FORUM NEXUS - OSLO SCIENCE CITY
Oslo Science City consists of a lot of different institutions, with more to come. Collectively, the institutions seem fragmented, self-centred and not welcoming. Jens (a class mate) and I located several key spots within OSC which provide opportunities to dissolve the “us and them” syndrome that now divides people and disciplines. These spots are Forskningsparken T-station, the crossings of Ring 3 between Rikshospitalet and SINTEF, the point of confluence between Blindernveien, Blindern T-station and the small river, at the south end of the University and Forskningsparken.
I have focused on Blindern T-station as a case study as one of these spots. A lot of people commute through this area. Even so, the station and the area seem empty and the infrastructure there is simply horrible. Still, this spot has great potential to become a common base where people from UiO, Forskningsparken, the kindergartens and the neighbourhood can feel connected and share values and ideas.
In a conversation with my grandfather, Hårek, about this project, he told me that when he worked at the Central institution, now Sintef-SI (one of the institutions within OSC), the most creative moments where knowledge was shared, new friendships and collaborations where started and innovation sparked, was at 10 o’clock in the morning when everybody gathered in the cafeteria and had coffee. So how does this look from space? In the vast area of OSC? OSC needs the old “SI-cafeteria” to help it become an innovation district.
The “cafeteria-meeting” is the core element of
what I call Forum nexus.
My idea is to put a "lid" on the whole station and convert it into an epicentre that cultivates the “coffee meeting”. The superstructure will consist of different levels. The roof has access to nature and will function as an extension of the kindergartens with slides, nets to lay in and holes to look through the structure. It will become a playground and infrastructure in one. Imagine taking the slide from the roof down to the metro or having the morning meeting outside in the structure after dropping off the kids. The existing buildings and garages at ground level will house groceries store, café, new start-up businesses, a theatre and more, and the river will be re-exposed and accessible.
When I studied to become a kindergarten teacher, I learned and practiced a pedagogical method that based learning on physical activities and being outdoors, with focus on nature. This is a method that also focuses on creativity and trial and error. We allowed the children to do things we knew would go wrong so they could learn through physical actions and encounters.
By facilitating the physical playfulness and places to stay or meet for professors, employees at Forskningsparken, students, children and neighbours in the Forum neXus structure, chances are it will become an innovation space – a space that facilitates social interactions between people, disciplines and institutions. This concept of unifying and physical encounters could be applied at the other spots mentioned, allowing Oslo Science City to become a much more unified, common campus for all the existing institutions and new that will come.