The Landscapes of the Norwegian Scenic Routes

Over the past thirty years, the "Norwegian Scenic Routes" project has produced imaginative buildings and landscapes in poetic dialogue with Norway's unique scenery and road infrastructure.

As much as the program remains vital, sensibilities toward the astonishing Norwegian landscape and what it means to enjoy the beautiful vistas along the road are changing.

An increasing demand to review the scenic route's relationship to Norwegian climate policies and the evolving aesthetics and poetics around the terms "landscape" and "view" perhaps requires the renewal of values, design techniques, scales, and media after the program's first three decades.

Outside of Norway, the program has served as a platform for discussing architecture and landscape in relation to art and nature, disseminating the particular design culture the program has contributed to creating. Traditionally, the program has served as a platform for young creative boutique offices, privileging artistic merit over experience.

The studio will ask three new fundamental questions the program has yet to address, proposing projects departing from new techniques and ways to survey the beautiful Norwegian landscape.
   – Vision and technology
   – New scales
   – The road as culture

We will explore how technology shapes a designer's relation to beautiful scenery. In Norway, sophisticated high-resolution surveys and databases of the landscape are publicly available. Architects and landscape architects still need to capitalize on this rich material. We will explore techniques to translate these sophisticated surveys into concrete spatial decisions. This methodology is equally helpful for architects and landscape architects and opens the poetic evaluation of these sophisticated documents beyond their technical implications.

The second question is about scale and media. As there is increasing pressure to produce new projects that go beyond beautiful objects amidst beautiful scenery, landscape architects are gaining relevance for the program; at the same time, architects are pushed to expand the limits of the poetic object in connection to environmental concerns.

New sites for the scenic routes include mining sites amidst astonishing landscapes, creating the need to design projects in between architecture and landscape architecture that can simultaneously address nature's exploitation and the extreme beauty of their situations.

Projects proposed in the studio will also contribute to the evolving nature of road and car culture in some of Northern Europe's most delicate landscapes, a rapidly changing subject posing new design questions.

This course has an irregular schedule. Please see the course syllabus for details.