How can local community be engaged to create a common benefit? 


Self Initiated Project

Client:    Our neighborhood, process 2005- 2011

Budget: Limited, based on voluntarily common efforts

Architect: Haugen/Zohar Arkitekter AS

Project team: Marit Justine Haugen, Audun Aagre, Kai Hansen, Dan Zohar


Drawn by one of the notable contemporary architects in Norway, architect Harald Hals, the apartment building Torshov Kvartal 8 in Oslo is one of the largest municipal housing facilities from 1920. Social housing and garden cities in Europe inspired its master plan. At the heart of this backyard, an uninviting private building, earlier an electricity supplier was standing locked for 75 years.

The building’s owner was contacted and different social objectives were drafted. This was the start of a 6-year common process aiming to turn the electricity supplier into a common house for the benefit of the whole neighborhood, which consists of 180 families.

A building program was established alongside a webpage and an open process of mapping all relevant human sources, both amateur and professionals. This gave us a huge advantage as no funding was on the table. 

The electric supplier is buried besides the building and the space is released for a variety of use. Today, the 75sqm contains a common space, kitchen, bathroom and a mezzanine for overnight guests. The new space offers possibilities for all ages and it is occupied 75 % of the week and hosts all ages and all kind of events. Funeral, weddings, baptisms, confirmations, children’s birthdays, corporate parties, adult parties, project meetings, board meetings, Christmas parties, theme nights, movie nights, sporting events, exhibitions, sales issue, flea market, education, opera evenings etc.

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