Det Norske Bransjemagasinet har skrevet om Kaleidoscope i sin nye nettutgave - les artikkelen om vår bedriftsprofil og fremtidsplaner her:
Archdaily (world’s biggest architecture website) has listed our tiny, but fierce, Y-pavilion as a candidate in their “Building of the Year” -vote.
Y is running in the “Best Small Scale Architecture” -category. Help our David beat the Goliaths with your vote through this link!
Built in three days and few pairs of hands last summer in Seurasaari/Helsinki, Y is a temporary experimental wooden structure designed by a passionate collaborative team of architects and fine carpenters.
#Y #seurasaari @etcompanyarchitects @woodenresearch @kaleidoscopenordic #irmelinvågen
In collaboration with: @HoiskoClt @heikki.paso @kulttuurirahasto @taikegram #askonsäätiö #alfredkordelinfoundation @utenriksdept
Researcher, blogger and multi-active urbanist Timo Hämäläinen writes in his blog critically about the urban development processes around public squares and plazas through many examples mainly from Helsinki. In architectural renderings, plazas appear full of live and urban buzz, but the built reality is often more the opposite: our (Nordic) cities are punctuated with open spaces which are void of activities and life. Where are the problems in the current planning processes and how to do better, asks Timo, and continues: "The problem is that the process of designing or managing public spaces is dominantly a top-down exercise. The user perspective isn’t truly included." A good and balanced read we recommend!
We believe in participation and in the inclusion of all stakeholders in planning processes from early stages and on. Connecting and co-creating with the communities in a city is the way of the future. Low threshold initiatives, piloting and testing periods for new ideas should be made wide spread praxis. Design-wise it is not only a question of "minimalism or not", good design can surely be both and everything in between. But without the user-perspective, we are bound to be lost.
Our approach to fast kick-off and low threshold of activating a public space is demonstrated in the Dikemark Nye Torg project, where we painted the main area at Dikemark with a colourful geometric pattern. The centre of Dikemark is dominated by asphalt and characterised by the lack of facilitated spaces for people. Through a simple and inexpensive action we created a public floor where gatherings and events can take place.
Check out Timo's awarded urbanism blog at www.urbanfinland.com
On Thursday 14th December, on the behalf of Uusi Kaupunki collective, Miia-Liina will be hosting a seminar on the development of the City Centre of Porvoo, Finland, together with Niilo Ikonen. The seminar is organised by the City of Porvoo in collaboration with the Living Centre of Porvoo association. Looking very much forward to presenting as well as hearing the other speakers, the evening is packed with interesting substance. What direction will Porvoo take in lifting up the central areas of the city? What should an attractive and livable centre look like in the future? The event is open for everyone and it is free of charge. The seminar is a continuation to our work last spring - check out all the projects here.
I dag har vi kjørt revolverintervjuer hos Kaleidoscope og Fres. Vi deler nemlig kontorlokaler, og det er noe vi liker fordi vi kan ganske forskjellige ting, men vi er opptatt av det samme: god design som er bra for folk og bra for miljøet. Her kan du lese hva vi tenker om dette.
Today we have had revolver interviews with Kaleidoscope and Fres. We share the same office, and we appreciate this because we are good at different things, but we share the same interest: good design which benefits people and the environment. The interview is in Norwegian.
Revolverintervju med Silje, Kaleidoscope
Designfilosofi? Skape arkitektur som har en samfunnsnytte, det betyr at vi skal skape gode rom for folk å være i, vi skal bidra til sosial bærekraft og vi skal spille på lag med naturen og konteksten. Dette gjør vi gjennom å alltid å gå inn i prosjekter med å analyserer brukergrupper, behov, stedet, landskapet, og la dette være en driver for utformingen.
Drømmekunde? Idealister med mye penger. Elon Musk er min drømmekunde.
Strategi for å få denne kunden? Gjøre ham oppmerksom på oss gjennom profilen vår på Linked-In. Haha, neida, kundene våre skal vi finne gjennom å bygge opp en portefølje med gode prosjekter slik at vi blir interessante. Og så skal vi sende vår finske partner Miia-Liina etter Elon Musk. Hun kan invitere ham i sauna.
Low-tech eller high-tech? Det er ikke enten eller, begge deler er interessant. Uansett vil vi være et kontor som bruker høyteknologiske løsninger for å oppnå energieffektive bygg som heller gir energi tilbake til nettet enn å bare forbruke. Lavteknologihus er interessante fordi de tar i bruk fornybare energikilder på en måte som involverer brukeren.
Viktigste fokus i samfunnsutvikling? Identitetsbygging, omfavne det stedsspesifikke, og å ha en holistisk tilnærming til områdeutvikling. Både når det gjelder bærekraft og de menneskene som skal bo der.
Viktigste premisser i prosjekter? Utvikle oss selv for å være oppdatert, slik at vi alltid kan være i stand til å reagere på tidsaktuelle problemstillinger og utfordringer som finnes i samfunnet. Og alltid være nysgjerrig.
Personlig klima- og miljøinitiativ? Spise mindre kjøtt, er medlem i bildeleringen.
Revolverintervju med Frikk, Fres
Designfilosofi? Å lage funksjonell design. At alle elementer gjør noe, gjør de ikke noe så skal de ikke være med.
Drømmekunde? Det er et veldig godt spørsmål, det burde jeg ha visst med en gang...hmm. En idealistisk og kreativ kunde, det er den store drømmen.
Strategi for å få denne kunden? Gå ut og kommunisere med folk. Kommunisere det som du har lyst til å jobbe med. Det er det viktigste, å kommunisere interesse for akkurat den typen arbeid som du har lyst til å gjøre.
Low-tech eller high-tech? High-tech forkledd som low-tech.
Viktigste fokus i samfunnsutvikling? Skape løsninger som fungerer for flest mulig folk.
Viktigste premisser i enkeltprosjekter? Mitt viktigste prinsipp er å alltid levere det beste mulige arbeidet hver gang, og alltid være tilgjengelig.
Om natten også? Ja!
Personlig klima- og miljøinitiativ: Dyrker egne grønnsaker, kaster ikke mat.
Revolverintervju med Tone, Kaleidoscope
Designfilosofi? Å kartlegge de viktigste føringene i et prosjekt, og å kommunisere tydelig til alle involverte at det er dette vi jobber mot. Alltid tett knyttet til stedet, kundene og det ansvaret som vi alle har for vår felles fremtid.
Drømmekunde? Min drømmekunde er en kunde som bryr seg om god design, og som tør å velge å følge sin egen visjon. Som selvfølgelig blir utviklet sammen med oss i Kaleidoscope.
Strategi for å få slike kunder? Vise at vi som kontor står for noe og at vi tror på det. Og så skal jeg bli dronningen av Linked-In i 2018.
Low-tech eller high-tech? Både og. High-tech fordi jeg gleder meg til jeg og datamaskinen min blir litt mer til ett slik at vi kan finne de beste løsningene raskere. Jeg synes også at det er veldig viktig at vi tegner hus som virker også når strømmen går, slik sett synes jeg at gode low-tech løsninger alltid bør være en basis.
Viktigste fokus i samfunnsutvikling? Tenke mer på sirkulære prosesser. Alltid vurdere nøye hvilke ressurser vi har, og vi hvordan vi disponerer dem slik at de kommer til nytte igjen.
Viktigste premiss i enkeltprosjekt? Se at hvert prosjekt er ulikt, og svare på det når vi løser oppgaven.
Personlig klima- og miljøinitiativ: Lager Bokashi, og sykler til jobb.
We are living busy times! On Saturday 10th June, Miia-Liina will be talking about Participatory urban planning in the Nordic countries at the Nordiska Nätter festival in Helsinki. The presentation is held together with Heikki Riitahuhta from Studio Puisto Arkkitehdit, and the couple will be talking about their methods and projects as well as Uusi Kaupunki - the Finnish collective specialising in participatory urbanism. Get your tickets and check out the program here!
We are delighted to invite you to the opening event of Y installation in Seurasaari open air museum, Niemelä tenant farm on Thursday 1.6. at 18:00. Y is a wooden installation made by architects and fine carpenters in collaboration with the Finnish National Museum.
&’ [Emmi Keskisarja & Janne Teräsvirta & Company Architects], Tommi Alatalo, Antrei Hartikainen, Kaleidoscope Nordic AS, Irmelin Rose Fisch Vågen
Design development and Detail project:
Head architects and Structural design: Emmi Keskisarja, Janne Teräsvirta, Tommi Alatalo, Antrei Hartikainen
Assistant architects: Silje Klepsvik, Miia-Liina Tommila
Project initiation and Concept development: Emmi Keskisarja, Silje Klepsvik, Miia-Liina Tommila, Irmelin Rose Fisch Vågen, Tone Berge, Janne Teräsvirta
Project administration: Emmi Keskisarja, Miia-Liina Tommila
Contractor: Hienopuuseppä Heikki Paso Oy
Illustration: Vegard Aarseth
Laser-scanning: PhD Jorge Garcia Fernandez
CLT-element production: Hoisko CLT
Weather protection: Osmocolor
The project is supported by:
The Finnish National Museum
The Finnish Cultural Foundation
The Finnish Arts Promotion Centre
Alfred Kordelin Foundation
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The Finnish-Norwegian Cultural Foundation
Follow the project on Instagram:
#Y #seurasaari @etcompanyarchitects @woodenresearch @kaleidoscopenordic #irmelinvågen
@HoiskoClt @heikki.paso @kulttuurirahasto @taikegram #askonsäätiö #alfredkordelinfoundation @utenriksdept #suomalaisnorjalainenkulttuurirahasto
We are looking forward to presenting ourselves and our methods tomorrow at the BAF Academy event for Bergen-based architecture offices. The evening is directed at young architects and students to give them an idea of what to expect after graduation, as well as to take a look at the breadth of practises in Bergen. However - everyone are welcome! Starting at 18h at Bergen School of Architecture, we are accompanied by MAD, Fortunen, Tippetue, Kvalbein and Asplan Viak. The evening is free and there will be tapas... so we are expecting a big audience! Details of the event at Facebook.
Local buzz, global pipeline
In 2004 a group of economic geographers interested in innovation - Harald Bathelt, Anders Malmberg and Peter Maskell - defined the processes of interactive learning as a combination of ”local buzz” and ”global pipelines”. When local individuals, start-ups, and like-minded people locate in each other’s proximity, they are on their way to creating a local cluster (not necessarily a formal one), which is based on common interests, a particular field or simply geographical proximity. But for a local buzz or ideas to thrive, it also needs the ”global pipelines”, the strategic connection to the outside world, which allows for interaction, new ideas, openness and partnerships. Without the global pipeline, the local buzz runs the risk of stagnation, by missing out on the advantages of a broader collaboration.
In a much less theoretical and rather more intuitive way, this knowledge creation process is exactly how Urban INC and Kaleidoscope got together to share experience which could be relevant to both parties and build upon knowledge and assets. Our exchange was gladly funded by the EEA Grants through the NGO Fund in Romania, as a follow-up to the capacity building of Urban INC in 2015-2016. This is rare opportunity for organisations working in Romania and Norway to meet and learn from each other’s different context and work experience. Our meeting point was using design methods to unpack complex problems which cities face. Our different approaches were the black box on our horizon, the opportunity to learn and experiment with strategies and tools which operate in a slightly distinctive way. At Urban INC, design methods translate into design thinking and complex problem solving, aiming at behavioral, policy and wider societal change. Kaleidoscope, as an architecture office, engages in participatory processes and user-centered design to address urban challenges through inclusive methods.
Then there is, of course, the matter of local context, local institutions and the development path which impacts the tools and strategies one can apply in daily work. In our discussions, it was interesting to notice that participatory planning processes in Norway and Finland are not a given, but also something which professionals push for as a part of their work. In Romania, most urban problems translate into governance and wider development problems, in which it is essential to understand the need to build stronger institutions or the lack of incentives for public or private stakeholders to take more responsibility or be proactive.
The elephant in the city: Pipera and Dimitrie Pompeiu districts
The starting point of our discussion was the Pipera and Dimitrie Pompeiu districts in Bucharest, a sort of elephant at a city scale. Why an elephant? Because even though altogether some 88,000 people commute daily to these two areas, closely located to each other, the infrastructure and mobility problems have not yet been dealt with.
An estimated timeframe for the planned major infrastructure investments (subway extension, rehabilitation of tram tracks, development of bicycle lanes) has a medium to long term outlook, ranging from 2023 to 2030. On the shorter and daily reality term, companies and employees face the challenges stemming from the gap between public and private investment and lack of an overall plan: reduced accessibility and mobility, increased travel time to/from work, low quality routes for pedestrians, reduced public transport alternatives and limited parking space.
These come packed with an impact on economic productivity, such as opportunity cost of time (in 2017, Bucharest went up five places to become the world’s 5th most congested city in the Tom Tom traffic index and Europe’s no.1 most congested city, surpassing Istanbul), difficulties in retaining labor force (if possible, it would be best not to commute to Pipera!) or relocation (to the center-west better serviced office buildings).
Inside view @Urban INC: the process
Having undergone several processes of working with local institutions and stakeholders, at Urban INC we have come to a better understanding on the barriers to driving change. Apart from the weak institutions and the lack of overall incentives to do more or better, there is generally a lack of imagination for alternatives to what we have in front of us. For that reason, our purpose in holding a workshop using design thinking methods for Pipera and Dimitrie Pompeiu Districts was not as much focused on the results as on the process. The red line we curated and the “design thinking” checkpoints were there to make sure we have closed loops and managed to map problems which are widely known but not strategically communicated.
Day 1 (3rd of March) was aimed for better understanding user insights and the problems perceived locally, by employees as well as employers. Apart from conducting interviews with local stakeholders, we wanted to observe directly the ways in which people interact with the space, so we undertook a long walk, observation and photography to guide us further on.
For the second day (4 March), we invited a range of architecture, planning, design and local development firms to take part in a workshop in which we used our collective imagination to discuss the user insights we received from the area and to generate solutions. The process was interactive and we managed to capitalize on everyone’s super powers, as solutions generated ranged from short term tactical urbanism interventions to large scale infrastructure changes and investments. Interesting enough, a lot of emphasis in the discussion was on community building, on the needs to build an identity and commitment to the area, as well as applying a strategic approach in which small scale, guerrilla interventions precede a strategy and a long term plan.
What can be done without lengthy municipal processes, and who should initiate change? What is the identity of the Pipera and Dimitrie Pompeiu districts, and how can the identified problems be turned into opportunities? These are some of the questions we wanted to highlight in the workshop held at Urban INC.
It was evident from the interviews that social arenas, green elements and more outdoor activities would be highly valued. The opportunity to sit on a bench in the sun, have a place to meet a friend away from the shopping centre, or have a place to go for a walk in pleasant surroundings, or just being safe on the pedestrian sidewalk would give increased well-being and higher input throughout their working day. Understanding these people’s daily needs and obstacles is the key element in any further development of the area.
The interviews confirmed the many challenges the area is confronted with, but also revealed possibilities and that people’s perception of the area is not solely negative. Many enjoy the modern architecture and the aesthetic of the lighted buildings, some do take their bike to work even though the bike lanes are few and incoherent, and although mostly located in the shopping centre, there are many eateries to choose from. But most importantly, there is an abundance of highly competent and resourceful people working in the area! This is the real asset.
Walking through the area we also discovered several urban qualities, some more hidden than others. There is a diverse mix of modern glass buildings, former industrial buildings and wasteland. The new clean surfaces next to the old and ruff makes an intriguing combination, and some leftover green spots have a great potential. Being accessible from the center by subway, tram and bus pose a major advantage, and with small improvements and a change in mindset the area could turn problems into possibilities.
Bicycle paths and pedestrian networks have an enormous potential to provide the area with increased coverage and improve the safety, health and well-being of those who work there. In addition, public spaces for social interaction could give the area a real boost, by integrating work life with social life and offer more than just being a workplace.
Roadmap to business district heaven
The emerging business areas in the North of Bucharest have been growing fast and the local authorities have not proven the capacity to support this trend by putting in place adequate access to utilities or through master planning and long term envisioning. The administrative complexity of the city of Bucharest and its metropolitan area have also had detrimental effects in taking advantage of the private sector’s locational decisions and their benefits for the city. We have seen in our interviews and field research that governance boundaries translate into physical boundaries which come at great cost for the companies and employees who are key drivers for the city’s economic growth.
However, we found there is potential to surpass existing challenges, if there is a clear understanding of the existing problems and opportunities, as well as an imagination of alternative scenarios. We found that design thinking methods can be a powerful tool to accelerate understanding and mapping of local problems and can provide a fast track to solution design.
As a combined result of the different approaches and scenarios thought out in the workshop, Kaleidoscope worked out a series of collages illustrating one possible chain of incremental change. This scenario is linked to the power of renewal which is embedded in fixing the missing links in the area. What if the short term action was only to remove obstacles and fences along the way, and paint a bicycle lane network connecting Pipera and Dimitrie Pompeiu district internally? Even in a guerrilla manner, in order to raise awareness around the conditions of public space? Could a stunt have the power to change people’s mindset and their behaviour? This immediate action could potentially function as a kick-starter for a long term vision where a welcoming public space with focus on the pedestrians and soft mobility rises as a new typology.
The workshop was designed as a part of the project Urban Insights: Building partnership for user-centred design, financed through the NGO Fund in Romania via EEA Grants 2009-2014 and managed by the Foundation for Civil Society Development. The content of this material does not necessarily reflect the official position of the EEA Grants 2009-2014.
Article written by Irina Paraschivoiu, Anamaria Vrabie, Silje Klepsvik and Miia-Liina Tommila
For the past weekend, Kaleidoscope has been privileged to visit and work together with the NGO Urban Insight Center, Urban INC, with Irina Paraschivoiu and Anamaria Vrabie in Bucharest, Romania. The aim of the collaboration which is supported by the EEA program, through the Bilateral Exchange Fund, is to exchange knowledge and promote bi-lateral connections, but also to delve into a case study about how to define a strategy for citizen-initiated urban regeneration in the context of the business district Pipera in Bucharest. We arranged a workshop where local architects and urban planners were invited to work together with us and are now moving further on to publish an article and a workbook as a result of the collaboration. As a part of the workshop we held presentations and discussions about Kaleidoscope as well as the Uusi Kaupunki collective, and even got to film short video talks about our ways of working. A busy and rewarding weekend in other words, happily rounded off by a visit to the local spa, Therme Bucharest, in order to balance out the work-leisure ratio.
This was the first trip to Romania for Kaleidoscope, and we can't wait to get back. We are looking forward to publishing our case study to address the potentials alongside the challenges of the growing Pipera district. The young generation of designers and planners is bound to make a difference in the way cities are built and regulated in Romania. The awareness of the power of people has started to rise in Bucharest and we can expect to see a change towards the positive, hopefully also in the way the citizens can affect the city they inhabit.