RGU architecture project addresses diversification in post-oil economies

Architecture students at Robert Gordon University (RGU) have mapped out ways for oil dependent economies to diversify after the industry begins to decline.

Anneli KiviniemiThe Stage 6 students have studied the Norwegian village  of Eidsvåg and created a hypothetical new settlement focused on the town’s maritime industry rather than oil. Proposals include plans for infrastructure, housing, public buildings, a shipyard, hydro dam and ferry terminal.

Lecturer Penny Lewis said: “This unit addresses the issues facing Norwegian society, particularly in relation to both an oil economy and a post-oil economy, and how architecture might contribute to their resolution. Our students visited Norway’s cities and coastal areas and explored the economic alternatives to oil-based industry.”

She added: “The project has interesting parallels for Scotland, in that the two countries share a comparable climate, landscape, an extensive coastlines and the North Sea, and both face similar issues when thinking about a post-oil economy.”

Student Anneli Kiviniemi (26) has designed a ferry terminal as part of the unit, taking into account the fact that many Norwegians travel from their homes in the suburbs to urban centres by boat.

She said: “The project aims to reflect upon issues which may occur in Norwegian towns and cities after the collapse of oil industry. My proposal for a ferry terminal creates a connection point between existing public transport routes and the new development within the bay.

“The building accommodates passenger ferry docking, ticketing and administration, a range of learning and practical spaces for sailors and students of sailing as well as a public restaurant and bar.”

Daniel CardnoShe added: “The character of the building changes during different times of the day. While the concrete colonnade creates a rhythmical building during the day, the colonnade ‘disappears’ during night time and the timber façade becomes dominant. The building is opened up on the top levels, creating an abstraction of a traditional lighthouse at night.”

Classmate Daniel Cardno (23) has looked at the possibility of constructing a marine research centre on the island.

He said: “The project emphasizes Norway’s relationship with water and the maritime industry. The design uses a similar footprint and takes the shape of three hybrid portal frame buildings based on traditional Norwegian boatsheds. The buildings connect together at ground level and the concept works off a horizontal solid and void basis.

“The ground floor which holds an aquarium is open for the public and can be easily read as the glazed sides appear transparent. The three forms overhead conceal laboratories which use controlled lighting and are clad in timber so appear solid from the outside.”

The work will go on display at the Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment as part of the End of Year Show, which runs from June 18 to 25.

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Jenny RushCommunications Officer | Design and Technology