Diploma Høst 2020
Oreste Gustave Kamanzi
All good architecture is timeless, but not all timeless architecture does good. My diploma project is an investigation of how to bring contemporary programs into spaces with difficult heritage. During the second world war, around 1500 bunkers were constructed along the western coast of Europe as a part of the German Atlantic wall. Their images, showing the frightening beauty of bunkers, were dramatically described by the French philosopher and urbanist Paul Virilio. What all these monoliths have in common is their material timelessness. They stood the test of time by being indestructible. They are physical manifestations of a scar in our cultural identity. I find it interesting that although they only 80years old, they already carry an archeological significance.
“It all started as a discovery in the archeological sense of the term, as I was leaning against the solid mass of concrete…. , with my gaze extended over the horizon of the ocean. This solid mass of concrete and this worthless object managed to martial my interest…. I was most impressed by a feeling, internal and external, of being immediately crushed. A complete series of cultural memories came to mind: the Egyptian mastabas, the Etruscan tombs, the Aztec structures…as if these vast pieces of artillery fortification could be identified as funeral ceremony as if the Organization Todt could manage the architecture of a religious space… My objective started as solely archeological. I would hunt these gray forms until they would transmit to me a part of their mystery: why these extraordinary constructions would not be perceived, or even recognized?” (Paul Virilio, from Introduction to Bunker Archeology)
In my proposal, I want to claim back the spaces of Dora 2 and establish art exhibition spaces, art archives, and ateliers/studios for artists. The geometry and logic of my intervention are defined by the axial spaces of the bunker. In order to get the full benefits of the existing spaces, I removed the existing partitions. I wanted my intervention to have minimum contact with the existing concrete walls, juxtaposing to them the clear tectonics of steel construction. The archive space is a volume suspended under the roof, the exhibition space is a freestanding volume and the atelier spaces will sit on top of the massive roof slab. The roof of Dora 2 will become a monolithic mountain with views of the whole city and the fjord. I believe from my many visits to the site that Dora 2 has really beautiful and strong spaces. I really believe that re-contextualizing it with something contemporary will make sense for the city and for people.