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Made in Hamar: A basic proposal for Stortorget Square by Eva lvarez+Carlos Gmez 1.

Participation experience When we noticed about dreamhamar network design process led by Ecosistema Urbano to rethink Stortorget Square in Hamar (Norway), we knew we wanted to get involved in this project in any possible way We both are architects and assistant professors concerned with sustainability, gender and participation issues and from the beginning, we were aware it was going to be an important design and social experiment and, simply, we should be close to it. I could join the online workshop PUBLIC SPACE AND PEOPLE conducted by Andres Walliser from Ecosistema Urbano and, finally, we could get involved in the multiple information crosscuts. During the online sessions, a) We have noticed about the existing concern about the daily life space design. In fact, the urban space is usually designed oriented to productive functions (paid work) done by a small group of persons (male, white, rich, young, capable, not immigrantas types) and the reproductive functions (not paid work) -mainly done by all the rest of people typologies - are out of the designers focus. In these online workshops it has been possible to visualize the great awareness on this unfair treatment. b) We have noticed again- about Schools/Faculties of Architecture worldwide are not neutral in spreading design concepts and conceptual tools. We have realized that people from diverse countries speak (and think) in a remarkable similar way, and sometimes we use concepts not sufficiently debated as gender topics or class approach. We understood concepts could evolve from local reality trying to meet diversity or specificity. c) We have also realized the importance of diffusing all the existing knowledge, trying to connect it. The previously proposed local approach should be related to international existing knowledge as a way to innovate, since design (or innovation) only is possible on the evaluation of previous work base. And designing is closely related to democracy. We expect dreamhamar design process to deepen in these aspects. 2. Approach Our basic approach to the place and basic proposal try to understand the Stortorget Square inside a greater ecosystem formed by geography, infrastructures, economic and social forces and people. Obviously, we have not done all the necessary analysis but our position is firmly founded in design as analysis using Denise Scott Brown concepts-, that is to say the design process as a critical approach to the solution that incorporates constant analysis. Our process is still open ended and it should remain in this way. The solution should evolve from the conditions of the ecosystem. So from this starting point, we have seen that Hamar is very well located facing South orientation and the lake Mjsa at the same time. The lake supports a lot of boat harbours and Hamar has two of them; they both are big, with a lot of boats.

Hamar is well connected by road, train and plane. The main road passes by the east of Hamar in SE-NO direction with two fingers entering in Hamar, one of them as far as Stortorget Square, passing by the Church. The train railway seems to be connected to an industrial past and, in part, passes bordering the lake (south part of Hamar) what cuts pedestrian, traffic and views connection to the lake in a great part of the water front. Linked to these ways there are several da-me spaces: and industrial resource, a big railway transfer station, a peripheral commercial zone and the Cemetery. We use the term da-me space employing the da-me architecture concept delivered by Bow-Wow Atelier to name the architecture no one is concerned with as academic and valuable one but that is extremely effective in its objectives. So, naming those zones as da-me spaces we try to focus the attention in the need of transforming these places thought as problems in positive poles of the urban renovation in Hamar, because they contain lessons we could learn. And linked to this way net there are a lot of parking slots. We, coming from a mild weather place, can imagine that with minus 30 degrees in winter time, we would try to park near the place where we are going to, even more if one is going out with children. So, near the commercial areas, urban centre and harbours there are several parking places. We think we could rethink this parking web.

Another question that strikes us is that Hamar gives back to the lake: there is no water front proposal facing it. Only a big sports centre is placed near the lake but the open space around it seems not to be designed enough. The pedestrian and visual connexion to the water is clearly damaged by the railways. Even the small pavilion (actually, dreamhamar venue) gives back to the lake. The harbours and boats users seem not to have enough facilities near them. Besides, we are concerned with the idea of not seeing as many trees and vegetation as we expected in our ideal image of Norway. We dont know if people from there are bored of so much forest and green landscape. For us, from the south, many more trees are needed. Other point we have reflected on is that the urban centre of Hamar, Stortorget Square, being a public space (a place that is not private) is not really a civic one. Only the market acts as a civic place there (where you go to see and be seen, where you can interact with people). This civic part of the space continues through the pedestrian commercial street finishing in Torg Square. When the new Cultural House will be built the civic space will be augmented by adding all the space near the main entrance and even the ground floor of the building (Nolli plan for Rome). It is also surprising for us, the circumstance that even lacking of enough civic space, there is an excessive theatre perspective between the Church and the Pavilion produced by the slope of the square and the position of both. This slope also makes the sight to the lake to be only possible in the highest part of the square.

3. Proposal Our proposal is based in the idea of not doing too much in Stortorget Square, only a few actions as paving, lighting or given vegetation (trees) but relating the square to the whole of Hamar. It is obviously needed a waterfront master plan for Hamar. The railways and the urban face to the lake have to be rethought. The da-me space near the train station has to be integrated in the urban whole. It is needed pedestrian spaces to wait and see the trains and a large etcetera. Another question that was important for us was that we need to get Lake Mjsa sights, so we need to get high points of view. We remembered the project by Brazilian architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha for the Master plan for University of Vigo (Spain) in 2004-2007, where he proposed a plan of elevated ways. That net of ways finished in round buildings that only touched the land with their supports; the intermediate floors were dedicated to parking (helicoidally ramp) and the roof-terrace were dedicated to leisure uses (theatre, conferences, meetings, cocktails, etc) with views to the sea.

We have thought that in Hamar, there is no need of elevated ways. The net of ways already exists, so we could locate in this net, in strategic places, this kind of buildings of mixed use: parking, leisure and views. They should not be very high or very opaque to avoid the lack of long sights at the ground level. These buildings should be surrounded of green spaces, if possible trees or other kind of vegetation from the land. The vegetation should also continue in the fingers that connect the main road with downtown, maybe making a green net or ring in Hamar. We also think that there is the need of focal points to relate the Hamar milestones: one is the Church; another is going to be the highest part of the Cultural House. The pavilion is not visible enough to be this kind of milestone. So we propose a new milestone that focuses to the space behind the pavilion, trying to point to the lake. This structure has to be illuminated by electricity at night and should be a viewing-point; it could also be a billboard. Moreover, It could be completed with virtual projections, in a similar way as Kengo Kuma does in Kirosan Observatory. If we speak about the square design, we think it is not necessary doing many things. We propose to study adequate pavements. A part of the square should remain with the natural slope to let children play with rollers and skates and if it is located in front of the pavilion, it should be used as open theatre when the weather is favourable to that. The effect of the slope

and the pavilion as the back part of the stage should be enough. We could need auxiliary seats, maybe in wood that could be stored in utility rooms in the Cultural House. Other part of the square could be used as open market, maybe with horizontal steps, but this point is not clear. The pavement could be asphalt as now is and we should provide shadow in summer time, so it could be with umbrellas, tents or similar. It has to be provisional and removal. Both parts of the square should be completely equipped with all kind of infrastructure (water, electricity, Wi-Fi, sewer, even heating if possible, public toilets, etc). The third element of the square should be abundant vegetation; we should study the species that best fit for these weather but we bet it is not difficult to select them. If possible the leaves of the trees should fall in autumn, but this point is not still clear for us.

In our experience, the square space is always defined by the surrounding buildings and vegetation. If one does not understand this, the design could end in a kind of decoration (no problem with this) but we could ask for more. In our imagination, the Stortorget Square should be an open ended design with the possibility of many different people using it (different ages, different sex and different class). It is not necessary making too much, only given physical solutions to it, controlling the context that surrounds the space. If people enjoy the place it is going to be a civic space, not only public space