Sunday, 28 February 2010


I can feel it. Spring is on its way, and all this will soon be a distant memory. The snow will suddenly disappear and the beech grove soon again have green Gothic ceilings and copper floors.

Saturday, 27 February 2010


Those Russians! I can't help but admire the madness of their traditional wooden architecture, illustrated in this picture and several more, which you can find if you click on the picture. These luxury houses, some of them almost resembling little villages of their own, are great examples of this architecture. This way of building reminds me a bit of old Norwegian architecture, but there is another element as well, a will variate and decorate that's unlike anything else in Europe, and perhaps related to the Arab or Byzantine world? It is perhaps more complex than organized, and I very much doubt I'll ever design anything like it myself, but it has alot of personality and life. And they have towers! <3

Thursday, 25 February 2010


"Not another architecture student"'s very first book review.

For several weeks now, I've been reading an interesting book, recommended and included by INTBAU on their literature list. The book dealing with very important issues, written by Nikos A. Salingaros with friends. Salingaros is a mathematician and scientist who some years ago got tired of nonsensical "scientific" and "philosophical" gibberish (rather similar to the products of the brilliant and funny "Post-modernism generator") used by architects to promote their work, without really using scientific principles in their architecture.

In this book, composed of articles and essays, the author argues against what he calls the "virus" of modernism, post-modernism and deconstructivism, and its lack of organized complexity. He draws interesting parallels between the "new sciences", dealing with fractals, complexity, neural networks emergent processes and self-organization, among others. His view is that a lot of contemporary architecture just projects an image of the results of these processes onto its buildings, without really understanding or following these principles. He also argues that a lot of architects are creating "anti-architecture", because they deliberately break with the patterns of traditional knowledge in building and design, based on human sensibilities. As a replacement for anti-architecture and deconstruction, he suggests an architecture of "Reconstructivism", based on scientific research, traditional teachings and environmental psychology. He is a friend and admirer of Christopher Alexander (another scientist-gone-architectural theorist, made famous by the classic "A Pattern Language"), and elaborates on themes from Alexander, such as hierarchical complexity, human scale and connectivity. He also proposes some characteristics of an "architecture of life", and "an "architecture of death". (Guess which one Deconstructivism is.)

The book is a bit heavy, but fun to read, and would probably be rather provoking to many practising architects and architecture students, at least those who believe in an architecture completely disconnected from the past. It's also rather funny, with headlines such as "DECONSTRUCTIVE ARCHITECTURE", "EMERGENCE VERSUS DECONSTRUCTION" and "EXPLAINING THE UNLIKELY SUCCESS OF MODERNISM", followed by sentences like "Anybody who's seen "Night of the Living Dead" has seen deconstruction in action." and "I was puzzled to read an entire chapter in Jenck's book (2002b) entitled "Fractal architecture" without hardly seeing a fractal (the possible exceptions being decorative tiles).".

I miss pictures, but as I understood, the book was published on a rather small budget. I hope his next publication will have images. I'm also a bit disappointed that this kind of important literature can't be found in the bookshops, but it can be bought on Amazon for next to nothing.

I recommend this book to all architects and architecture student, as it deals with very important matters, and though the chapters sometimes seem a bit unconnected (rather ironic), it's well worth picking up on the way if you plan to at some point make a building which is to be used by people.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010


The final result of the project, dealing with public places. I tried to reconnect the city a bit, by leading the tracks in the Museum garden into the Park Square (formerly Park Road) and on into Nygårdsparken, covering them with sandstone and planting lots of fruit trees bearing red fruit, such as "Rød Gravenstein" apple, "Amanogwa" cherries and plums, wild plums and "Victoria". I also pushed the cars away and reused the street furniture from the "STRANGERS" post, placing five of them in between some of the trees. In the far end of the square, a "Vistoria" plum tree grove, by the swimming pool façade of the Student centre, with a pond and an artificial creek.

Got lots of response this time, and alot of interesting suggestions to work with. The sand was not supposed to halve bold spots. Do not use RX glue and model sand when trying to make sandstone.

The design actually turned out to be a bit more classical than planned, and one of the things I plan to work with, is to become more expressive. I'm not sure that very "expressive" architecture is what I'll be doing after BAS, but I believe in learning a system, and then perhaps choosing to do something else if one wants to.

Other than that, staying away from the incredibly cold Hall, where our class is working with visual structure in 1:1 right now, because of a slight cold and big tonsils within a hurtful throat.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010


So you thought fantasy movie architecture was strange and wonderful? This house was built in in Arkhangelsk, apparently by a man without a shirt, though with a tattoo and a sense of humour.

Monday, 22 February 2010


You find sorts of stuff at BAS. This is a landscape with a box, made entirely out of masking tape, though incorporating a "Jul 09" (Norwegian for "Christmas -09") tag made for the Christmas exhibitions of our class in December.

Sunday, 21 February 2010


What? But... huh? How could this...? I don't... Hmm. (Fascinating, though!)

(Plus I got a boyfriend today! Yay!)

Wednesday, 17 February 2010


Why not give the hydrant a little roof? Or maybe it was just was there before the wall was built? I don't know, but I like the corbel arch. This somewhat charmingly archaic feature is not common in Norway at all, but this photo was taken in Bergen, not too far from my school.

Monday, 15 February 2010


... when you see some linden branches, left on the ground after the spring trimming by the University groundskeepers, and the first thing you think, is "Such beautiful branches! I could build something out of them!"

Friday, 12 February 2010


I have to go see this place! The San Francisco City Hall, built in 1913-1915, is a grand example of the teachings of the Beaux-Arts movement. Barely noticed in Norway, the Beaux-Arts architecture combined the purely classical with other historical elements, traditions and an enormous will to ornament, and was a big hit in such countries as the USA, France and Canada.

I first saw the building yesterday, in the movie "Milk". It was really good, and hereby recommended to all. Other than that, a really nice evening.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010


First rehearsal I attended for a few weeks; it was wonderful to be back. Bergen Opera Choir, of which I became a member this autumn, and Anne Randine Øverby, the musical director, really know what they're doing. Right know we're practising on the piece called "Mass", composed in 1971 by Leonard Bernstein (the picture was taken that year). It's an opera of sorts, based on the catholic Ordinary of the Mass, mixed with a Broadway musical approach, and a big element of popular music as well. I've been a choral singer since I was eight, but "Mass" is what I've had the most fun singing with a choir. Everyone should listen to it (it's on Spotify, but make sure you get the version recorded by Bernstein himself), and/or come to the opera in April. It's going to be magnificent! We're doing it in a church (St. John's), so I'm also rather curious to see how the director will transform the interior to a theatre.

Monday, 8 February 2010


Now, that's what I'm talking about. Who wouldn't want to sit down and meet some strangers here? (I took the picture at the University of Oslo, designed by architect Chr. Henrik Grosch, one of my heroes.)

Sunday, 7 February 2010


Do you remember the Teletubbies? I do. I was never very fond of them, but at least they weren't walking around in the streets, making people scratch their heads and wondering if yesterday's mushroom soup had more kinds of mushroom in it than usual.

Anyway, now they're back. Watch out, or you'll become one, too.

(Thanks to the girl in the picture, who was very friendly, although wearing a strange outfit.)

Saturday, 6 February 2010


If you swim on your back in the swimming pool at the Student Centre in Bergen, this is what you see. I've been doing a lot of swimming lately. The plan is to become, to quote Gustaf in my class, "hunkig" before the bathing season starts for real.

Friday, 5 February 2010


Dear reader,

this may be the first time you see a picture of my school. However, this is not the most usual angle to see it from at all. Quite interesting, after going there for five months! My classroom is at the far right part of the (was this the name we settled on for the colour, Vegard?) dirty peach volume, on the sixth floor. The entire grey volume is empty, and will perhaps be filled up with... something in a while. We're also discussing how the grounds of the school could be opened to the public, and in general making this old silo look more like an architect school and less like a slaughterhouse from the outside.

Being a student at a school that's always changing, both physically as well as in terms of teachers and curriculum, and actually having a say in what should happen, is really one of the greatest things about going to BAS.

Thursday, 4 February 2010


Aina, is there anyone finer

In the state of Carolina

If there is and you know her

Show her to me

Aina, with her Oslo eyes blazing

How I'd like to sit and gaze into the eyes of Aina (Wee!)

(Apologies to Harry Akst, Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young)

Aina is just as wonderful as she looks in this picture. With her 19 years she's the youngest girl in our class, but I think she's rather brilliant. Her projects are very thought-through, and I think that her half graphic designer education is very useful to her, as well.

Aina is extremely nice and friendly, so it's no wonder everyone seems to love her. I do too, of course. This was the blogpost about Aina the Architect Student.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010


Right now, we're doing a project with class no. 24 at BAS, that's apparently called "Where strangers are likely to meet" ("Rom for ukjente" in Norwegian). As in all projects, we've started with little assignments called "quick assignments".

The first we did was to document a public space that we liked. For this I chose the beech grove at the Nordnes park in Bergen, and made some drawing and took some pictures (the one with the trees is taken there), and some of the drawings can be seen in the background. I like this kind of silent public space, where people aren't too noisy, but still don't ignore each other, and will usually give a nod as they pass you by. The nice, expressionist drawings at the left aren't mine, though, they're Ivar's.

The second project was meant to enhance a public place and be rather universal, so I just made some hexagon columns out of pinkish granite in different heights and put them together, to form a sculpture and sitting place. Half of each column is buried underground, and for the public to know this, an engraving of the work drawings including the one showing this, will be found on each column. The model was made from brown and grey cardboard glued together, and then coloured pink. Yours truly in person on the left, concept model made out of home made play-doh to the right.

The third assignment was to make a 1:1 sketch model in a public space of an element that needs to be made clearer; something which I did today. Pictures and stuff about this later.

When we get the text for the project order tomorrow or Friday, we'll have about two weeks to finish the thing. Looking forward to working in the studio with my rather brilliant and creative co-students.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010


Some years ago, wandering around in Copenhagen by myself, I walked around the entire "Black Diamond", the new building of the Danish Royal Library, looking for the main entrance. When one looks at the building, isn't it quite easy to presume that it's at the middle of the water façade, and if not there, then maybe to the road? It's neither. Actually saw the entrance almost at once, but assumed it was just a side door leading to the bookshop or something like that, probably because of its place on the side of the façade, the size of it (rather small) and/or the lack of architectural elements pointing it out.

The Black Diamond has been praised for it's sleek architecture and originality, but how useful to anyone is it really to be confused by a building? I've gotten the impression that some people think this to be democratic, but I don't understand how. Democracy is all about systems that are open, accessible and readable to the public, not about making people walk around in endless labyrinths to find what they're looking for. (It could also be interesting to note that the building is not called a library, but a diamond, when it's not a diamond, but a library. More about that some other time.) I think I want to design more readable buildings than this one when I become an architect.

Monday, 1 February 2010


When I was younger, my highest wish was to go to Hogwarts, this wonderful, strange and brilliant place imagined by the eminent author J.K. Rowling. She described it as a castle, with sparkling windows in the night, a place with a hundred staircases (some of whom would go somewhere else on Fridays), doors that won't open unless you ask them politely, or aren't doors at all; just pretending. The school is a place where you get lost, because everything seems to move around.

The first time I visited BAS (Bergen arkitektskole/Bergen School of Architecture), I got a feeling of actually coming to this place. BAS is the architecture school with both a 5th floor and a 5 1/2th floor, its own deep-water quay, seven floors with an enormous ceiling height, a room called "The Cathedral" and a permission to paint the walls whenever and however you would like to. I knew I had come to the right place.

Today it's exactly five months since the first day of school, and my world will never be the same. I've already learned alot and met so many wonderful and skilled people, and in this blog, I will try to document my progress and experiences, while at the same time including things that hopefully will seem interesting to other people as well. Welcome!
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