects. Maria and Nicole's winning entry is a good example of this. It is not always easy to communicate new ideas to people outside the field of architecture and planning. It’s quite impressive that they have convinced a jury with so many experts from the humanitarian field. It shows that this project is both innovative and realistic”, said Tone Selmer-Olsen.
“The Women's Bazaar is not only addressing a very important topic; women being secluded from public spaces and hence the job market - but it also provides concrete solutions though spatial and programmatic interventions, which will help tackling social inequality”, said Håvard Breivik.