The Økern area is poised to be the next major development area in the Oslo region. An estimated 10.000 persons will live in Økern within the next 12 years.
The Økern area is poised to be the next major development area in the Oslo region. An estimated 10.000 persons will live in Økern within the next 12 years. Large investments in tunnels and infrastructure combined with accessability (regional node), political consolidation through the kommunedelplan, and programmatic diversity will secure the tailor-made connections between the existing and new local environment.
At present, the Økern area is a vacuous area of infrastructure and depleted industry forming a divide between residential estates and sporting facilities. The site has the potential to mediate this divide, creating a local center for an area in transformation. The isolation of the urban fabric paradoxically combined with a hyper-connectivity, its industrial history, the uniqueness of scale and topology on the site, liberates it, demanding a reinvention of program and public space, and provides an opportunity to create a new, fresh, honest identity.
Victor Gruen gave us the ‘climatized’ commercial space, doing away with real nature, detaching us from the outside world, in favor of the fully artificial. John Jerde recaptures the public realm, displacing generic volumes around caricatures of public space, an overwhelming spatial ‘mess’. The mass spectacle of the latter can be understood as an excessive attempt to add complexity (urban) to consumerism.
Both scenarios represent highly controlled environments of amplified experience, a visual and spatial torture, devoid of architecture.
Culture, portrayed as the ideological inverse of shopping, is booming, first and foremost ’commercially’. It has more often than not become the celebration of a parody. At the same time, culture has a surreptitious influence in small, almost imperceptible constellations, and hybrid forms that appropriate and transform the public realm.
These conditions and the ‘optimized’ shopping diagrams that debase architecture provide an exciting forum for rethinking the notion of urban development.
Rather than generate further simulations of the urban spectacle, an oversaturation of the familiar, and the functional, we began by stripping our own illusions and speculate freely on urban ecologies – commercial, culture, living, working, office, entertainment, and leisure.