TRYGVE LIES PLASS | Oslo, Norway | International Competition
#FURUSETMAKING from public space to a place
We propose a place identityprocess by transforming Trygve Lies plass into a common place where people from Furuset meet and recognize themselves.
We understand that IDENTITY is the main binding agent in the social environment. It is constructed by superimposing multiple collective (cultural) and individual identities (subjectivities).
Thus, Trygve Lies plass must be designed not only as a MEETING PLACE but also as a SPACE OF UNCERTAINTY. In short, we propose a comfortable and full equipped space where users themselves invent the way to use it.
What makes a great place?
To prepare our decalogue of actions we draw a relationship of update and synthesis between the ideology on public space defended by William H. Whyte and Jan Gehl and the principles for building a successful place by Project for Public Spaces.
So, as a design methodology we propose seven conditions to be met by any public space that aspires to become a “place” and 9 domains of sustainability that any intervention in urban areas should refer to.
1 / Recognizable image: that belongs to the collective imaginary of the population and places the square on the mental map of their daily routines, on their way to work, in their leisure time, around the school… The architecture of the square should be able to generate a sufficiently consistent identity to bind the multiple subjectivities of its population. Thus, the architecture of the square is summarized in the simultaneity of 4 elements:
I_The endless surface: the square is formed basically by two levels connected by a monumental staircase. These integrate in their planes both the square and the adjacent commercial premises, encouraging easy access and interaction between them. Moreover, the different levels facilitate the simultaneity of various programs within the public space as well as the steps promote typical urban uses associated with its shape.
II_The multifunctional roof: the typical greenhouse envelope makes use of both the residual heat of the adjacent building as well as of small solar gains that may occur, thus minimizing the thermal gradient between the interior spaces and the street. The creation of this “well-tempered” environment will not only enable more frequent but also more varied and indeterminate uses.
III_The inclusive wall: a structure containing possibilities. It may be used as technical-technological equipment (electricity, water, powerpoints, vents, wifi, refrigerator spaces, toilets, furniture storage…) serving the square but also as a multi-activity container (kitchens, meeting rooms, social club, small gardens, spaces for rent, workshops …). In short, a wall that will promote, equip and accommodate actions and initiatives that can bring and integrate people of different ages, gender, sex, income, religion, culture, etc. as well as people from other parts of Oslo.
IV _ The uniform color: we propose to use the UN blue color as an ultimate characteristic element of this square, in honor of Trygve Lie. The uniformity provided by the interior façade’s color reinforces its iconic character and, therefore, its ability to become an urban reference for the inhabitants of Furuset in their day to day.
2 / Diversity of spaces, where users will find different ways to enjoy public space, to interact with others, to spend a moment alone, etc.
3 / Freedom of choice and use. We are talking about a public space open to uncertainty and creativity of the people, to the changing condition of their own collective and individual behavior. In short, we propose a space open to uncertainty and the imagination of its users but also to the strategic decisions taken by public institutions that manage it.
4 / Universally accessible and connected to the urban environment. It will be accessible anywhere by anyone with disabilities, as well as on bike, skates, etc. And, most importantly, their leveled connection with the surrounding sidewalks will make it a must in the daily ways to work, to the mall, to school, to the mosque, library, pool, the dentist, the subway…
5 / Activated on the perimeter. What happens inside the square is as important as what happens outside. The design proposes the reactivation of existing facilities on the ground floor as well as the implementation of a new premises strip that ensures different uses in at least 3 sides.
6 / Strategically programmed, not only with permanent and formal uses but especially with more casual and temporary ones that serve as a catalyst for the different population groups and generate a social synergy of progressive appropriation of the square.
Formal uses: those which are more common in the public space and are enhanced by the construction of a thermally conditioned space throughout the year: play, conversation, meeting, events, terraces, celebrations…
Informal uses #: those which operate mainly in the field of social inclusion and whose main purpose is that people of different age, gender, income, gender, religion, culture, etc. meet in the same place. (#shareyourkitchen, #paintyoursquare, #eatmygarden, #iamyourschool, #edu4all, #weareknowledge…)
7 / Efficiently managed by the Furuset Agency. We propose that the Green Mobility Center is renamed Furuset Agency because of 2 main reasons:
1_Its role as mediator in urban sustainability must transcend green mobility towards the promotion of inclusive actions, initiatives that generate economic wealth, educational projects, awareness campaigns, etc.
2_Its specific target audience is Furuset citizenship rather than the environment as a general concept. Moreover, it is easier that their neighbors empathize and identify themselves with the name of their neighborhood than with something called “green mobility”.
The fundamental role of Furuset Agency will be the intermediation between the different actors to determine future uses of this space through participatory and consultative processes. It will promote inclusive actions, initiatives that generate economic wealth, educational projects, awareness campaigns, etc. It will be responsible of turning the square into an urban laboratory and determining what kind of resulting initiatives are the most successful.
We propose starting about 7 initiatives already tested in similar contexts whose goal is to build this social synergy in which Trygve Lies plass will become the new “center” of Furuset. Both passage of time and detailed observation by the Furuset Agency will determine the future programming of this space.
PHASES: URBAN QUALITY // SOCIAL VALUE // ECONOMIC WEALTH
1_Context: we use the existing building as an interior façade of the square. On the other hand, we reinforce its identity by means of the UN blue color, referring to Trygve Lie, first president of this organization.
2_Land Occupation: we do not change the perimeter of the existing building or the current levels of the square. We just superimpose transition elements: a staircase between levels, a greenhouse envelope between the building and the outside and a light equipped wall. Thus, we are talking about diversity, flexibility and reappropriation.
3_Livability: we propose a thermally conditioned space in which any activity and initiative is possible thanks to a comfortable temperature.
4_ Mobility and Services: the square itself will be a transport interchange that provides comfortable access to all services (existing and new).
5_Complexity: the thermal conditioning of the space will allow the activation of all existing premises on the ground floor. By means of the “inclusive wall” we propose the densification and diversification of uses to ensure greater overlap of agents, initiatives, companies, etc. in one place: Trygve Lies plass.
6_Green Spaces and Biodiversity: we do not only propose to keep existing trees but turn them into a piece of wood. The stream running through Furuset becomes here a small waterfall running down the stairway, disappearing under the inner square and emerging around Trygve Lie’s sculpture. Finally, the materialization of a greenhouse space will enable the apparition of various non-human species that share space with humans.
7_ Metabolism: we propose a passive heating of the public space as well as we do take advantage of the existing “as it is found.” Following this approach, other design issues will continue energy efficiency parameters.
8 + 9_Social Cohesion + Management and Governance: the creation of an structure open to uncertainty and comfortable enough so that it does not condition its use to seasonal periods, together with the establishment of its management body -Furuset Agency- will allow the establishment of multiple and diverse programmatic strategies for socio-economic development and activation of the square.
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