60 503 Master studio Landscape Architecture; Mixmasterplan

Course content

Changing urban spaces

The industrial city with its heavy traffic machines is dead! The citizens of Oslo are growing vegetables on rooftops and city squares. Cycling, public transportation and densification of the city are all themes on the political agenda. This creates a huge potential of a rich city life! The questions are: which strategies and design principles should create the new urban spaces? Should we continue developing our cities based on the logic of cars or learn from the historical cities?

During the course “Mixmasterplan” we will investigate and illustrate the potential of the future city and the future public urban spaces. Oslo is our case and the students will work with relevant and specific urban spaces to reveal how these can act as catalysts of urban development both in the short and long term. Thus, both temporary and permanent strategies will be discussed. We will debate a new city mix where the classical, modern and post-modern city can be turned into something new, something else – but what will it look like?

The city consists of combinations of landscape and buildings that merges to become a cityscape with different transitions of public and private, inside and outside. The course will focus on the urban space as a whole, and does not draw boundaries between landscape architecture and architecture as buildings. Students with different academic backgrounds from architecture, urbanism and landscape architecture are therefore invited to participate. The starting point is an interdisciplinary one: we assume that the best solutions happen in the thresholds between disciplines. A good example of thinking of the city as a whole is clearly stated in Giambattista Nolli, the Pianta Grande di Roma from 1784.

An illustrated future
A large amount of today's architectural production occurs in the visualization process. Throughout the course we will focus on the visualization of future urban spaces. The urban public space affects everyone and should therefore be visualized for everyone. This is perhaps most important for drastic changes to be able to get popular support. Plan, section and 3D perspectives are the conventional methods, but there are perhaps others? The entire design process should continuously be developed through model work, either digital or physical.

Learning outcomes

Develop an understanding of the relationship between buildings and urban spaces.
Aquire methods to develop the potential of the relationship between buildings and the urban space in-between.
Aquire methods to develop unconventional future urban space concepts
Develop methods to generate an urban space design through digital and physical modeling

Working and learning activities

The course consists of three main parts:

1. Oslo – connected spaces
What is specific for Oslo? What are the potential of the landscape, the climate and the city culture? What creates an urban space? Where are the odd and charming squares, why are some urban spaces sad and empty? In this initial phase the students will, through their presence in the city, map the spatial and programmatic potential and peculiarities of Oslo.

2. The urban space
On specific sites the students will develop, design and illustrate an urban space’s potential through a remix of the current situation. How can one transform the urban space with the scale of people, not cars, in mind? What is the urban space’s relationship to the surrounding buildings? How can an urban space strategically be developed to ensure the current and future needs? In this phase we will develop spatial discussions, but also utopian illustrations, which might as well have a political agenda.

3. The city as a whole
The logic of the city is fascinating, the ingredients of the city are often extremely different from district to district or between neighborhoods. The development of the city happens in bits and pieces with different focus at a different times. All this become the diverse city that we love. In this concluding phase the students will connect their project to one organism – a mixmasterplan!

Malmø and Copenhagen are two forward-thinking cities. In these two cites several methods have been used in the planning processes, from temporary to permanent strategies.
In Malmø we will focus on the last decades' planning of housing and infrastructure and which urban spaces this creates. In Copenhagen we will look at several urban squares, from the classical parks (e.g. Kongens have) to the urban spaces created in a modern, social city planning context (e.g. Superkilen). In both cities we will focus on new infrastructure, public transportation, bicycle infrastructure and pedestrian systems and which urban city life this potentially could create.

Professor in charge

Iwan Thomson