Sunday, 31 October 2010


I think these may be the best gates I've seen in Bergen so far. They are to be found by anyone going from Nygårdsparken to the Geophysical Institute (which, by the way, is one of the most beautiful large buildings in the city). A little Burtonesque, but I really don't mind that, especially on... Hey, it's Halloween!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010


How do you show a solid timber wall

The last week of September was devoted to the not-at-all-ancient art of Visual structure (see the first blog post about visual structure). One part was the familiar assignment of contrasting materials. This time, however, it was on another scale, working with walls, big piles of sand, piles of wooden planks and the like. We grouped into pairs, and I collaborated with my dear classmate Ane Oline Finstad.

An intelligent woman, wonderful to work with. (Loves horses.)

All pairs were given an object in some part of the school grounds, and we wanted to work with the wall. As we had learned the last time we worked on visual structure, one way of showing an object is to contrast it with an object of a totally different materiality. In order to make our wall even more visible, we decided to surround the middle of it with a lighter, non-geomtrical figure. Here's a sketch I drew during our first discussions.

What we did, was to find as many contrasts as we could. The wall was geometric, the clouds were blobby; the wall was matt, the clouds were shiny, the wall was one object, the clouds were several objects; the wall was planted firmly on the ground, whereas the clouds seemed to be floating, at least hanging, etc., etc. Our classmates seemed to think we ended up making the wall a lot more visible, in a quite beautiful way, and I can't help but agree.

EDIT 24th October 2011: Removed the picture of Ane Oline. Still love her, though.

Sunday, 24 October 2010


"I'm walking along the road, on asphalt, my legs hurt and I curse asphalt, it sucks strength.

Of all surfaces, asphalt is the worst to walk on, worse than stones and worse than rock, the asphalt is hard and dead, I feel the asphalt concrete ache up in the back, all the way up in the shoulders and the neck, it reaches the head, fills the mind with black tar, and after five hours of walking on asphalted road it's not possible to think about anything but asphalt and how to avoid it"

An attempt towards a translation of a text as it was written down and hung upon our classroom door by my classmate Øyvind Tveit. It's an excerpt from the book "Gå. Eller kunsten å leve et vilt og poetisk liv" by Tomas Espedal. The book is due to be published in English in December with the title "Tramp. Or the Art of Living a Wild and Poetic Life". 

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


Vegar and I built a catenary arch (Yeah, that's the kind Gaudí used to make.) during the stone course in September. This film by one of the course teachers, sculptor Lukas Arons,  shows tha last minutes of finishing the arch. Vegar and I are moving around and fixing the keystone, while sculptor Asbjørn Andresen, one of the other course teachers, is giving directions.

(Damn! I never get these Youtube videos to fit the format of the blog.)

Friday, 15 October 2010


It's over. When this picture was taken in Copenhagen in July, however, it wasn't. But there will be no more warm stones under your feet in the city. No more feeling the micro-landscape of the stone floor because you don't have to wear shoes. No more grass as green as old copper roofs. No moore eating ice cream outside. No more bathing in the ocean and feeling your hair become stiff with salt while you're drying in the open air. No more seedlings emerging where you wouldn't expect them. No more fresh strawberries. Not here, not for now. Not until the year 2011.

Thursday, 14 October 2010


An assertion: There is such a thing as architecture, and there is such a thing as carchitecture. Carchitecture is the vulgar cousin in the family of architecture, who looks bad, smells worse, makes noise and takes up too much space. 

Last week, our class went to the building site of the new IKEA here in Bergen. We learned alot about concrete, which was really interesting, but I must admit that what really caught my attention, was the enormous contrasts between the two sorts of cultural landscape on the site. On top of what used to be untouched marshland, IKEA is building an enormous new store, with parking spaces, steel walls, concrete floors and big signs; the architecture of the car. It has to be big and have enormous contrasts to catch the eye of the driver, it has no details because they're not visible form inside a moving car anyway. There's hardly a way of getting there without a car, the whole economy of the place is based on people driving in and out. I have a lot of stuff from IKEA, and I'm not judging people who buy things there, but the architecture is one of a century that has already passed. I think we're barely able to keep it going, because we can feel inside that humans are not made for this society of transportation.

And right behind all of this, we could see bits of the agricultural landscape, with houses and farm buildings, built from wood and stone, with woods, fields, meadows, small creeks. It was not at all wild nature, but it looked like a form of human coexistence with nature. It was based mostly on people walking to do their job, living next to where they earned their living. 

It got me thinking about what artificial landscapes can be, and I can't help blame the car. The landscape of suburbia, the built landscape oddly placed outside the city, without any visible or logical connetions, more or less came with the common use of cars, and my prediction is that it will more or less die away with it in not too many years. The landscape of suburbia is mostly shaped by cars, who are taking up surface could have been used to preserve nature, build houses, parks, lakes, everything a city needs. The suburban, sprawling landscape, eats away human contact with the biological, and makes it a distant place in the horizon, instead of something quite close to where you live. 

My opinion is that architects should stop designing carchitecture. No more detached homes out in the forest, no more shopping malls with skirts of surface parking instead of houses, no more drive-in restaurants, no more single-use building complexes... That would be an important step towards a sustainable architecture.


Instead of writing a proper blog post tonight, I was writing an email to my former classmate Thomas, giving him some tips on plants for a garden in the extreme climate of Iceland, so I'm just posting a picture of a pine, a tree which can grow almost anywhere.

PS. First blog post on the Mac!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


Picture: Wikipedia

I hereby present the RepRap, the ugliest 3D printer on the planet. The idea of this machine is that you should be able to print all sorts of stuff that you need in everyday life, or stuff you need for your work. Costing only around 500 Euro, it's very cheap, partly because you build the thing yourself, and partly because it's a self-replicating machine, ie. the machine builds parts which you can build another machine from. Very fascinating. I'm considering bringing together some people in my class and building one when we start using 3D programs. More information about the RepRap can be found on their website, which also has a video that I warmly recommend.


This picture really isn't very great, but the stairs are. Part of a small, rather new park at Tjuvholmen in Oslo, they're made of a beautiful natural stone that I don't know the name of, and integrate a ramp in a very interesting way. I wish more architects would do something like that. (I know some of the people in my class want to have a look at it; if you click on the picture, you get a high resolution version which you can download).

We're also having fun at school. Continuing our course in masonry, we've already torn down (and recycled) a big ugly brick thingy next to the water in our school yard, started to clean up the area around the (quite important, it turns out) corner of the administration building, pruned several goat willows that are growing next to the school without ever having been planted there, and started to discuss how we want to develop the place. I'm looking forward to the next days, and working on with our very competent course teacher, Eva Kun.
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