fbpx | Arkitektur- og designhøgskolen i Oslo


Start semester

80 519 Field Stations: Lightweight Architecture

Full course name in English: 
Field Stations: Lightweight Architecture
80 519
Syklus 2
2020 Høst
2020 Høst
Maksimum antall studenter: 
Andrea Pinochet
Lina Elisabeth Broström
Ane Sønderaal Tolfsen


Admission to and passed three years of bachelor level studies at AHO.

Good understanding of written and spoken English

Intermediate to a good level of draughtsmanship

Interest in building large scale models

Om emnet

Ephemeral building is an attitude. It isn't just about knowing how long individual components will last. It's also about the fact that we don't know today what will be right tomorrow. It takes a certain attitude to be able to ac­cept this: a certain humility regarding the extent to which one's predictions are circumscribed.


— Werner Sobeck, The New Less Is More, 2009

Field Stations

This course reflects an interest in investigating structures that have the capacity to operate as frames for a myriad of programs or activities. An observatory of sorts, a field station is by definition a post, camp or place intermittently occupied to accommodate activity. Often located in an outlying area or an area where research or a venture is under way.

Ephemeral Building 

The studio will work with lightness as a framework to build and challenge more permanent and static building solutions. Another way of understanding the concept of lightweight in architecture is to think about ephemeral building —everything that minimizes construction material, doesn't weigh much and, therefore, has special properties.

With this concept in mind the studio wants to investigate the full potential of different materials that have a low environmental impact or that are responsive to the environment.

In the studio, lightweight architecture will be explored through the design of a field station that can conceptually disappear without leaving a trace. 

Assembly and Temporality

Understanding the field station as a small open structure that seeks to witness, sample and host recurring activities, we will seek to understand the complexity of a building’s life cycle, trying to anticipate not just how it will be built and used, but also how it will be maintained and disassembled. 

Starting with the building materials, we will try to answer the following questions: How is a given material processed or transformed to become reliable building elements? How do different elements come together to form a structure and how does that particular arrangement relate to its situation? 

Letting your observation studies guide you in the definition of a new programmatic intention for a contemporary observatory, we will take a deeper look into the assembly process to investigate how regional differences can be part of a more technological and active project, defining its capacity to respond to the environment.


The project will be looking at how building with an ephemeral or lightweight mindset can guide us towards durable choices regarding the full building process from the extraction of raw material, production of elements, transportation, building technology and how a building can be dismantled. 

The design questions raised by the studio will therefore be addressed through an investigation of material technology and study of the building industry, letting form emerge from an understanding of the material properties, both physical and aesthetic, and the individual ambitions set out by the students. 

Through an in-depth study of a particular material and technological development, participants will gain an understanding of the complexity involved in the realization of a simple work of architecture. We will also address issues relating to resource extraction, division of labor, building ethics and the politics of the construction site.

Praktisk organisering og arbeidsmåter

Tapping into architecture’s capacity to synthesize, this studio will engage with ideas about building technology, structure and nature. The studio will work with analytical drawing, model making and experimental characterization techniques. Revisiting the scientific method, we will discuss material science and study the specific and unique qualities of potential building materials in order to understand material properties, structural capacity and position in the industry. 

We will discuss architectural aesthetics and the craft of building as a creative endeavor. What values guide us in the choices of material? With this in mind we will experiment with a varied range of materials (like wood, masonry, stone, earth, water, straw, bamboo, clay, cork, adobe, straw bale, mycelium, new polymers, waste, etc.)

We will work with big models and physical samples, and will embrace technical drawing, budget sheets, schedules and logistics plans, making discussion around labor and organizational systems an important component of the course.

If possible, we will organize visits to places of construction and manufacture.


NB! In the event of school closure or limited workshop access in the fall, independent working methods will be set up by the studio in order to address the similar questions regarding lightness in architecture and material technology.


Syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.


  • The New Less is More Interview with Werner Sobek. Something Fantastic. 2009
  • Architect as the Organizer, or The Way The World Works. Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen. Perspecta Vol.45. 2012.
  • Scale as Problem-Architecture as Trap, Adrian Lahoud. Climates Architecture and the Planetary Imaginary. 2016.
  • Introduction to Forensis, Eyal Weizman. Forensic Architecture. 2016.
  • Can you Believe the Weather We're Having, Phu Hoang. Climates Architecture and the Planetary Imaginary. 2016.
  •  Is Geo-logy the new umbrella for all the sciences? Hints for a neo-Humboldtian university. Bruno Latour. Lecture at Cornell University, 25th October 2016. The Year In Weather, Keller Easterling. Artforum. 2017.
VurderingsmappeIndividuellBestått / ikke beståttThe final grade in the course will be given based on:
— Design production and participation in studio meetings: 30%
— Mid-review and Interim review presentation: 30%
— Final review presentation and portfolio assessment: 40%
Karakterskala:Bestått / ikke bestått
Kommentar:The final grade in the course will be given based on:
— Design production and participation in studio meetings: 30%
— Mid-review and Interim review presentation: 30%
— Final review presentation and portfolio assessment: 40%