In February 2014, the Oslo-based research and exhibition platform 0047 initiated in co-operation with the magazine Arkitektur N an open call inviting architects, artists and the general public to sketch their respective visions for the government district, and in particular Erling Viksjø’s Y- and Høyblokka. We asked for visions that go far beyond the scope of function, as well as for pragmatic solutions, for drafts and for building designs, for intermediary projects, and for more conclusive design ideas.
After a design phase of five weeks, the results of the open call are presented at 0047’s exhibition space at Schweigaardsgate 34D until May, 11th. This blog aims to present all the submissions including images, texts and manifestos, completed with basic information about the authors. However, this is a work in progress; we will add more information in the weeks to come.
The open call is not an architectural competition in a narrow sense; it is a bottom-up planning initiative which shall stir and enrich the debate about the future of the government district. Planning the future government district might not seem like an appropriate opportunity for participatory design strategies. However, the government district is a very particular site, loaded with history and framed by persistent debates about the nation’s built identity, Oslo’s architectural heritage and the heart of the city. The site was forever marked by rightwing terrorism, leaving a hole in the self-image of Norwegian society. To fulfil the essential needs of this loaded situation takes more than mere matter-of-fact expertise and technical reports, and goes beyond purely practical considerations.
The open call is a ‘dugnad’, a voluntary input in the debate, and hence we do not award prizes. Instead, we are presenting as many proposals and projects in the exhibition as possible. We received more than 50 submissions, mostly from Norway; but also artists and architects from Poland, Italy, Germany, Ireland, France, Portugal and Spain responded to the open call. The proposals range from sketches and drawings to poems, manifestos and fully developed architectural designs, proving impressively that Viksjøs significant complex is much more than “just a building”, and that the future development of Oslo’s government district needs to be subject of an open, democratic process, involving experts as much as the general public.