Start semester

65 507 RAW STUDIO: Exploring the afterlife of coal extraction on Svalbard

Emnenavn på English: 
RAW STUDIO: Exploring the afterlife of coal extraction on Svalbard
65 507
Syklus 2
2019 Høst
2019 Høst

Bachelor degree in Landscape Architecture or Architecture from university or university college, and admission to AHO's master programme in Landscape Architecture. Working knowledge of Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign is recommended, CAD and GIS an advantage.

Om emnet

This master studio course in landscape architecture is the first in a series focusing on the natural- and cultural heritage relating to the extraction of raw materials. The overall field of study is landscape transformation – how to deal with landscapes undergoing significant reconfiguration following changes in use and or appraisal. In this particular case, the core objective is to explore alternative approaches to the proposed mining reclamation at Svea coal mine on Svalbard.


As the name suggests, the mining activities at Svea was initiated by the Swedes back in 1917. In 1934 the mine was purchased by Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani AS which has operated an active mining community until 2016 when the mining activities was put on hold due to unfavourable market conditions. In 2018 the Parliament of Norway finally decided for a permanent shutdown and termination of mining activities at Svea and launched a “clean-up” project.  


The idea of cleaning the site might be seen as an obvious and environmentally sound response reflecting the immediate contrast between an industrial complex in a wild and pristine natural landscape. At the same time, coal mining can be considered an essential part of the cultural history of human presence on Svalbard, which is directly tied to the specific landscape and its material qualities. As such Svea constitute a heritage site requiring not cleaning, but a clarification of the entanglement of human and other-than-human actors – hence the need to explore alternative approaches to the proposed mining reclamation.


The course builds on the strong solidarity between the concepts of heritage and that of landscape. Both are unifying concepts; they bring together previously separated aspects of the world into a stronger whole; both sit at the interface between people's perception of the world and the world itself.[1] A central task will be to investigate how landscape architecture can help negotiate between different and potential conflicting understandings of the landscape by highlighting existing nature-culture assemblages or creating new stronger “naturecultures”.[2]


[1] See Graham Fairclough (2009) New heritage frontiers. In: Heritage and beyond, 29-42. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing.

[2] See Rodney Harrison (2015) Beyond Natural and Cultural Heritage: Toward an Ontological Politics of Heritage in the Age of Anthropocene, Heritage & Society, 8:1, 24-42


Knowledge about


  • Extraction of raw materials and mining reclamation
  • The study of landscape transformation
  • Landscape architecture as an instrument in the management of natural- and cultural heritage


Skills in


  • Collecting, recording and representing aesthetic experiences in the landscape
  • Mapping and modelling landscape transformation
  • Visual communication / architectural drawing


General competence in


  • Independent collection and production of relevant knowledge for the development of landscape architecture, e.g. analysis of material and spatial conditions
  • Independent and reflected use of different representation techniques
  • Design conceptualisation and experimentation
  • Collaboration with peers in research and design development
Praktisk organisering og arbeidsmåter
  • 10-14 days of fieldwork on Svalbard
  • Separate one-day seminars with guest lecturers
  • Approximate 12 weeks of design research and development


Work effort:


  • Participation in fieldwork, lectures, tutorials, workshops and joint reviews
  • Hand in of all deliverables described for each phase of the semester
  • Students will have access to workshop facilities
  • Selected text will be provided for each phase of the studio course
Obligatorisk arbeidskravPåkrevde arbeidskravOppmøte påkrevdKommentar
Ekskursjoner Ikke påkrevd• 10-14 days of fieldwork on Svalbard
Obligatoriske arbeidskrav:
Obligatorisk arbeidskrav:Ekskursjoner
Påkrevde arbeidskrav:
Oppmøte påkrevd:Ikke påkrevd
Kommentar:• 10-14 days of fieldwork on Svalbard
Muntlig eksamenIndividuellBestått / ikke bestått
Vurderingsform:Muntlig eksamen
Karakterskala:Bestått / ikke bestått