Nordic Pavilion presents framework for solid wood co-housing model promoting communal participation

‘What We Share’ installation by Nordic Pavilion explores a model for co-housing, promoting building community and a living environment. The project envisions a place where inhabitants and shareholders are active agents for the development of their residence and what they share.

The project explores co-creation strategies of spatial, material and tectonic living environment through a full-scale section of the first floor of housing project designed by Norway based firm, Helen & Hard. The installation is based on Vindmøllebakken, a unique housing project built through resident participation and realised in 2018. The building combines independent housing units with common facilities and shared functions, which have been first developed in Nordic countries back in 2017.

The Museum of Norway
The Museum of Norway
The Museum of Norway
The Museum of Norway
The Museum of Norway

“Being both architects and inhabitants of a co-housing community has made us aware of the potential that this housing model can offer in terms of tackling some of the societal and environmental challenges we face today. In Venice we want to explore this potential and demonstrate how the interplay between inhabitants and agencies involved can create an adaptable architecture,” says partners and creative directors of Helen & Hard, Siv Helene Stangeland and Reinhard Kropf.

The participatory design process during construction of Vindmøllebakken offered layered spaces with degrees of privacy and communality. The housing features a private domain along with a sharing layer in front of the apartments that reflects what and how the inhabitants choose to share collective activities. The third layer is the central common space where all inhabitants can meet to express common interests and activities.

The housing is also unique for its construction methodology, implementing an innovative open-source solid timber construction system that can be easily produced locally and suitable for self-building.

The Museum of Norway
The Museum of Norway
The Museum of Norway
The Museum of Norway
The Museum of Norway
The Museum of Norway
The Museum of Norway
The Museum of Norway

The installation is built using wooden planks of spruce that are connected with beech dowels. It is an environment-friendly modular system that is easy to assemble and allows inhabitants to build and rebuild the structure. The timber structure is developed in close collaboration with the Swiss engineer, Hermann Blumer.

Visitor to the exhibition will be able to see the life-size cross-section of the prototype housing, experiencing communal and semi-private areas brought to life through scenographies made by film director, Pål Jackman and scenographer, Nina Bjerch-Andresen. Initiating a conversation about the social and political aspects of co-living, the exhibition also presents a commissioned video by artist, Anna Ihle, who is a resident of Vindmøllebakken.

 


ABOUT NORDIC PAVILION 

The Nordic Pavilion in Venice is co-owned by Sweden, Finland, and Norway. In 2021, the National Museum of Norway will be in charge of realizing the exhibition, on behalf of commissioners Stina Högkvist at the National Museum, Carina Jaatinen at the Museum of Finnish Architecture and Kieran Long at ArkDes, Sweden's National Centre for Architecture and Design. The exhibition is supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nordic Culture Fund.

The 17th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice will open to the public on 22 May 2021. The exhibition will end on 21 November 2021. The title of this year’s architecture biennale is How will we live together?, a subject that encompasses ways in which architects can create new communities.

 

EXHIBITION TEAM

Martin Braathen and Joakim Skajaa, Gudrun Eidsvik and Karianne Ommundsen, and Cathrine Furuholmen, all from the National Museum of Norway, are serving as project curators, curators of education, and project manager, respectively.

 


ABOUT HELEN & HARD ARCHITECTS

Founded in 1996, Helen & Hard are a Norwegian architecture office delivering architectural solutions that serve and inspire people to live sustainably. Working across their two locations in Stavanger and Oslo, Helen & Hard’s multicultural team creatively engage with sustainability, not only in the design of spaces, but also in the conception and organisation of the design process. Their rich experience ranges from the creation of remote cabins to largescale urban design developments, with the Helen & Hard approach moving away from a solely technical and anthropocentric view, allowing their projects to unfold in relation to their physical, social, cultural and economic context. They extensively utilise and celebrate timber as a building material, with a portfolio including their Ratatosk project which appears in London’s V&A museum. In 2021, Helen & Hard were selected to represent the Nordic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, exhibiting their co-living designs based upon their impressive Vindmøllebakken project in response to the question: ‘How will we live together?’

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