Architecture and experience

Thursday 10 Feb 2011

The new Holmenkollen Ski Jump: a perfomative project

The Holmenkollen site has been the cradle of evolution in ski-jumping for more than 100 years. As the city of Oslo will host the 2011 world championships, the facilities required a renovation beyond what the existing structure could manage.

JDS Architects' submission won the international open competition held in 2007 against 104 proposals to redesign the jumping tower and the 30,000 seats arena. Beyond fulfilling the discipline's requirements for many years to come, and providing 100% recyclable materials in a sustainable construction, our project proposes two aspects we believe have led to its completion:

Symbiotic relationship between architecture and experience; the design aims at unifying the various elements present in a ski-jump into one single structure, expression, shape and action. Rather than having a series of dispersed pavilions on site, we've managed to combine them into one organism. The judges' booths, the commentators, the trainers, the royal family, the VIPs, the wind screens, the circulations, the lobby, the lounge for the skiers, the shop of souvenirs, the access to the existing museum, the viewing public square at the very top, EVERYTHING, is contained into the shape of the jump in a symbiosis of programmes and experiences giving the jump a harmonic contextual relationship to the surrounding landscape.

The resulting simplicity of the solution improves the experience of the spectators and the focus of the skiers. There's an impressive feeling of intimacy at Holmenkollen: both audience and jumpers are enclosed in the arms of the ski-jump in a form of an architectural embrace.

Iconographic dialogue between structure and city; there is a crucial aspect to this iconographic issue that our project emphasizes: from its strategic position, at the highest peak over the city, the structure offers the most breathtaking views of Oslo, the fjord and the region beyond. We have designed a public square, on top of the jump, literally a plaza, to let visitors experience Oslo from this exceptional vantage point. It's a new form of public space, using an unlikely architectural form as its host - allowing for a dialogue between the city and its inhabitants.

JDS Architects believe sustainability requires the social realm to be addressed: a project needs to be socially desired and active to be maintained. With this new injection of social space, the ski jump has become a truly vibrant and integrated part of Oslo.

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