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Stiftelsen Arkivet
Competition entry for the refurbishment and extension of a center for documentation and education of the Second World War
Kristiansand, Norway


In 2010, a competition was held for the design of an extension to the existing “Arkivet” building in Kristiansand to create more teaching and common facilities for the institution.

As the former State archive, built in 1935, the existing building is characterized by its functionalist and powerful architecture. During World War 2, the archive basement was used as a torture chamber.

Today, Arkivet houses a Foundation that draws upon the building’s cruel history to create a deeper understanding of human dignity and human rights by offering lectures, teaching, guided tours and information to schools and the public.  Several idealistic and human right organizationa are also gathered in the building.

Foundation Archives’ vision to create more room for human dignity inspired and challenged us as architects. How can we provide the appropriate framework for such a worthwhile goal. Our starting point was, on the one hand, to create optimal use for the many activities that Arkivet facilitates

and, on the other hand, create spatial experiences that awaken the presence and receptivity to reflect on this high-quality vision.

The proposal was a stringent and modest extension of the building in the back, which enhances the existing architecture while also adding the minimum extra space needed. To create a connection between the new and the old, and to improve the communication between the floors, a central space (“hjerterommet” or heart room) was introduced as a cut out in the existing structure. “Hjerterommet” becomes a meeting space for the visitors and the people working in the building, and it reveals the tectonic logic of the existing building.

Around the institution we planned a procurement park, with furniture and activities displaying the foundation and organization’s message in a informal and playful way.

Team: Siv Helene Stangeland, Randi Augenstein

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Helen & Hard Stavanger

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Helen & Hard Oslo

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0161 Oslo, Norway

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