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Diploma Høst 2018

Living in Kvadraturen

Magnus Garvoll

My diploma project has been about developing urban housing and a way of living in a dense urban setting. Making spaces as a stage for urban life, by the means of framing, thinking about urban facade. Creating a distinct neighborhood with various, clearly defined, inside, semi-outdoor and outdoor spaces. Being part of the city, yet distinct from it. Working on both a grand civic scale and a small, intimate scale.


The intention is that buildings become part of the city fabric, that they performs as urban texture, rather than object, as background rather than figure. Buildings that clearly define urban space, as well as private living spaces. To resolve this ambiguity by distinct architectural means, is the point of the project.


The form of the empty space “comes first”, and the built mass is residual. The exterior space becomes a treshold between the city and the house. Living in the left-over mass, in-between the voids, can make rich and unusual apartments. I see a potential for using this strategy for housing today. I decided to work in Kvadraturen in down town Oslo. It is the densest part of the city, but there are less than thousand people living there today. There is currently an ambition to populate the area but there is a lack of housing. The project is proposal for a new specific space in the area. It is not about connecting things, but rather about making an urban space with a particular identity and quality. Something you can discover in the city. The buildings form continuous new façades on either sides of the street, creating a new residential square in between. The square has a continuous paving, and a fountain in the middle, marking a break in the flow of the street. In addition to the square, seven other exterior spaces are made. Three of these are publicly accessible at daytime, allowing people to walk from the street and through a sequence of urban interiors.


The facade is angulated in plan, making vertical lines of light and shadow, and giving another scale to the street. I think it makes the building appear taller and more massive but also dynamic, with a rhythm of bays and pilasters that makes many slightly different spaces on ground floor, but also inside the apartments. The windows are quite large, 1,5 by 2,3 meters. They look similar to traditional windows, but are slightly over-scaled, and so the whole building seem to be larger than it is. This gives it a more civic character I think. The preliminary research gave me a typological direction. To work with urbanity through spaces defining the architectural project. To propose a way of living, as sequences from the very public to the very private. To make good apartments in a deep and complex infill site, and to make a sequence of exterior spaces that would offer another way to experience the city.

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