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Urgent Housing in Torbjørnsbu

Ingeborg Mull


Vår 2024
Institutt for arkitektur

Colm Jeremiah Obrien
How can we create a protective community that ensures a dignified living environment for vulnerable individuals?
Urgent housing is for people without the capacity of finding a place to stay for the night or for a short period of time. Although the opportunity is intended for all homeless, regardless of their situation, there are most often people suffering from substance abuse living here. The debate in Arendal revolves around the unhealthy and unsafe urgent housing, especially in Torbjørnsbu. The area suffers from lack of care and interest and is described by the politicians and people in the local community as a ghetto.

The common practice today is not to separate residents based on gender or personal circumstances. As a result, young people who have run away from home may end up living next to individuals struggling with substance abuse or psychological issues. Stories from Torbjørnsbu are told about repeated assaults against women, incidents of theft, and the attraction of an undesirable outside community.

By focusing on the specific needs of one group facilitates a deeper understanding of their unique challenges, enabling a more targeted and effective support. As women are especially vulnerable in these environments, this project will offer safe and dignified temporary accommodations for women suffering from substance abuse.

This approach fosters a stronger sense of community, building trust and collaboration among the residents. It will ensure a stronger sense of safety for the individuals, but also for the local community.




An improvement of the accommodations in Torbjørnsbu is necessary to ensure a more dignified living environment. I also want to introduce a facility that provides additional support for the residents and encourage them to lead independent lives. I have prioritized a spacious garden where the residents can spend time together or recuperate alone.

Given that urgent housing is a temporary solution, the facility will not offer treatment for drug addiction. However, in addressing the needs of this group, I aim to respect their circumstances by including safe injection rooms and having a present staff to ensure their safety.


To successfully offer safe and dignified environments for this focus group, we must reduce stigma by adapting to their needs rather than chasing them away or hiding them from the rest of society.

While studying temporary living situations and mapping the needs of the chosen focus group, the diploma intends to be a criticism of an existing situation, raise awareness to the topic, and highlight the importance of an architectural opinion on the field.

Ingeborg MullIngeborg.teresie.mull@stud.aho.no