Dugnad Days: 
Oslo Architecture Triennale, Norway 2019

The renovation of a community house within the suburbs of Oslo. Designed and facilitated through dugnad (mutual support).

Dugnad has underpinned the culture of care and responsibility Norwegians have had as neighbours, national and global citizens for 800 years, which continues on the periphery in co-housing, civic and municipal collaborations and more. However, as the country becomes more individualistic, citizens are losing Dugnad’s value. Dugnad is also reflected across cultures globally in various placemaking strategies, including architecture dedicated to a more equitable society. Dugnad Days, a participatory design project selected for the Oslo Architecture Triennale 2019, creates a story of commitment, shared learning and collective responsibility. Dugnad Days explores collective, bespoke processes of building resilience and the social sustainability of communities through participatory placemaking. By recalibrating the Dugnad tradition of collective work and mutual support with the local community of Sletteløkka in Oslo, the project aimed to collectively plan, design and renovate a vacant building into a community center for the area. “Enough: the Architecture of Degrowth” – the Oslo Architecture Triennale 2019 is a call to arms to build alternatives to the unsustainable and unfair paradigm of growth, because human and ecological flourishing matter the most. Dugnad Days was exhibited in the Triennale’s exhibition, The Library, at the National Museum, Oslo, 26 Sept-24 Nov 2019.

Team: Alexander Eriksson Furunes, Mattias Josefsson,
Maria Årthun, Lucy Bullivant & Sudarshan Khadka
Partners: Bydel Bjerke & residents of Sletteløkka
Sponsor: KORO – Public Art Norway (Lokalsamfunnsordningen)

Fronteira Livre:
São Paulo Biennale, Brazil 2017

A close collaboration with migrants of CAMI migrants support center to design six banners in the Sao Paulo Metro. Each banner contained a pattern and message that the group wanted to communicate to the city.

Where in your life do you face borders? What is your personal story of these borders and where does your own individual experience relate to the collective experience of borders? How can we together build a movement to address and move the borders of today? These were the questions discussed with eight migrants in Sao Paulo from Bolivia, Peru, Angola, Haiti and Congo. Even after crossing the national border, they face a series of invisible borders, whether cultural, social or economic. Fronteira Livre (invisible borders) was a collaborative intervention for the 11th Architecture Biennale of São Paulo consisting of six banners for the São Paulo Metro and CPTM over the period of 16th October to 15th November 2017. The banners appeared in six main stations of the red line on the São Paulo metro: Barra-Funda, República, Sé, Brás, Tatuapé and Itaquera. This is the busiest line of the metro system carrying 4.7 million passengers a day. The intervention was carried out through a collaboration with eight members of the CAMI Migrant Support Center. Each of them shared a personal experience of borders that they have faced since their arrival in Brazil. Through storytelling, the group identified a collective experience of borders in their daily lives. The messages they wanted to communicate to the people of Sao Paulo was developed through words and patterns on six banners with the crosscutting theme: borders.

Team: Alexander Eriksson Furunes,
Maria Cau Levy, Gabriela Forjaz & Lucy Bullivant
Partner: CAMI Center for Migrant Suppor

Community, Co-design, Architecture:
Nanoco gallery, Hanoi, Vietnam 2017 

The exhibition was developed through a collaborative process with other architects and creative professionals in Hanoi exploring processes, tools and methods behind collaborative design process.

Featuring previous projects with communities in India, Philippines, China and UK, the exhibition explored how we can work together, identify ambitions, needs, resources and existing knowledge within these communities. The exhibition was also an opportunity to prepare for an upcoming project to design and build new facilities for the Lung Tam Textile Cooperative in Ha Giang Province, Vietnam. Working together with the members of the cooperative, the aim was to engage them in a process to learn, question and make something that belongs to them. As experts of their own lives, communities should be involved in the design and planning of their built environment, to identify and address the challenges and issues that they face. The process of design and building architecture can become a platform for different opinions and ambitions to come together in a creative process to give shape to a building that eventually belong to the people and the place that made it. But for this to happen the role of the architect needs to change, from a designer of products to a ‘curator’ of a process where the clients and end-users of the building are no longer passive receivers but active designers and builders.

Team: Alexander Eriksson Furunes, Sudarshan Khadka,
Hiep Nguyen, Chau Nguyen Huyen, Remi Gontier, Bảo Trân Phùng, Diệp Hạ Châu & Thiều Nguyễn Le Huyen

Textile Cooperative:
Lung Tam, Vietnam 2017

A collaborative design and build project with an H’mong ethnic group in northern Vietnam. The cooperative provides space for designing and making Batik Hemp Textiles.

Lùng Tám is a small village located in the northernmost province Ha Giang in Vietnam. The village consists of 200 Hmong families and is considered the regional center of the seven surrounding smaller villages. In 2001 Ms. Vàng Thi Mai started the Lung Tam Linen Textile Cooperative offering work opportunities for women in the surrounding villages. Today the cooperative has 130 members engaged in different steps of producing batik textiles but aim to reach 400 women within the next years. The cooperative expressed the need to have a space for community activities such as cultural events, training classes and community meetings. The community organized themselves into a core group of 12 leaders to facilitate the design workshops and eventually coordinate the building process of the new cooperative building. After a series of workshops, the group identified ‘the grid’ as a concept derived from traditional vernacular timber structures in the region. The concept enabled the members of the cooperative to map the existing facilities and together with the architects developed a new design for the site. A small prototype timber structure was built using existing knowledge and skills of local carpenters. The structure has brought attention to the initiative in the village and is currently being used for drying hemp textiles after the colour dying process.

Team: Alexander Eriksson Furunes, Hiep Nguyen,
Chau Nguyen Huyen, Remi Gontier & Sudarshan Khadka Partner: Lung Tham Textile Cooperative

Streetlight Tagpuro: 
Tacloban, Philippines 2016

The rebuild of two orphanages, a study center, a park and an office with a vocational training center. The project was designed and built over a two-year long involvement with the resettled community in Tagpuro.

In November 2013, super-typhoon Haiyan destroyed the study center which was built through a collaboration between the Seawall community, three architects and the NGO Streetlight in 2010. A typhoon so strong, that the entire informal settlement of Seawall was flattened. Nevertheless, the community ties, confidence and pride built in the making of the study center survived and formed a strong platform for the families to come together and build back their lives.  As the local government announced that the informal settlements along the coastline should be relocated, Streetlight decided to follow. Furunes, one of the architects that built the previous study center was invited back to lead the reconstruction of Streetlight’s facilities. Through workshops using drawings, model making and physical prototyping, concepts of ‘open and light’ or ‘closed and safe’ were identified as essential elements to respond to the trauma and experience of the typhoon. This informed the use of concrete volumes for refuge, and ventilated light timber structures that would allow strong winds to pass through. This was in fact a technique developed by the families in the informal settlements to cope with the disaster-prone climate. Under the supervision of the contractor, members of the community received TESDA training courses to become certified carpenters and masons during the construction. The buildings were completed in 2016 and are now in full use by the community and Streetlight.

Team: Alexander Eriksson Furunes
& Leandro V Locsin Partners (Sudarshan Khadka)
Partner: Streetlight Philippines