At the end of January, a group of students from the Oslo School of Architecture and Design got together to direct the second edition of 120 HOURS, a competition for architecture students, run by students, which challenged entrants to create a design for residential space in a dense urban area. The jury (made up of four architects and one student) received 59 proposals, and of those picked those that displayed the most innovative uses of city space.
Crossing the Courtyard
The site to be redesigned was a narrow courtyard in Trondheim, Norway. The winning entry, "Crossing the Courtyard," focused on providing living quarters without blocking the entry of sunlight into the space. The team envisioned a network of "wedges" that criss-cross over one another, maintaining the openness of the courtyard. They would also have small gardens on their roofs.
The jury called the second place entry "powerful and poetic." The odd looking proposal is a two-level residence erected atop what looks like a telephone pole. Mirrored exterior walls fold down to reflect a view of the sky into the windows, alleviating the sense of constriction that can come with city living.
Hide and Seek
This entry, which tied for third place, is made of shipping containers divided into "sleeping capsules" and shared areas. The jury praised its density and room for growth:
The project has a large number of residential units, which will provide space for many residents on a small site. The proposal is exuberant and playful in its call for self-construction. It has the potential to grow and spread, and will as such never be completed.
Another Layer and the Charged Void
The oddly-named third place proposal was noted by the jury for its "interesting and thorough way to exploit the roofs of the dense city." It is the one I understand the least of the four; it offers a single story of living space at the top of an exposed staircase that strikes me as a safety hazard.
Of course all of the entries have their flaws; they were quickly designed by students. But what impresses me is the range of solutions proposed by the students who participated. Organizer Hans Halleraker said: "120 Hours seeks to offer fresh ideas on relevant architectural topics while giving students a voice in the current architectural discourse."
Hopefully this sort of thinking about urban design will be the hallmark of this upcoming generation of architects.