Architecture – Titled What We Share. A model for cohousing, the exhibition is curated by the National Museum of Norway and presents a framework for designing and building communities based on participation and sharing.
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Visitors can walk through and explore a cross-section of a prototype of Helen & Hard’s award-winning cohousing project Vindmøllebakken in Stavanger, Norway, which consists in small but fully equipped apartments, several shared facilities and spaces developed in collaboration with residents. For the exhibition they have been challenged to develop an even more radical version of cohousing: Which functions or social situations could they move out of their apartments and share with other residents?
“Being both architects and inhabitants of a cohousing community has made us aware of the potential that this housing model can offer in terms of tackling some of the societal and environmental challenges we face today.” Say Siv Helene Stangeland and Reinhard Kropf, creative directors of Helen & Hard. “In Venice we want to explore this potential and demonstrate how the interplay between inhabitants and agencies involved can create an adaptable architecture.”
The What We Share exhibition responds to How We Will Live Together? the main theme and question posed by Hashim Sarkis, curator of the Venice Biennale 2021. After months of isolation and social distancing, the Norwegian studio offers a chance to reflect and re-think how to come together again with a renewed will to share and work, live and be friends.
“There is an urgent need in the housing sector to explore new models of communal living. In the past year, questions about our ways of living, and how they closely relate to issues such as loneliness, social encounters and community, have become even more acute,” says senior curator Martin Braathen of the National Museum of Norway.
The Nordic cohousing model combines owner-occupancy and individual living units with shared facilities and communal participation. The model was developed from the late 1960s onward and has since spread around the world.
“What we share builds on this cohousing model. It is not a utopian vision, but a real proposal for building apartments, communal spaces and semi-private sharing zones in commercial housing projects.” The project also implements an innovative open-source solid timber sustainable construction system that can easily be produced locally and is suitable for self-building.
Photos by DSL Studio or Chiara Masiero Sgrinzatto and Luca Nicolò Vascon, credits National Museum of Norway.
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