Five Intervention Strategies for the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale Revealed

Five Intervention Strategies for the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale Revealed, Kirkenes Harbor (2009): one of four 'Intervention Strategy' sites. Image © Mathis Herbert
Kirkenes Harbor (2009): one of four 'Intervention Strategy' sites. Image © Mathis Herbert

Following an international open call for 'Intervention Strategies' which connect and correspond to the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale’s theme—After Belongingfive proposals have been selected to be developed as part of its core program, to be displayed and discussed throughout the course of the event. The jury have been "pleased and impressed by the wide range of proposals, their creativity, seriousness and sometimes also the humor with which [the submissions] approach issues of real gravity, and by the care and hard work that was evident in almost all of them."

The jury—which included Ann-Sofi Rönnskog (Territorial Agency), Yashar Hanstad (TYIN tegnestue), Thomas Keenan (Bard College), Nina Berre (OAT), and the After Belonging Agency—selected the five strongest proposals out of a total of 127 submissions. The winners include two projects at the Torshov refugee transit center in Oslo, one in Oslo’s Gardermoen airport, one along the Russian-Norwegian border in Kirkenes, and one involving the airbnb network in Copenhagen. The jury have also chosen to recognize a number of projects with honorable mentions, indicating a very high level of thought and rigor as well as sensitivity in responding to the call. The successful applicants will spend 2016 and a prize of NOK 150,000 (approximately €16,000 or $17,000) to develop their proposals in close collaboration with the After Belonging Agency and local partner institutions on each site.

After Belonging Agency "are glad that the call had such a great response, with proposals that show the diverse ways in which architects’ expertise might become relevant in addressing the topics at stake in the Triennale. For us it is important that the Triennale tests new forms of practice, and we look forward to working with the teams with that ambition."

According to the jury, "evaluating the proposals was difficult, but also exciting, because of the boldness and imagination with which so many of the projects responded to the curatorial provocation." In making its decisions, the jury put the emphasis on what the curatorial team had called 'Intervention Strategies' – proposals that directly addressed the actual conditions of the five sites, rather than the broader concepts that will be represented in the Triennale exhibition.

The Oslo Architecture Triennale have stated that "the jury is excited to hand over these five projects to their teams and the curators. We are confident that many of them will change in the course of the year-long development process, and we trust in the positive effects of all the conversations and experiments that are the hallmarks of genuine 'Interventions'."

The five selected projects include:

OPENtransformation

Elisabeth Søiland, Silje Klepsvik, Åsne Hagen (Bergen, Norway)

From the jury. The jury was impressed by the ambition of this project and its potential to generate a frank and open discussion of hospitality for refugees. It addresses the Triennale’s core issues on the Torshov site and at a much larger scale. The team proposes to develop an online housing exchange modelled on home-sharing platforms, while at the same time provoking a debate about housing regulation and policy in Norway more generally. The group aims to challenge current Norwegian housing policy in order to show greater adaptability and hospita- lity to global migration through two principal interventions:

First, to challenge policy on the organization and subsidy-system for refugee housing, by creating online platforms (effectively putting the register of www. tilfluktshjem.no into practice) for refugees to find private hosts, and therefore an alternative route to social integration. The jury finds it credible to develop the app together with Westerdals, as a tool to discuss and evaluate new policy with UDI (The Norwegian Directorate of Immigration), municipalities, and asylum seeker communities.

Second, to imagine alternatives to the current housing market, both in terms of policy and of housing structures. The jury appreciates this attempt to investigate the ways in which the obstacles faced by refugees, and made visible by their struggles, are not simply about them or immigration but reflect much more fundamental econo- mic and political structures in Norway, ones that every citizen has a stake in.

The team also proposed to create a new shared facility for refugees in the city, in the form of a pavilion—the jury questions the need for such a building and asks the group to also evaluate existing facilities. The jury feels that the core of the project is in the practice of an organization influencing policy than necessarily the architectural design of a pavilion. 

Modes of Movement (Torshov)

Ruimteveldwerk: Pieter Brosens, Brecht Van Duppen, Sander Van Duppen, Lene Beelen, Pieter Cloeckaert (Antwerp and Brussels, Belgium)

From the jury. The project team will produce a travel guide to the Oslo area for and by asylum seekers in the Torshov Transitt- mottak, a transit center for unaccompanied minors in Oslo managed by Norwegian People’s Aid. The young refugees are encouraged to discover and document places and occasions within the city centre that they find interesting or relevant to their daily lives, and through the production of a guide claim their ways to movement, public space, and to another form of belonging—seeking hospitality rather than confinement. The project team proposes to facilitate the process of exploration, mapping, and presentation, starting as architectural guides and following the project all the way through design and publication.

The jury believes that this project will make an important contribution to the everyday life of the immigrants at Torshov—not simply an activity but as a concrete manifestation of their presence, status, and rights. It offers a form and a forum that will enable a much-needed dialogue between the residents at the asylum-center and those in the city centre of Oslo. And by acknowledging the refugees as positive contributors to the cultural and economic life of Oslo, the project deals with migration and integration in a creative way.

The project, which can also function as a template for similar interventions elsewhere in Norway and even globally, serves to call attention to the complex ways in which the arrival of asylum seekers plays out in archite- ctural and urban terms. It also underlines the fact that the current situation is in urgent need of creative and humane political responses, and that even exemplary humanitarian projects like NPA’s Toshov center are under stress by a variety of factors. 

'Managing Dissidence'. Image Courtesy of OTA
'Managing Dissidence'. Image Courtesy of OTA
'Managing Dissidence'. Image Courtesy of OTA
'Managing Dissidence'. Image Courtesy of OTA

Managing Dissidence in Gardermoen

Bollería Industrial/Factory-Baked Goods: Paula Currás, Ana Olmedo and Enrique Ventosa (Madrid, Spain)

From the jury. Calling attention to the ways highly-charged spaces can seemingly control and generate human behavior and interactions, the team proposes to design and deploy a set of devices that can serve as vehicles for dissident and critical behaviors in Gardermoen Airport. The project is concerned with the parameters that regulate every airport. The site-specific instruments they propose for Gardermoen underline the uniformity of airports everywhere while challenging the notion that conformity and obedience are their inevitable result.

The project defines new forms of (architectural) practice by transforming and inventing machines that function as surprising, alternative body-scale, humorous interventions. Linked to other contemporary challenges to the forms of oppression derived from new technologies operating in the everyday life of contemporary society, the project seeks to enable users of and visitors to the airport to confront and change some of its rituals.

This proposal emphasizes the increasingly generic experience of travelers in every airport—foremost among them: irritation, aggravation, and offense— through its spaces and technological devices. By taking a critical approach to these common rituals of behavior, the project shines a light on the many regulations of the airport, rules that not necessarily are rooted in law. Through the discussions and debates that the project will surely give rise to, the possibility of challenging and even changing some of these rules can emerge. 

Nature, Labour, Land: A Public Spatial Archive for Kirkenes

Nabil Ahmed, Damaso Randulfe (London, UK)

From the jury. Ahmed and Randulfe’s ambitious research project explores the political, cultural, and geographic economies of the far north in the interest of a future ‘transnational eco-political citizenship.’ The space of and around Kirkenes—with its visa-free zone, its wealth of extracted resources, and its massive exposure to the effects of climate change—already registers much larger global processes with precision, and makes clear how high their stakes are. Fully aware of the ominous threats posed by melting icepacks and disappearing borders, the team seeks nonetheless to discover new models for politics and new kinds of actors in the shifting spatial conditions of the Arctic.

Addressing the natural world, the indigenous people of the north, and international labor organizations on land and sea, the project will develop an archive of experience and evidence that can become a toolkit for intervention in the new spaces of the north, and elsewhere. The jury sees in the project nothing less than the potential for a transformed discourse and practice of human rights, appropriate to a space in which the nature and human beings are thoroughly entangled.

Harnessing advanced technologies for geo-spatial analysis and interpretation, more traditional modes of discussion and conversation, and aesthetically powerful forms of representation, their research should provoke genuine discussions about ownership, sharing, sovereignty, and agency. The jury encourages the team to imagine concrete forms of engagement with communities and policy-makers that will make the legal and political consequences of this research as hard as possible to ignore. 

'Cher'. Image Courtesy of OTA
'Cher'. Image Courtesy of OTA
'Cher'. Image Courtesy of OTA
'Cher'. Image Courtesy of OTA

Cher (Copenhagen)

Caitlin Blanchfield, Glen Cummings, Jaffer Kolb, Farzin Lotfi-Jam and Leah Meisterlin (New York City, USA)

From the jury. This project deals with the processes of commodification triggered by the so-called “sharing economies,” and particularly by home sharing platforms, with an ironically homeopathic strategy: rather than resisting, it expands their reach to the scale of furniture, private life, and public space. The proposal builds on the particularities of Danish design, as these have been re-codified to become the normative aesthetic for the cosmopolitan target audience of these platforms.

With this proposal, the team radically reimagines the role of the architect, extending its reach to the management of space and the economic transactions that underlie its use. The project uses furniture items as a unit that challenges the stability of architecture and the boun- daries between public and private, and more broadly reflects on the architectures that can result from the contemporary fragmentation of space and time.

The jury has also recognized the following five projects, indicating "a very high level of thought and rigor and a sensitivity in responding to the call":

  • Asylum-seeker´s Music Radio Network by Transnational Arts Production (TrAP) / Khaled Harara, Abazar Hamid, Sheldon George Blackman, Jan Lothe Eriksen (SAFEmuse) and Hilde Ghosh Maisey (Oslo, Norway).
  • Duty Free Shop – DFS by Philippe Rekacewicz (Arendal, Norway) and Philippe Rivière, (Vendôme, France)
  • Cooperative Arctic Hedge Fund: Investing in a New Constituency in the Far North by Future Firm: Craig Reschke and Ann Lui (Chicago, USA)
  • Living Museum by Kai Reaver and Julie Aars (Oslo, Norway)
  • Modulor’s Bastard Children by Víctor M. C. Ciborro, Rocío R. Rivas, José J. C. Afonso, Ana S Sierra, José M. A. Moncayo (Madrid, Spain)

You can read more about the four In Residence sites, here.

Cite: James Taylor-Foster. "Five Intervention Strategies for the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale Revealed" 28 Jan 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/781120/five-intervention-strategies-for-the-2016-oslo-architecture-triennale-revealed/>