A high-speed train approaches Honefoss. The magnetic pull of the big city, Oslo, defines hierarchies and expands, pushing inhabitants to new perimeters, forming an ever larger radius of influence. The inhabitants of Hjertelia will be a mixture of those city people who found freedom during the pandemic through online work, those who are tired of fighting real estate prices, and those – wherever they started – who seek a slightly different format for living. All of them arrive at Hjertelia convinced by the impulse to coexist with nature and each other.
Strategy: A Stacked Ground
The border condition at the site – not truly a city, not fully the countryside – provokes a different approach to density. A productive farmland landscape should not be subsumed to standalone houses surrounded by lawns or housing blocks of intense anonymity. Imagine the farmland could rise by six meters, and under this elevated ground, life could flourish. Our approach is to stack the traditional models of farmland, domestic space, and work, one over the other to foment contemporary synergies between them. We neutralize the footprint of the house by sandwiching it between two productive grounds.
Density creates opportunities for metabolic cycles to link a richer, more heterogeneous mix of activity. Clusters of three or four stacked units activate the space in between as the key site for interaction and exchange among inhabitants. The social tableau of the in-between encourages a model of cohabitation, where density forms human space but remains permeable to non-human inhabitants. Against the existing diagram of the residual forest, we strive for a vision of the forest like threads through a tapestry.