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40 539 Housing Individuals

Full course name in English: 
Housing Individuals
40 539
Syklus 2
2020 Høst
2020 Høst
Maksimum antall studenter: 
Ute Christina Groba

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

Om emnet


Housing Individuals in Timber:

Adaptability as a design parameter for urban timber buildings


This course is going to focus on different architectural approaches to aesthetic, spatial and functional flexibility in urban wooden housing projects with up to 8 floors.

How can wooden building materials cater to different needs, allow for individual adjustments, and by way of their presence, surface treatment or detailing, communicate these options to the user?

If applied appropriately, timber is a renewable, energy- and emission saving building material. It offers logistical advantages for challenging inner-city construction sites, and additional benefits for human health and well-being. This makes wooden construction and surface materials especially relevant for urban residential projects.

Timber's sustainability potential however is only fully realised in buildings that are granted a long lifespan - not only due to constructive durability, but also by being appreciated and taken care of by users and the public. Yet taste and preferences do not only vary from individual to individual; they also tend to change over time. The same is true for functional requirements and adequate plan solutions with every new tenant or owner.

The well-known model of a building's layers and their average life spans by Stewart Brand shows when e.g. facade, plumbing or main structure become functionally obsolete and need to be replaced. But even technically intact building parts can become obsolete - when other products perform better (e.g. new types of insulation), or when other products are liked better (e.g. facade or indoor surface colours or materials ).


This serves as a backdrop for the course's two main aims:

- To develop different constructive approaches to increase a residential building's spatial, functional and aesthetic flexibility, adaptability or generality. This is not only useful for ensuring that a building keeps up with changing demands. It may also contribute to individualize different projects that use the same constructive system, and to adapt it to their unique context.

- To develop different concepts for exposing, treating or covering timber constructions, so that they fulfil both technical and aesthetic requirements. In addition, materiality choices may communicate possible changes, adaptions and modifications to the user, e.g. when differing between load-bearing, duct-containing or space-defining parts.


After an introductory exercise and a series of lectures and workshops, each student or group of two will specify an individual problem statement and develop an according architectural approach.

We are going to develop the projects through conceptual models, sketches, texts, drawings and working models.


Proposed teacher team:
Ute Groba (course responsible); Moritz Groba; Ona Flindall





- The development and communication of a consistent architectural approach and its materialization in sketches, working models, drawings and text.

- Understanding the importance of integrating a project’s load bearing structure in early architectural concepts.

- Knowledge of different timber construction systems and detailing.

- Introduction to timber architecture within academic fields of discourse.

- Studying and documenting different principles to achieve the type of flexibility the individual project aims at, as well as related constructive challenges, and possible solutions.

- The course will be documented in a course book that archives exploratory models, lecture notes, precedent analyses, and the students' final projects.



Praktisk organisering og arbeidsmåter



- Pre-task / wood workshop

- Lectures and workshops with AHO staff / externals

- Regular supervision and desk crits

- Midterm Review and Final Presentation with external reviewer

- Exhibition / course book



- Urban site in Oslo



- Yet to be determined, depending on restrictions due to the covid-19 situation


Main output of the students' work (deliverables at the end of the semester):

- Concept description in text and diagrams

- Drawings: site plan, plan drawings, sections, facades, details

- Illustrations/renderings/collages/model pictures

- Working models

- Final model

- (depending on chosen site: maybe collective site model)


Main scales of the students' work:

- Urban strategy 1:1000

- Architectural approach in plan, sections, facades 1:100

- Detail solutions: section perspective 1:50 and details 1:20 (number of details depending on group size)



Requirements to pass


Active participation in lectures, workshops, group meetings and desk crits are required, as well as the steady development of individual or team projects (max 2 students) with regular supervision meetings. It is mandatory to attend and meet the requirements of midterm and final review. Postponement of midterm or final review requires a doctor's note. Deliverables (such as number of drawings and models or degree of detailing) will be adjusted to individual or team work. This course is preferably taken together with the elective timber course.




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