There are countless student competitions opening throughout the year offering designers in the early stages of their careers to test their skills against their peers in preparation for the ‘real world’. What is rare however is a student competition run by students, for students but a recent contest hosted by three pupils from The Oslo School of Architecture and Design is looking to change that with their international contest: 120 Hours.
Hans Martin Frostad Halleraker, Founder and Advisory Board Member, explains: “120 seeks to offer fresh ideas on relevant architectural topics while giving students a voice in the current architectural discourse… In short, we want to give deserving young talents a head start at the game, and we seek to benefit the architectural community as a whole. We also want to introduce a much higher level of competitiveness in the academic studio environment, in order to cultivate the talents of architecture.”
This is the second year that 120 Hours has been running and the 2012 competitors were challenged to address the issue of density in cities. They were given a narrow courtyard site in Trondheim, Norway and requested to devise innovative ways in which people could reside there to the betterment of existing residents, the urban realm and - of course - the new residents themselves.
A jury of experienced architects selected their top four projects (third place was tied) from a varied selection of submissions, with Kasper Reimer and Thilde Orluf from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture taking first prize with their ‘Crossing the Courtyard’ composition.
Their reasoning for the selection was such: “Crossing the Courtyard is the proposal that best uses and transforms the existing situation. The existing buildings will be a natural part of the new architecture, and the integration gives new qualities to the area. The proposal is robust and flexible, and can withstand changes in the application, use and location. It can fit in several backyards, both in Trondheim and the rest of Europe, but it is also closely related to Morsundveita. This makes the project a long-term strategy.”
Reimer and Orluf’s scheme is comprised of a series of wedges suspended across the courtyard from the existing buildings. The 4m-wide strips vary from 13m to 32m in length and create a series of urban roof gardens where residents and employees in neighbouring offices can socialise and grow their own produce. In order to prevent any unnecessary ‘dead space’, Reimer and Orluf inserted a café and bookstore into one of the lower wedges.
Details of the first, second and third-place entries can be found here.