Oslo-based architectural practice PUSHAK has won a competition to create an installation for The Architecture Foundation on Tooley Street, London SE1, to be launched in June 2010 at the London Festival of Architecture.
Introducing a surprising note of nature into the middle of its urban setting, the installation will “explore the relationship between contemporary architecture and Norway’s landscape and natural resources, responding to local conditions in London.”
The installation also lends an exhibition space to Bankside Urban Forest, with a nod in the direction of moss graffiti and Guerrilla Gardening. The latter is an informal global movement that stages green-fingered protests against the scarcity, privatisation and neglect of public spaces. As one guerrilla gardener puts it: “Let’s fight the filth with forks and flowers.”
Visitors to ‘Moss your City’ will be able to take postcards away with them, bearing different urban greening logos and giving the moss graffiti recipe at the back. Should you wish to make your own living, breathing graffiti, the recipe – including moss, buttermilk and beer – can be found on wikiHow.
Aside from this recent competition entry, PUSHAK has completed a string of projects in Norway, often characterised by a low-tech, pared-down aesthetic. The primary focus for each design seems to be on local landscape, build techniques and materials. The structure’s function firmly guides its appearance – not the other way around.
The practice was commissioned by the Norwegian Public Road Administration to design a number of exposed roadside structures in the far North of the country – places for travellers to stop, rest, seek shelter from the elements, light fires or just take in their surroundings:
The unassuming, box-like shelters in the last image are a perfect solution to a typically Scandinavian problem – how to enjoy the stunning view without freezing to death. At once pragmatic and playful, the shelters form part of the landscape. PUSHAK’s own description:
The site of the road stop is a paradox. Often, the hardest winds blow off the sea, and yet the most attractive view is towards the fjord. The obvious response in order to shield tourists from the wind would be to construct a view-blocking wall. Instead, three ”bench-boxes” – prefabricated at a local wharf – dot the area, and their differing orientations allow visitors to choose where to sit according to wind and sun conditions. Two persons or groups can use each box at once while they retain some privacy. The structure is built using steel bars, with cantilevered benches and roofs. The interiors are covered with oak, and the exteriors are clad with copper sheets.