Red Runner

by Karin Hylin, Camilla Åseng from Faculty of Architecture and Fine Arts, NTNU, Norway
Tutored by: Finn Hakonsen

Author comments:

In the future, the already built environment will be one of the greatest challenges for architects. Our work is a response to the trend of fully functional buildings being vacated without any plans for future use. In addition this thesis should be seen as an appeal against privatization of the public space. Through our work we seek to highlight the opportunities in giving new life to existing buildings. We want to let the buildings' structure, character and environment establish the terms for how it may be revived. The old swimming hall in Bodø, ‘Svømmehallen’, has been vacant for 12 years. It is located in Bodøs largest park, the highest viewing point on the Bodø peninsula. Built in 1969, it represents qualities in engineering and architecture like no other building in Bodø. The city was completely destroyed during WW2 and Svømmehallen is therefore an important cultural monument in the postwar city - still not defined as worthy of preservation by the municipality. Instead, they sold the building to a private developer with residential plans. Our project gives Svømmehallen an alternative future that maintains its original qualities in a reinterpreted manner. Our interpretation of the buildings character, ‘The voice of Svømmehallen’, provided a set of guidelines for the development of the project. We went on to study what these present qualities and a new function could add to each other and engaged in conversation with the building to find ‘The new voice of Svømmehallen’.

Tutor comments:

Today ‘Svømmehallen’, more or less, appears as a ruin. The commercial and political environment of the town today neglects the meaning of the building and its potential. In contrast to this attitude, the Master thesis by Hylin og Åseng uncovers and gives value to the history of former life of the Bodø inhabitants supported by its architecture. It also found ways to understand the appearance of the remains of Svømmehallen today and ways to see future possibilities. This means an understanding of history as layers of meanings and memories, that some of these are lost and others found. This represents an understanding within the thesis, where the layers both are found, are generating the creative process and also expressed in architecture. The transformation into “The house of film’ is discussed in the thesis on many levels. One question is how can a building that is exclusively designed for swimming, be an attractive place for watching movies in an era of digitalization? And what does it mean for the Bodø population if the important memories from the very short history of the town is erased away, rather than being transformed into new meanings. The work of the thesis is enlighten by a high degree of skills and knowledge in what professor Dorte Jørgensen at Aarhus University might call “Aesthetic thinking”.

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