Friday, 12 November 2010

Tjuvholmen – Tjuvholmen Allé 4-6

Designed by Moderne Arkitektur og Design AS (MAD), this 9 stories high building includes a commercial area on the ground floor and around 50 small apartments above. The facade towards Tjuvholmen Allé emphasises a horizontal dynamic movement through a play with the depth of the banded balconies and the striped glass of the railings adding a new layer to the building’s facade.

The project shows a big concern to optimize the available area, creating small and flexible city apartments with an average of 37m2 in 1 floor, or incorporating a mezzanine. Several apartments include also a rooftop terrace.

Tjuvholmen – Lille stranden 3

In an area where every building try to affirm itself, this one, designed by Kari Nissen Brodtkorb, actually takes advantage of its central position in Olav Selvaags Plass to create an exciting moment in the city through this play of volumes and colours and the spatial situations given by the different heights, even though private, enter and are visually assimilated by the public sphere. This effect would have been even stronger if the trees on the terraces were as big as shown in the initial renders.

To avoid closing the triangular site with a sharp-edged building that would create a way to strong impact in the square, it was chosen instead to play with smaller volumes and to create some openness in the building. This way, it was produced a dynamic and complex spatial relation between private and public, open and closed, light and shadow. Also, through the use of different materials and colours on this “public facade” a dramatic / playful sense was included in the building, while the facade to the backward is more serene.
Following the general master plan for the area, the ground floor accommodates shops and 2 restaurants, and in the 10 upper floors there are 63 apartments with areas from 46 to 182m2. Unfortunately, the apartments’ internal organization follows the standard, meaning: a tiny bathroom, small bedrooms and an open kitchen/ living room / dining room.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Governmental Building’ Award 2010 for Kristin Jarmund

Last summer, Kristin Jardmund and her project for Gjerdrum School received the 2010’s Statens Byggeskikkpris and yesterday took place the official ceremony and visit to the winner project with the presence and speeches from all the different participants in the process, including politicians from the local authorities, members of the school, the president of the Jury Erling Dokk Holm and the architect Kristin Jarmund as well as the landscape architect Kari Bergo.

Among presentations and speeches of the different people involved, several subjects were talked about like architecture and schools, the importance of good architecture for a good learning environment, the importance of “universal design”, meaning the strategies to make a building easily accessible for people with different kinds of handicaps, etc. Kristin Jarmund spoke generally about the main points of this specific project and her experience designing schools.

The award is shared between Kristin Jarmund Architects and landscape architect Østeng & Bergo AS that won the 1st prize in an invited competition in the autumn of 2007. According to the jury “Gjerdrum School is a bold building pointing into the future” and “The building doesn’t adapt or subordinate itself to the surroundings, but forms a new location. It demonstrates how building tradition can be renewed.” The jury also valued the courageous position of the school - not in a dense built area, but in an open agricultural landscape and also the flexibility of the different spaces that gives the opportunity to vary between project teaching in open space and traditional classroom teaching.

The building is divided into clear indoors and outdoors areas, including a circled patio, and both can be used for the teaching and learning process. According to Dock HolmThe future will tell if it succeeds to discipline students. There may be limits on what architects can persuade people to do.” Jarmund describes “The layout of the school is solved by vast variations to the internal room composition. The combination of generous, open areas and rooms as separate volumes within the larger structure create a dynamic and spacious environment. The three different school years uses three different areas within the plan, with emphasis on flexibility in spatial solutions and possibilities for multi use and shared functions. Different parts of the school can be closed to create spaces that can be used separately at night time.

The Statens Byggeskikkpris is an honorary award given annually to the buildings and built environments that through design, materials and interaction with location and environment can help to enhance, renew and develop the universal architecture. The candidates for the award shall have good architectural design and shall meet the key requirements for safety and universal design. The goal is to stimulate the construction and property industries for the construction of buildings with low energy requirements, environmentally friendly materials and a design that makes it possible for everyone to use the building.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Tjuvholmen’s Masterplan

Tjuvholmen lays on the west side of 'Pipervika', the inner harbour of the Oslo fjord and is the natural extension of Aker Brygge. Tjuvholmen is actually composed by 3 islands: Akerodden (the closest from Aker Brygge, mixed use area), Tjuvholmen (mostly residential) and Skjæret/Holmen (reserved for a park and cultural areas). The master-plan competition was won in 2002 by Niels Torp Arkitekter. Since then, Selvaag Gruppen and Aspelin-Ramm gruppen have been responsible for the construction of the several buildings. The design of the different buildings was given to different offices and the ones located in Akerodden are finished and have been up for sale since 2005 .

Akerodden, the first island of Tjuvholmen has an area of 2.1 hectares, supporting 83,000m² of development, consisting of a hotel, residential apartments, shops, restaurants, cafes and offices. The site is crossed by one main avenue (Tjuvholmen Alle) and 2 smaller streets, intersecting to make the main plaza (Olav Selvaags Plass) and creating 4 different sectors. The connection to Aker Brygge is made through 2 bridges which link public spaces on both sides: a promenade on the fjord side and squares on the inner side. On the south limit of the island was created a sunny green area with a privileged view to the fjord.
The vertical organization of the buildings (with an average of 11 floors) follows a traditional composition: shopping and restaurants on the ground floor, offices on the middle floors and residential on the top floors.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Renzo Piano in Oslo

As most Europeans cities, Oslo has been making a huge investment to bring the city closer to its water front, removing large industrial areas and turning them into housing, commercial and business places. Ongoing is the second phase of Tjuvholmen where the main attraction will be the new Astrup Fearnley Museet, designed by Renzo Piano and supposed to open in 2012.

The initial project from the Italian architect is composed by 3 different buildings (the Astrup Fearnley Museum, an office building and a culture centre) all covered by a unifying curved roof that slopes down until touching the public park. The buildings are located in 2 different small islands connected by bridges. The exterior area will incorporate an observation tower, a Sculpture park and a small sand beach, which, according to the architect, will be one of the most beautiful places in the world, I guess he could say otherwise.

According to Piano, the building is inspired by Norway in many ways, not really specifying anything, except that there will be a lot of wood. There’s big expectations about the project and if it will or not open up Oslo for the international “star system”.

The Astrup Fernley Museum of modern Art, is a private own museum that opened originally in 1993 in a building not so far from Piano’s new project. In the permanent collection are represented artists like Asger Jorns, Gerhard Richter or Jeff Koons. There are also frequent temporary exhibitions from International and Norwegian modern artists.

Friday, 5 November 2010

Gary Bates’ Conference

It took place last night at the Architects Association in Oslo (OAF) a conference with Gary Bates, member of Spacegroup, and for 2 hours he presented to a full room how to be an architect and an entertainer. With some humour and some amusing arrogance Bates went through 4 recent projects in different stages that the office has been working on, plus an extra project: the office’s website that is worth a visit.

With the normal and sour complaints about architecture competitions, Bates showed the result from some competitions they have been involved in: Oslo S (Oslo’s central Station) and the new Opera and Culture house in Kristiansund. Also, we got the chance to see the development of the Clarion Hotel in Trondheim and some of the studies for Drottninghög’s Masterplan, Helsingborg in Sweden.

In such a short time for such big projects we got a glance at the office’s method where it is clear a pragmatic analysis of the problems, a clever approach to the sites’ conditions, an interesting excitement to solve the city’s issues and even a lucid understanding of the economical and political issues involved. Although, the solutions come out as too complicated, formally speaking. And if it’s true that often complex problems require complex solutions, though complex doesn’t mean complicated, and that’s where things fall apart. It’s probably the result of a culture of too many glossy renders and a lot of style magazines.

Anyway, Gary Bates provided an interesting lecture and proved why his office has been getting so much work and have won so many competitions.

Final note: Is it normal to go to lectures with a bottle of beer in hand?

Monday, 1 November 2010

New Kiosk in Frogner Park

Nominated for the 2010’s “Oslo bys arkitekturpris” (Oslo’s Architecture Award), this small kiosk / service building, designed by div.A Architects, proves that it is possible to intervene in classified and very touristic areas without ruining or competing with the main attraction, in this case Frogner Park, originally from the 19th century and one of the most visited places in Oslo.

The small concrete volume houses some public toilets, a souvenir shop and an exterior terrace with fixed furniture. The design process had in consideration several aspects of the garden itself: the simplicity of the volume, the idea of weight and transparency, the choice of apparent concrete (which connects with the granite, main material used in the Park), the pattern of the glazed areas (which follows the lanterns and floor patterns of the Park), etc.
Without creating too many polemics, this clearly new building entered the park and it has that feeling of belonging, of part of the Park without chocking, and time will bring that patine that will allow it to merge in the grass fields and trees.