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60 531 Urban Design Bærekraftig stedsutvikling gjennom arkitekturprosjekt

Full course name in English: 
Urban design - Sustainable Small Town Development
60 531
Syklus 2
2021 Høst
2021 Høst
Maksimum antall studenter: 
Jørgen Johan Tandberg
Andreas Kalstveit
Om emnet

1.Raising the stakes


The studio believes that "the green shift" as a political project will radically impact our built environment. This should provide a platform to critically examine the position of our own discourse, inevitably resulting in a paradigm shift.


The studio focuses on developing strategies for the sustainable development of small Norwegian towns, working with realistic cases in order to understand the typical challenges. Many small towns of a similar size and function have developed in phases which carry characteristics of contemporary political projects. Arguably, they are not so much the results of cultural continuity and traditions, as they are of sudden and modern breaks with the past. If the shift towards renewable energy and increased environmental consciousness can be said to constitute a new such politcal project, happening in response to a popular awakening, it is imperative that we as architects engage with local municipalities now, while this is happening. Architecture and urban planning should in this context not be considered separate discourses. Buildings are environmentally determined objects, their raison d'aitre - economic, social, political - necessarily expressed in their physical form. As such, we will treat the architect as a generalist, interested in seeing sustainability across all scales. On a regional level: where should we build? On an urban level: how should we plan our towns and cities? And on a building detail level: how should we build our homes and our public infrastrucure?


Our aim is to develop strategic building projects that can serve as exemplars for a new "aesthetics of sustainability" for the Norwegian small town. The proposals will be defined by a clear strategic purpose on a regional level, a defined building programme that is in actual, realistic demand, a rational, sustainable and economic means of construction, and a seductive public image. Our role as architects is also to bring these things into a higher unity. In being of and about our time, the work will by nature also be "modern", in the heroic and postivist sense of the word. The studio engages critically with technology, working with experts in various fields in order to be ahead of the game when it comes to knowledge about sustainable construction. As before, a large part of the semester will also consist of reference studies, where the merits of various role model cases are discussed collectively in the studio.



2. The Studio Lab

Each semester, the studio engages with a separate Norwegian town, working with representatives from its planning department to understand the local challenges. According to the "studio lab"-model, the individual strategies developed by the students will be collected in a publication, where our research is synthesized into more realistic recommendations. This will serve as an idea bank for local municipalities in their future planning work. Over time, we can increase awareness in local municipalities of the value of sustainable architecture and planning strategies, and the studio considers this its long-term, strategic goal.



3. The semester

Program and site area will have been determined prior to the commencement of the course. The students will develop plans for a relatively number of housing units, as well as a medium-to-large scale public building/ housing type or similar. The new development will be of a scale that can radically alter the town itself. 


The semester will consist of these phases:




Phase 1. Mapping


We begin the term with analyses of the place on a regional level and on a local planning level. Throughout the phase we will develop maps that will serve as a way of seeing the place, as well as a foundation for the project, as the drawings will establish certain scopes/scales for the final project. This common research will result in individual strategic planning diagrams, onto which we can test various building typologies. 



Phase 2. Massing


Each student will produce massing studies of the entire program placed on the site area, directly testing strategies from reference studies in relation to the results from the Mapping-phase assignment (the individual maps). The most successful of these will serve as basis for further project development.



Phase 3. Detailing


The aim of the third phase is to develop a tectonic and architectural language for the project. Considering both the general theme of sustainability and the local context. The phase consists of reference studies, a rendering workshop and a detailed integration of technology and structural principles.



Phase 4. Architectural Project


In the final phase of the semester we will complete the design of a medium size building by confronting principles developed throughout the semester with a detailed program for a public building/ housing typology. 


Skills and knowledge gained:

-Increased knowledge about sustainable construction, detailing and urban planning.

-Ability to analyze the urban fabric of Norwegian small towns, and situate a strategic building project.

-Greater awareness of an architectural project’s impact upon its local context.

-Ability to reflect critically upon the extent of an architectural proposal as an intervention on an urban scale.

Praktisk organisering og arbeidsmåter

Working and learning activities


The students will work on one individual project throughout the term. However: sharing knowledge, details, maps, references and ideas is encouraged. The studio should be seen as a collective where common interests are discussed, and where we all help each other improve our work. Students can expect 4 reviews throughout the semester, weekly desk-crits, and pin-ups every third week. Working methods will include: simple analytical maps, reference studies, detailed drawings, large scale construction models - 1:50 or 1:100 (depending on workshop availability in fall term), realistic renderings. The studio is considered a full-time engagement.

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