Posts tagged with "Oslo":

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What is the architecture of degrowth?

The Oslo Architecture Triennale, now in its seventh iteration, has made a name for itself under the directorship of Hanna Dencik Petersson as one of the most prescient and timely showcases in the relentless stream of -iennales and -ennials, those beloved recurring art and design festivals where dreams are made. After a successful 2016 exhibition themed around migration and identity in the face of hyper-globalization, the program returned in 2019, this time examining climate change, resource allocation, and economic systems under the theme of “degrowth” with Enough: The Architecture of Degrowth. Curated by Interrobang, an architecture and engineering firm, with chief curators Matthew Dalziel, Phineas Harper, Cecilie Sachs Olsen, and Maria Smith, the exhibition is a fresh take on ecology, introducing the ideology of degrowth into architecture discourse and examining how it would help realize a more ecologically-oriented human civilization. Degrowth has recently gotten attention as a new paradigm for understanding a post-consumerist future where resource extraction and economic growth are decelerated, giving way to new social, political, and economic systems that are more harmonious with nature and the earth’s finite resources and terrain. For an exhibition, this is fertile intellectual territory to speculate on the ways in which we build, and how they can evolve in alternative worlds. It is a refreshingly positive take on politics today, as much of our discourse, in architecture and beyond, is overwhelmingly negative and aims to discount or problematize (cancel) rather than propose new ideas or provoke new thoughts. The main festival exhibition, titled The Library, was conceptualized as “a spatial infrastructure for sharing knowledge” and was organized as a series of four rooms or “collections” that featured works ranging from material samples and books to analyses of languages and economic systems. The range and breadth of types of thought experiments presented a holistic and clear vision—almost a manifesto—of what degrowth might look like as an architectural philosophy. It was not a set of solutions, but rather speculative, positive provocations on what this new area of discourse might look like. In the Library's first collection, “The Subjective,” personal identities and rituals were examined. How would life change in a degrowth world? How would we live, laugh, and love? The Aerocene backpack by the Aerocene Community is a personal, solar-powered balloon imagined as an alternative to carbon-intensive jet air travel. Helen Stratford’s Organizational Diagrams for Everyday Life is a set of schematic diagrams that redraw the rituals of a daily schedule to visualize new routines outside of the pressures of work and productivity metrics that define us today. Perhaps the most traditionally eco-friendly collection is the “Objective Collection,” which is about materials and building techniques. Like the rest of the Triennale, it attempts to take these decades-old sustainability ideas and pushes them into new places. Another Column by YYYY-MM-DD is a deployable textile column that can be filled with sand or aggregate to create a site-specific architecture to replace concrete. Multiplo by GUSTO is a simple brise-soleil made of discarded fan covers from an abandoned army base in Northern Italy. A host of other new, eco-friendly materials gave a glimpse into how resource extraction, especially fossil fuels, could be replaced by smaller-scale reuse and bio-engineering to architectural "degrowth." In the Collective and Systemic collections lie the big questions that both define a possible “Architecture of degrowth,” and are also impossible to answer now. How new collectivities and systems would be constructed is not clear in degrowth discourse at the moment, but the ideology is ripe for speculating on how we might live in a post-consumerist, post-growth society. Collective projects include Visual Ecolophonic by INDA and Animali Domestici examines and visualizes the Sami language of Northern Finland, which they describe as more in harmony than nature than most languages. ARPA by (ab)Normal is a theoretical world where artificial intelligence replaces market forces as an organizing principle. It is an important aspect to consider here, as questions about power structures and humanity’s proclivity toward violence have to be taken into consideration. The biggest questions are raised in the Systemic Collection, where entire social and political systems, networks, and environments are rethought at both the local and the global scale. This, according to the curators, is where degrowth departs from previous environmental movements. MassBespoke, a project to build quality housing out of timber, another replacement for concrete, was also on show at the Triennale. By allowing that flexibility in the system, these homes can now be personalized like custom homes. The Intentional Estates Agency (Jesse LeCavalier, Tei Carpenter, Dan Taeyuong, and Chris Woebken) is a set of real and imagined real estate models both new and old—from 19th-century utopias to seasteading—that speculate on alternatives to our current real estate metrics. In addition to the main exhibition, more than 100 events and other programming added to the degrowth chorus. Standouts included a workshop to make tote bags from recycled tote bags from previous events, as well as a spectacular, interactive performance by Rimini Protokoll that made the audience unwilling participants in the complexities and absurdities of our growth-fueled construction industry; politicians engaging in corruption, lawyers battling, financiers gambling, and precarious workers struggling. Perhaps what is the most interesting aspect of this festival are the questions about that come next. How is degrowth a helpful ideology for architecture? Can it provoke new ways of building at the individual level that can become communal and then translate into change at the systemic scale? What power structures are most susceptible to degrowth in architecture? How can the development and real estate industry be convinced to participate in this? How do democracy and degrowth interact? What would happen if the right were to take degrowth and use it as an excuse to enable eco-fascism? Conversely, what does a green, socialist utopia look like? Can every aspect of our lives be redesigned through the lens of degrowth? The answers don’t matter right now, it is the questions being raised that offer promise, and should echo through architecture at this most critical and important time for these eco-ideas.
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Norway's E39 superhighway will connect its coast and break a few records

A $47 billion proposal to link together Norway’s wild western coastline is the nation’s largest and toughest infrastructure project yet, according to NPR. The project's new highway would connect Oslo in the southeast to the coastal cities of Bergen, Stavanger, Alesund, and Trondheim, replacing numerous ferries with tunnels and bridges. But because of challenging geography, architects and civil engineers have been forced to develop new and inventive ideas to complete the route. After decades of building roads all over the country, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) understands the nation's waterways, full of endless mazes of fjords and lakes, were not designed to be conquered by the automobile. And with its freezing weather and rugged mountain soil, only a select especially acclimated number of people inhabit this area of Scandinavia—a number that decreases yearly. Most attribute depopulation in these areas to a lack of accessibility. All local road transportation relies on small highways that crisscross the region’s valleys, and the only way to navigate past most waterways is by ferry, which can take upwards of 45 minutes each; in some areas, driving to the neighboring city can require three ferry trips. Mayor Martin Kleppe of Tysnes, a region of rural municipalities located on an archipelago off the coast, told NPR that, "The ferry is a beautiful trip, but it's more an obstacle than a good connection." Tysnes's population has decreased by 50 percent over the last century, a decline the project is meant to counter. But where there's a challenge, there's a solution. The renderings and video released by the NPRA for the project depict some grand ideas—suspension bridges, tunnels, underground junctions—to link all waterways, connect remote island towns, and drastically improve accessibility to the region from the rest of Scandinavia. If completed, the project would contain a number of record-breaking engineering marvels: the suspension bridge at Sognefjord, for example, would have 1,500-foot-high towers and its 12,100-foot-long span would dwarf even the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge and the Millau Viaduct. But it is not all figured out quite yet. The NPRA's greatest challenge is at the Sula fjord, the deepest and the widest of them all, and an important shipping route. To cross the 3 miles of water while leaving the 66-foot-high clearance for boats to pass, engineers stand with two likely proposals. The first is a rather awkward three-tower suspension bridge. The two exterior towers would be placed on land, the center tower being anchored to the seafloor.  The second proposal is the first of its kind in the world: a submerged tunnel tethered not to the seabed below, but above to floating pontoons. While many other underwater tunnels already connect vast waterways—those of Chesapeake Bay, from Copenhagen to Malmö, and Hong Kong to Macau, for instance—one that floats could open new doors in the civil engineering world. A project of this magnitude is going to not only make a massive mark on Norway’s majestic landscape and make life easier for its residents, but it will also open the area to the rest of the world. This endeavor may put the global spotlight on the far north.
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Zaha Hadid Architects to design glacier-inspired metro stations in Oslo

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) and Norway-based A-Lab have been chosen to design the new Fornbuporten and Fornebu Senter metro stations in Oslo, Norway. Aside from being Norway's capital, Oslo is known for its innovative architecture, like Snøhetta's award-winning Oslo Opera House, and rich past as a gateway for shipping and maritime trade in Europe. The Fornebubanen metro line and its accompanying stations will only add to Oslo’s cultural appeal, serving as a vital new mode of public transit and connecting up-and-coming neighborhoods to the city center. The five-mile-long Fornebubanen metro line will run through an underground tunnel and connect to six stations, two of which will be designed by ZHA. Those two stations are intended to reflect Norway’s breathtaking landscape—characterized by hilly islands, rocky glaciers, and northern lights. At the Fornebu Senter station, buildings will be carved to resemble mountains and fjords, their canyon-like curves directing the flow of commuters to and from the street. The Fornbuporten station will contain two public spaces designed to geometrically mimic the dramatic landscape of Norway, including an oval canopy and civic park to the north and a layered, orthogonal pavilion to the south. Both stations will be flooded with moody, celestial lighting that varies depending on the time of day, symbolizing the mutable Oslo sky while uplifting passengers’ spirits. According to ZHA, it will take only 12 minutes to travel to the city center once all six stations are completed. The construction of the Fornebubanen metro line will be one of Oslo’s most impressive undertakings, revolutionizing the city and bringing communities together. Construction will likely begin in 2020 and top out by 2025.
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Snøhetta buries plans for its A House to Die In

Snøhetta's 'death house' has, well, died. Norwegian newspaper The Local reported that the Oslo city council recently voted to block the controversial house because it was too close to Edvard Munch's historic studio. The house had been designed for Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard, who is no stranger to controversy. His works have been described as racist and misogynist, and he has drawn accusations of promoting pedophilia for depicting semi-naked young boys. The house, officially titled A House to Die In, was the result of a collaboration between Melgaard and the Norwegian firm and was intended to be part-sculpture, part-home for the artist and his parents. The team attempted to translate the artist's work into building form for the project. Much like Melgaard's work, the structure was visually jarring and contained a mashup of various forms. An angular mass that was intended to have been clad in charred wood would have rested atop a series of white biomorphic columns. According to The Local, the city councilors did not object to the form so much as the fact that the building would have taken over formerly open public space. “We want the site where the death house was intended to be placed to remain a green area for the benefit of the local population, and we encourage Bjarne to find a new site for the project," they said.
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Morse code facade wraps a skatepark in Norway

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The Oslo Skatehall, which opened earlier this year, is a new 25,000-square-foot indoor venue designed to be shared between professional and amateur skateboarders of all ages. The building, located on a sloping site near central Oslo, is the result of a close collaboration between architects at Dark, a Norwegian-based firm of landscape architects and skate park design specialists.
  • Facade Manufacturer Schüco (windows & doors); Hansen Sveis & Montering AS (structural frame); Stålbygg AS (aluminum panels)
  • Architects Dark Arkitekter
  • Facade Installer Varden Entreprenør AS (general contractor); Bjørnstad Prosjektering AS (construction management); Profilteam (facade contractor)
  • Facade Consultants Sweco (structural engineering); Hjellnes Consult AS (MEP); Borg Bygg AS (facade consultant); Høyer Finseth AS (construction consultant)
  • Location Oslo, Norway
  • Date of Completion 2017
  • System rainscreen
  • Products custom Schüco-System
Oslo Skatehall’s boxy massing is clad with aluminum panels punctured by a surface pattern of Morse code symbols. The patterning produces a literal transcription of the 1978 Norwegian law forbidding the use, sale, and advertising of skateboards. The architects say this ban, which was lifted in 1989, had the intention of preventing serious accidents but did not discourage people from taking up the sport. “When the ban was lifted in 1989 the interest exploded. Skateboarders went from being lawbreakers to celebrities and youth idols.” The Morse code patterning is introduced to the interior of the building as well, in the cafe and service areas, where its message conveys slang terms and tricks used by the skating community. The facade embraces materials and detailing that were purposefully designed for a “simple and crude expression,” said the architects. “There is a raw honesty to the materials selected, which creates variation in the surfaces and structures. Colors and materiality creates a diversified entirety and gives an extra dimension to the angled expression.” The architects say building information modeling (BIM) enabled a highly collaborative design, fabrication, and assembly process. “BIM has enabled all participants in the project to collaborate successfully, from service providers, management teams, contractors and advisors down to the actual users of the facilities, each contributing their individual expertise.” The hall has been constructed in accordance with Passive House standards, with a focus on recycled materials, life-cycle costs (LCC), air circulation, and sustainable energy sources. The end result is an integrated expression of function and space, in which sculptural static spaces for skating must alternate with effective evacuation routes. “Oslo Skatehall is a salute to youthful values, its fully-integrated holistic design oriented towards the future,” the architects concluded. “The interaction of the building mass with the outdoor venues and surrounding park landscape are symbolic of the interaction between different generations of users, both performers and spectators, now and for many years to come.”  
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View the full details about this year's Oslo Architecture Triennale

Earlier this year,  AN briefly covered what would be going on at this years Oslo Architecture Triennale in Norway. Titled After Belonging, the design festival has now unveiled the participants of the programs that will going on throughout the event. The full calendar can be found here. The Trienniale divides the theme of After Belonging into two parts: the first, On Residence, will “collectively analyze the spatial conditions that shape our ways of staying in transit and the definition of our contemporary spaces of residence.” Meanwhile, In Residence, will see “international architects and professionals concerned with the built environment… engage in local collaborations in Oslo, the Nordic region, and around the globe, to intervene in the transformation of residence.” As well as contributing to the On/In Residence exhibitions, the participants listed will also contribute to the Extended Program; The Academy; The Embassy and the After Belonging Conference.  https://vimeo.com/140888235 Extended Program The Extended Program comprises six projects selected through an "Open Call for Associated Projects" last year. These projects include: ADAPT - Accessible, Affordable, Integrated Housing Strategies in Oslo, Bytopian Breakfast, Counter Borders, Global Spaces of Chinese Labor, Marble of The Opera, and Who lives there. The Academy The Academy is a forum organized by the Oslo School of Architecture and Design AHO which aims to coalesce a selection of schools from across the globe. Here, the schools will engage in discourse relating to the triennale's themes while also reflecting on "new forms of residence, contemporary states of transit, and the ways in which architecture and design are responding to new forms of belonging and belongings." Lectures, workshops, and roundtables will also be set to feature in the program which is due to operate in three phases—"an analytical phase, a critical phase, and a production phase"—all of which will take place over eight days. The aim of The Academy is to produce a a "collective project" being either an "ephemeral structure, a performance, a publication, an action, an exhibition, or a combination of many of those things." The Embassy Conceived and designed by Dutch firm, Studio Jonas Staal, The New World Embassy: Rojava is a stateless embassy that represents, through cultural means, the ideals of “stateless democracy” developed by Kurdish communities of the autonomous region of Rojava, northern-Syria. The New World Embassy: Rojava is a stateless embassy that culturally symbolizes, a “stateless democracy” and its ideals, developed by Kurdish communities of the autonomous region of Rojava in northern-Syria. A temporary installation, the project rethinks "non-state models of political representation through art" while engaging visitors in the "unique cultural and political ideals being developed in this war-torn region." After Belonging Conference The conference will address the primary points if discussion raised at the triennale. "What is architecture’s role in the contemporary reconfiguration of belonging? How has this process transformed the notion of residence? What are the spatial, technical, and sociopolitical consequences of this transformation?" Below is the outline of dates and details of the 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale programs. After Belonging: On Residence Exhibition, Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture DOGA September 8 – November 27, 2016 After Belonging: In Residence Exhibition, National Museum – Architecture. September 8 – November 27, 2016 After Belonging Conference Oslo Opera House September 9, 2016 Press pass available at oslotriennale.no/konferanse After Belonging: The Objects, Spaces, and Territories of the Ways We Stay in Transit Publication of the Oslo architecture Triennale 2016, published by Lars Müller Launching September 8, 2016 The Academy Forum organized by the Oslo School of Architecture and Design, Stenersen Museum September 11-18, 2016 The Embassy New World Embassy – Rojava. Development and programming by Studio Jonas Staal in collaboration with the Communities of Rojava Launching in November, 2016 Extended Program September 8 – November 27, 2016 Below is the full list of participants due to contribute to this years triennale. Adrian Lahoud Ahmet Öğüt & Emily Fahlén Amale Andraos Andrés Jaque/Office for Political Innovation Arjun Appadurai Atelier Bow-Wow Bengler Bouchra Khalili Caitlin Blanchfield, Glen Cummings, Jaffer Kolb, Farzin Lotfi-Jam & Leah Meisterlin Center for Political Beauty Cristina López Uribe Cooking Sections (Daniel Fernández Pascual & Alon Schwabe) Coralie Gourguechon Deane Simpson Design Earth Didier Fassin Einar Sneve Martinussen & Jørn Knutsen Elisabeth Søiland, Silje Klepsvik & Åsne Hagen Emeka Ogboh Enorme Studio Eriksen Skajaa Architects Eyal Weizman Factory-baked Goods Felicity D. Scott Femke Herregraven FFB First Office Folder Frida Escobedo & Guillermo Ruiz de Teresa Grete Brochman Gro Bonesmo Hu Fang Husos Ijlal Muzaffar Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli Iver Neumann James Bridle James D. Graham Jeffrey Schnapp Jesse LeCavalier Jill Magid John Harwood Juan Herreros Kadambari Baxi, Janette Kim, Meg McLagan, David Schiminovich & Mark Wasiuta Keller Easterling Kër Thiossane with Amadou Kane Sy Khaled Malas Laura Kurgan, Juan Saldarriaga & Angelika Rettberg L.E.FT & Lawrence Abu Hamdan Living Architectures Louise Amoore Lorenzo Pezzani & Charles Heller Luis Callejas & Charlotte Hansson Mabel Wilson Martha Rosler & Pelin Tan Martti Kalliala Merve Bedir Michel Feher Nabil Ahmed & Dámaso Randulfe Negar Azimi Nora Akawi, Nina V. Kolowratnik, Johannes Pointl & Eduardo Rega Matilde Cassani OMA Pa.LaC.E Pamela Karimi Paulo Tavares Paulo Moreira, Ana Naomi de Sousa & Pétur Waldorff Per Heggenes/IKEA Foundation Reinhold Martin ROTOR Ruimteveldwerk estudio SIC | VIC Snøhetta Sputniko! Studio Jonas Staal with the Communities of Rojava Supersudaca Superunion Territorial Agency The State (Rahel Aima, Ahmad Makia, Deepak Unnikrishnan) Thomas Hylland Eriksen Thomas Keenan Transborder Studio Troy Conrad Therrien TYIN Tegnestue Unfold Yasmeen Lari
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What's going on at this year's Oslo Architecture Triennale

"What is architecture’s role in the contemporary reconfiguration of belonging? How has this process transformed the notion of residence? What are the spatial, technical, and sociopolitical consequences of this transformation? Where do we belong? [In] relation to the objects we own, share, and exchange—How do we manage our belongings?" These are the questions that this year's Oslo Architecture Triennale (OAT) conference After Belonging hopes to address. The conference will host sixteen guest speakers who will all contribute with different approaches to the questions outlined (above). It will also address questions surrounding refugees, migration, homelessness; new mediated forms of domesticity and foreignness; environmental displacements; tourism; and the technologies and economies of sharing. This year's speakers includeAmale Andraos – Work Architecture Company, Columbia GSAPP; Atelier Bow-WowNegar Azimi – Bidoun; Simen Svale Skogsrud and Even Westvang – Bengler; Gro Bonesmo – Space Group, Oslo School of Architecture and Design; Grete Brochman – University of Oslo; Thomas Hylland EriksenPer Heggenes – IKEA Foundation; Juan Herreros – Estudio Herreros; Yasmeen Lari – Heritage Foundation of Pakistan; Reinhold Martin – Buell Center for American Architecture, Columbia GSAPP; Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli – OMA; SnøhettaTYIN Tegnestue ArchitectsAnn-Sofi Rönnskog and John Palmesino – Territorial Agency and Eyal Weizman – Center for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths The Trienniale divides the theme of After Belonging into two parts: the first, On Residence, will "collectively analyze the spatial conditions that shape our ways of staying in transit and the definition of our contemporary spaces of residence." Meanwhile, In Residence, will see "international architects and professionals concerned with the built environment... engage in local collaborations in Oslo, the Nordic region, and around the globe, to intervene in the transformation of residence." Other agendas for the event are set to focus on "global circulation of people, information, and goods has destabilized what we understand by residence, questioning spatial permanence, property, and identity—a crisis of belonging." The Triennale will also ask: "How can different agents involved in the built environment address the ways we stay in transit? How can architects intervene in the reconfiguration of the contemporary residence?" This year, the OAT will run from September 8 through to November 27, with the After Belonging conference lasting 7 hours on September 9, starting at 9:00 a.m being held at the Oslo Opera House.  
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Five intervention strategies selected for 2016 Oslo Architecture Triennale

The Oslo Architecture Triennale (OAT) invited architects and designers to create intervention strategies for five different sites in Scandinavia. Winners were announced January 28. The five different sites selected were: Asylum and Shelter Provision in Torshov; Oslo Border Definition in Oslo Airport Gardermoen; Resource Negotiations in Kirkenes; Transnational Neighborhoods in Tensta, Stockholm; and Home Sharing Platforms in Copenhagen. The five winners are: Modes of Movement Ruimteveldwerk Pieter Brosens, Brecht Van Duppen, Sander Van Duppen, Lene Beelen, Pieter Cloeckaert Antwerp and Brussels, Belgium The goal of this project was to produce a travel guide to Oslo for and by asylum seekers in Torshov Transittmottak, a transit station for unaccompanied minors. Ruimteveldwerk hopes that by encouraging young refugees to discover and share the places that are meaningful to them, they will generate a sense of belonging and community.
OPENtransformation Elisabeth Søiland, Silje Klepsvik, Åsne Hagen Bergen, Norway OPENtransformation’s ambition with this project is to generate an honest, open discussion of hospitality of refugees. The project includes changing policy on organization and subsidy system of refugee housing, by creating new ways for refugees to interact with locals. This includes an app that helps connect refugees to locals, an investigation into the current housing market, and a proposal to create a shared facility for refugees in the city to give them a gathering and meeting place.
Managing Dissidence in Gardermoen Bollería Industrial/Factory-Baked Goods: Paula Currás, Ana Olmedo and Enrique Ventosa Madrid, Spain By highlighting the intense social nature of airports and the odd human behavior that can result from those interactions, this project seeks to explore the uniformity of airports and how it can or cannot create consistent results. The proposal also highlights airport regulations that are not rooted in law and the “increasingly generic experience of travelers in every airport.”
Nature, Labour, Land: A Public Spatial Archive for Kirkenes Nabil Ahmed, Damaso Randulfe London Kirkenes, a northern town in Norway that’s only nine miles from Russia, is already experiencing the geo-political consequences of climate change with its extracted resources and melting ice packs. Ahmed and Randulfe explore a future “transnational eco-political citizenship” with advanced technologies to provoke discussion and offer solutions for Kirkenes and other northern spaces.
Cher Caitlin Blanchfield, Glen Cummings, Jaffer Kolb, Farzin Lotfi-Jam and Leah Meisterlin New York City A pun on “share,” this project ironically extrapolates a sharing economy into the realms of private and public spaces. The jury hopes that the project will stimulate discussions and debates on “styles of being together” and can lead to pilot applications of the concept. The winning teams will spend 2016 and a prize of NOK 150 000 to develop their proposals with the Triennale curators of the After Belonging agency. All five interventions will be displayed and discussed during the Triennale, After Belonging, which opens on September 8, 2016.
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To reduce their carbon footprint, four European cities introduce drastic traffic regulation plans

Amidst the COP21 UN Climate Change Conference, numerous cities announced questionably large goals to reduce carbon emissions. However, Oslo, Stockholm, Amsterdam, and Madrid, have backed their goals with concrete plans for extreme traffic regulation, ranging from a car-free city center in Oslo to free public transportation in Madrid.

Oslo's City Center to Be Car-Free by 2019

On October 19th, Oslo’s newly elected city council announced plans to turn the city center, within Ring 1, car-free by 2019. To do so, at least 37 miles of bicycle infrastructure will be established and protected, and all interfering or free parking spaces will be removed. 

The plan will also include a new metro tunnel and end the extension of E18 to the west. Lastly, motorists will be charged a rush hour fee. Through these bold implementations, the city hopes to halve emissions by 2020 and remove 95 percent of emissions by 2030, as AN covered here. As a first step, the City of Oslo will stop all its investments in companies that produce fossil fuel energy.

Stockholm Royal Seaport to Be Fossil Fuel Free by 2040

Since 1990, the City of Stockholm has lowered emissions by 44 percent, despite being one of the fastest growing cities in Europe. Recently, Stockholm announced a goal to be fossil fuel free by 2040. Stockholm is one of three finalists in the Sustainable Communities category of the C40 Cities Awards. Stockholm's recognized project, Stockholm Royal Seaport, is one of Europe's largest urban development areas and aims to limit carbon dioxide emission below 3,000 pounds per person by 2020. By 2040, Stockholm Royal Seaport is expected to house 12,000 new residential units and 35,000 workspaces, in addition to becoming fossil fuel free.

Amsterdam to Prioritize Local Traffic at the City Center

Earlier this year, the Amsterdam city council agreed on a new design for Muntplein Square, but recent studies reveal traffic in the city center should be limited even further. A car number plate analysis revealed that 20 percent of motorized traffic in the city center is to access surrounding areas, 15 percent is to access areas further outside the city, and 30 percent are just circulating—taxis looking for customers or people in search of parking. The city council therefore agreed to implement further traffic limitations. The new plan will direct unnecessary traffic in the city center to outside roads and prioritize local traffic, creating more space for pedestrians and cyclists. Taxis will experience the largest extension in travel time—roughly six minutes per vehicle each week. Residents and commercial vehicles will have an additional two to three minutes of travel time each week. Although the city council has agreed upon rerouting city center traffic, they will not vote until 2016. If approved, the plan will be implemented before the end of the year.

Madrid to Monitor Air Quality With Strict Traffic Regulations

This year, Madrid received an F, 58 percent, in the Soot Free Cities rankings, and later announced plans to enact some of the most rigorous anti-pollution laws in the world. On days when air quality falls below a designated threshold, half of cars will be banned from the roads, drastic speed limits will be implemented, and public transportation will be free. According to El Pais, these measures would have a daily cost of $2 million, and if monthly and annual transit pass users are refunded for the day, the daily cost would rise to $4.4 million.   Although these numbers are dreading to a city swamped in financial crisis, studies reveal the city’s pollution is responsible for 2000 premature deaths per year, and therefore the matter must be addressed. If these four plans are approved and successfully implemented, their measures may become a pattern across the globe.
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Oslo plans to make its city center free from cars in four years

Norway currently boasts three World Rally Championship drivers (second only to France), all of considerable pedigree, yet its capital city of Oslo is planning to remove cars for good. Along with the proposal to ban cars is the plan to build 37 miles worth of bike lanes by 2019 and a new system for handicap bus services and delivery vehicles. In a bid to reduce pollution, Reuters reported, politicians in Oslo said they want to be the first European capital to implement a comprehensive permanent ban on cars. With a population just under 650,000, Oslo has around 350,000 cars with most owners living outside the center but inside the city's boundaries. Emulating Paris' one day-a-year car ban, Oslo is bucking a trend many fellow European cities are following. Currently Brussels is trialling an eight month traffic circulation program involving the pedestrianization of its boulevards meanwhile the old cities of both Split and Dubrovnik in Croatia are completely car free. Shop owners in Oslo, though, fear the plans will hurt business, though it is worthwhile noting that the city is not banning all vehicles, so delivery trucks and the like will be allowed. Lan Marie Nguyen Berg, lead negotiator for the Green Party in Oslo has said "We want to make it better for pedestrians, cyclists. It will be better for shops and everyone." The plan also outlines the need for significant investment in infrastructure, most notably in public transportation that will have to support the growing number of users. Trials will be run after authorities investigate precedents in other european cities where plans have so far been a success. Aside from a marked reduction in pollution, the change will also make the city a much more appealing place for pedestrians and cyclists, something which the authorities are not alone in trying. According to Gemini, researchers from Scandinavian group SINTEF claim that much needs to be done about Norway's noise problem which is responsible for 150 deaths a year.
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Norwegian Invasion: Norsk design and architecture is having a moment

When the words “Scandinavian Design” come up, most people quickly think about Finland, Sweden, and Denmark. But Norway is no slouch, either. Recently, the nation's designers have been drumming up noise in the worlds of furniture, product design, and architecture. A string of exhibitions, a master plan for New York’s Times Square, and a robust program of roadside pavilions and viewing platforms highlight this Norsk moment. Leading the way are architects Snøhetta, who have been on quite the streak in the last year, most recently gaining commissions to master plan Penn Station and Times Square, just ten blocks from each other in New York. While their Times Square design isn’t the firm's most dramatic work—indeed, it's intended to be a subtle backdrop to the chaotic public space—but it should be a welcome, nuanced addition to the commercial free-for-all that includes Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar. Just a few blocks to the west—towards the Hudson River—the Royal Norwegian Consulate General showed off the country’s design prowess at a recent series of events. At Wanted Design, Calm, Cool and Collected: New Designs from Norway, a booth full of Norsk people and treasures, showcased the subtle use of wood characteristic of Scandinavian design. The up-and-coming studios on display included A-Form, Stokke Austad, Anderssen & Voll, Lars Beller Fjetland, Everything Elevated, Kristine Five Melvær, and Sverre Uhnger. Also sponsored by the Norwegian government was Insidenorway at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF), which hosted a group of classic Norwegian brands: Figgjo, Mandal Veveri, Røros Tweed, and VAD. Plates by Figgjo were offered in three styles and featured an elegant flat base and flared edge. Røros Tweed showed off textiles by other famous Norwegians—Anderssen & Voll, Snøhetta, and Bjarne Melgaard. At Collective Design, Oslo- and Tokyo-based Fuglen Gallery showcased an assortment of objects both new and old, alongside work by Norwegian artist Arne Lindaas. The eclectic assortment showed the thematic extension of Norwegian modernism into the 21st century, encompassing much of the iconic work with new, up-and-coming designers. In 2014, Norwegian Icons was curated by Fuglen and Blomqvist at Openhouse Gallery in New York, and showcased the Midcentury design that peaked in Norway around 1950–1970. This exhibition actually continued the tradition of Norway’s promotional shows on the international stage, while also setting up some context for the other shows. It is not just international exhibitions and commissions that have drawn attention to Norway’s strong design culture. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration famously commissions its infrastructure to architects. Across the country, there are points of architectural interest, many of which are located in scenic areas. Most famously, the Trollstigen National Tourist Route has six stunning overlooks. Besides Snøhetta’s iconic designs such as the Oslo Opera House, there are architects like Fantastic Norway and Reiulf Ramstad who are consistently producing top work. At institutions like Fuglen, 0047, and the Oslo School of Architecture & Design, intellectual communities thrive, fostering a strong community of young designers like MMW and Atelier Oslo. The city will get an additional cultural boost during the 2016 Oslo Triennale, curated by New York–based team at After Belonging Agency, a group of five Spanish architects, curators and scholars. Take a look at some of Norway's top new design in the gallery below.    
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Snøhetta to launch a new office in Copenhagen with sensory architecture exhibit

Snøhetta, the New York and Oslo–based firm named after Norway's highest mountain range, is opening an office in Copenhagen. The new space opens on June 18th at the Danish Architecture Centre with an exhibit called World Architecture Snøhetta that invites Danes to come meet the firm. "The core of the exhibition is a sensory workshop where visitors can touch, smell, see, and hear how the many projects develop from concept to concrete work," Snøhetta said in a statement. "In photos and films, visitors are met by the Snøhettas who guide, involve and explain. As something entirely unique, visitors will have the opportunity to step into a virtual model and experience what architects are capable of without the help of technology—namely seeing the physical space on its own." Snøhetta is of course the Big Firm on Campus in Oslo—what, with its popular Opera House and all. Now, it's stepping directly into Bjarke Ingels Group territory, which itself is well known to use mountainous references in its design. But we're sure the two firms will play nice and, who knows, maybe this will result in some cool collaborations.