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60 521 Objects as grounds

Full course name in English: 
Objects as grounds
60 521
Syklus 2
2018 Høst
2018 Høst
Maksimum antall studenter: 
Luis Callejas
Janike Kampevold Larsen
Om emnet


The course is the last part of a trilogy of studios dealing with geographic tropes to link architecture and landscape architecture. After focusing in the objectification and representation of the tropical high Andean mountains (2015) and the design of orogenic objects in the Norwegian island (2016) we will venture once more into the high altitude tropical Andes. If the first two studios focused on the potentials of understanding geographic entities as primal architectural figures, this course will focus on the pre-conceived scale-less figures that better establish relations with a heavily modified ground. In other words, we will challenge site specificity in landscape architecture by projecting form in two divergent scales: A building large enough to behave as a garden, or, a landscape small enough to interact clearly with buildings. The course ideally has a balanced mix of architects and landscape architects.


Context and expedition:

Colombia ́s enduring war has reached a pivotal moment as the Oslo (and later Havana) peace dialogues mark a turning point for the mediation of land redistribution. Five million hectares of rural land will be redistributed in the next 20 years.

In this course we will work in two easily accessible sites in Colombia, exploring the notion of the Latifundio and Minifundio as foundational canons for land tenure structure. This dualistic tenure system typical of Latin America is characterized by relatively few large commercial estates known as latifundios, which are over 500 hectares, and numerous small properties known as minifundios, which are under 5 hectares.

Students will work in a latifundio located close to Bogota (500 hectar) and a minufundio (1 hectar) close to Medellin, both privately owned. The unique character of these two sites is that in both locations there is a possibility to engage with arts and craft as driving forces to open both sites to the public, as well as using arts as the motivator to think the post-conflict country´s future.

This structure of land tenure will provide us not only with a social context for our work, it will also allow us to test the capacity of certain forms to have effect at divergent scales under the same ownership structure.

To engage with questions of form and language, we will borrow from the Brazillian landscape designer Burle Marx' modernist abstract gardens and his negotiation of tropical nature. These gardens had the potential to objectify the ground without the need of walls, breaking with the longstanding paradigm of the walled garden as well as taking distance from land art.

Attention to form, language and the formalized ground, will, however, be coupled with an attention to ground materialities such as soil, sand, live matter on the one hand, and to the extended network of political, social and economic forces at play in Colombia’s rural territories on the other hand.  The aim is, in architectural and landscape architectural experiments to possibly effect land use policies and environmental regulations through beautiful interventions, and ultimately to activate the ground as a design medium with its own set of logics.


The course will work with a range of representation media; drawing, model making, photography and writing. Archival research will be reflected in short written texts, as will  ground conditions and agency.  


In the case of Bogota, we will work with a private land owner and his astonishing collection of abstract sculpture scattered across the estate.

In the case of the minifundio in Medellin, the land is used by an artist and ceramist producing in a region with a beautiful tradition of ceramic production.

If the large site is about art exhibitions in the open air, and its potentials to direct the master plan for a large farm, the second, much smaller plot, will offer the opportunity of designing a very precise intervention linking the life of the artist to the context of an art town. Both models of ownership are common while the current use is unique. We will investigate the potentials of arts and crafts beyond simple tourism.


The course will launch in Colombia on August 10th with a weeklong workshop on archival works. Our group will dig deep into the archives of the Colombian geographic institute as well as study some of the original works produced by naturists, cartographers, and artists to describe the high altitude Andes. 


Over this first week in Colombia, we will work together with architecture students from Universidad de Los Andes and other guest students that will take part in the open workshop. During the workshop, there will be a day of lectures by Colombian and Norwegian designers, as well as the launch of an exhibition by artists, architects and landscape architects working in the long-term research project between Colombian institutions and AHO. It is highly encouraged to join the trip to Colombia, but it is not mandatory due to ticket costs. It is recommended that the students arrive in Bogota on August 9.

The official field trip will end on August 18; the students are encouraged and allowed to stay one week more touring Colombia. The first day of classes in Oslo after the trip will be August 27.

In October we will do a second field trip to Madrid to do more archival work.


Preliminary schedule. 

August 9: Students arrive in Bogota, Colombia

August 10: Students and faculty meet for the launch of course and workshop together with Universidad de Los Andes.

August 10 – August 17: Official field trip in Colombia

August 27: The first day of classes after the field trip. 

October: Second field trip to Madrid. Archival work on the botanical expeditions to Nueva Granada.


Students will learn how to think and project architecture through landscape media (live matter and topography).

Students will learn how to think and project landscape through the manipulation of the ground.

Students will understand the relationship between form, environment and time.

Students will learn how design builds up as research, and how their interventions take part of a larger research project.


A reader will be made availible before the start of the course

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