In the context of the Oslo Triennale, Poly U Design was invited to join an international workshop with a dozen of other schools, from Australia to the United Kingdom but also Tanzania and many other countries. The topic of this Triennale is “After Belonging”, or what is the after migration, the after settling. The programme of the workshop was comprised of different parts; some were a time of learning, and some were a time of production. The final goal was to produce an exhibition made of students' work.
First up is the learning: a day of conference programme was given at the Oslo Opera House. The Oslo Opera House is a modern building on the harbour and made of white stone. The project was designed by a local architect, Tarald Lundevall, and the architecture is like an iceberg on the water, climbable by people.
Issues Around “After Belonging”
The programme of the day was 15 presentations dispatched in three topics: global expertise, sheltering temporariness, production of locality. Speakers were from all around the world, and all bring a different approach. There were architects, economists, designers, members of associations, research institutions, etc. The opening speech was given by His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway.
The meaning of the word “belonging” was analysed in different ways: belonging to a place, to a community, but also to a species and to nature. What is belonging? What makes us belong? What role does the global scale, such as climate change to the geopolitical of the today world, play in our everyday life and perception?
Sheltering temporariness is the perfect case mixing these two topics. Moving population around the world has always existed, due to climate change, fleeing from conflict or hoping for a better situation. How do countries welcome migrants and refugees, how do they to give shelter in good condition? All around people specialists are making research, associations and designers providing new solutions.
Today, the average stay in a refugee camp is around 12 years. Can we still speak about a temporary situation; at what point is it to be considered permanence?
Also with this world moving so fast, the identity of localities can change, evolve and sometimes get diluted in the permanent change. "After Belonging" also embraces the problematic connotation of "local identity", not as being blocked in the past, but as a way of belonging together.
Project Site: Oslo’s TØyen and GrØnland – Changes Brought by New Inhabitants
The study trip to Oslo was centred around the student workshop called "The Academy". Students were asked to spend five days on a project and the chosen site was the neighbourhoods of TØyen and GrØnland - a place where all of the migrants called home nowadays. For the last 30 years, the city of Oslo has been facing a change in its population - welcoming people from all around the world - resulted in a cultural shock for both the local and the newly arrived population. The neighbourhood, however, is starting a new change, with a gentrification led by the city. New inhabitants, new shops and the rising rents correspondingly are shaping this part of Oslo again. "The Academy" was set out to deliver a reflection on this unique space through the question of belonging.
Exhibitions and Publication
To get students familiar with the subject in discussion, visits to two relating exhibitions were organised: "On Residence" at the DOGA (Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture) and "In Residence" at the National Museum. The first one has a more global approach, looking at worldwide analysis and concrete examples. The second was focused on local experience or observations.
From all these studies, After Belonging: The Objects, Spaces, and Territories of the Ways We Stay in Transit is published by Lars Müller, cataloguing the Oslo Architecture Triennale 2016. Every chapter is in two parts: a text corpus and some projects that we can find in the exhibitions. The book is structured as a useful tool to understand all relevant topics and how people are working to make progress on the question of belonging.
Photo Credit: Mathilde Gattegno
Posted by Mathilde Gattegno – from Paris and love to see the world. Graduated from architecture with an option in civil engineering. Curious about everything, a huge bookworm, a little bit geek and also enjoy music, sports, going outside to take pictures. Hong Kong is a brand new playground!
MDes Talks is a series of Student Blogs contributed by students in different specialisms under the Master of Design Scheme. It is set out to share students’ first-hand experience in the d-school pedagogy, their projects, takeaways, and student life in general.