80 604 Oslo Re-store: Reinventing the Government District


There are no prequisites beyond admission to the program / passed foundation level courses

Course content

In this studio we will use the conceptual framework of Experimental Preservation to propose reuse strategies for the future of the government headquarters in Oslo (regjeringskvartalet).

Since its very inception, the government quarters have stood as an emblem of the social democratic values of the Nation. Today, as a symbol of Norwegian tragedy, the government quarters seek to reclaim their right to be a part of the city.

Experimental Preservation moves beyond the preservation of historic buildings as static objects, instead incorporating their political and social history into a process of radical transformation. Thus, the studio will investigate how preservation can re-imagine the present condition of the government headquarters and produce contemporary responses to questions of national identity and memory.

Through the study of the structures standing on the site, and a thorough examination of the debate raised by the restoration of government headquarters in Oslo, the studio will address the structural, architectural, political and economic questions brought forward by the trauma of the event and current development plans. The class will engage and contribute to the debate on the future of the government district through their own proposals.

In addition to the development of a detailed design proposal, the studio will deal with the historical and technological dimension of the program through a parallel study of selected texts and films, guest lectures and reading discussions.

This course runs in parallel with a studio at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, taught by Jorge Otero-Pailos. The Columbia University studio will visit Oslo in late September. In October we will visit New York for two weeks, where we will study relevant projects, hold our mid-reviews with Columbia University students and participate in the Fitch Colloquium on Preservation.

Learning outcomes


The students will conduct in-depth research into the history of the government buildings, including their planning and design, construction process, program and use, alterations, Erling Viksjø’s collaboration with artists (among the Pablo Picasso), the terrorist bombing etc.

Preservation discourse:
Students will read important texts on preservation to expand their understanding of both the history of preservation and its current experimental practices, and to increase self-awareness of their own position relating to the preservation discourse

Concrete structure:
Students will learn about the specific concrete structure of the government buildings, including the original construction methods and the interventions necessary to reinforce or add on to the existing conditions.

Design thesis:
Students will be challenged to develop a strong concept motivating their designs, and learn how to execute that concept to a high degree of design and representational resolution.

Student will exercise command of techniques of presentation and representation in order to develop an architectural idea and bring it to life.

Working and learning activities

The teaching will take place in the form of pin-ups and critiques. Students are expected to be active participants in group-conversations, to attend all pin-ups and to keep up with a rigorous level of production.

Throughout the course of the semester students will participate in weekly seminar meetings.These meetings will take place as a forum, where we will have invited guests and discuss theory, film, texts and architectural works relevant to the development of the projects.

There will be an excursion to New York for two weeks for the midterm review and an experimental preservation symposium in Columbia.

Professor in charge

Andrea Pinochet, Bryony Roberts


Assessment Date Duration Grade scale Oral examination
Annen vurderingsform, definer i kommentarfelt Pass / Fail

Reading lists / teaching materials

Primary Readings:

Friedrich Nietzsche, “On the Utility and Liability of History for Life” in The Nietzsche Reader (Blackwell, 2006), 124-141.

Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, “Restoration” in Historical and Philosophical Issues in the Conservation of Cultural Heritage (Getty, 1996), 314-318.

Otero-Pailos, Jorge, “Creative Agents” in Future Anterior, III/2, Summer 2006: iii-vii


Rem Koolhaas, “Cronocaos” in Log 21, Winter 2011.



Supplementary Readings:

Alois Riegl, “The Modern Cult of Monuments.” Trans. Kurt Forster & Diane Ghirardo in

The Oppositions Reader, ed. K.Michael Hays, (Princeton, 2000), 621-651.

Superstudio, “Salvages of Italian Historic Centers” in Log 22, Spring/Summer 2011.

Lucia Allais, “Disaster as Experiment: Superstudio's Radical Preservation” in Log 22, Spring/Summer 2011.

Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, Jorge Otero-Pailos, “Morphing Lincoln Center” in Future Anterior VI/1, 2009: 85-96.


Mario Carpo, ''The Postmodern Cult of Monuments,'' Future Anterior IV/2, Winter 2007, 51-60.

The Architectural Uncanny: Essays in the Modern Unhomely

Anthony Vidler, MIT Press, 1994.