Claus Riis’ Gate 2, 0457 Oslo
Location: Arendal, Norway
Status: Sketch phase, Ongoing
Typology: Farming, eco-housing, social sustainability
Area: 59 099 m2
Role: Architect, consultant, workshop-holder
Team: Rikke Winther, Armelle Breuil, Lucien Millet
Environmental approach: Permaculture, reuse, integration of bioclimatic system, self-building strategies
Høyåsen is a hillside forest and agricultural plot just outside Arendal centre in southern Norway.
Throughout the years the area has been used for farming and mining. Today the fields are overgrown and the area is only passed through by hikers and people in the area.
The owners have the vision to bring back the old farming activities based on permaculture principles, as well as making the area a connection point for farming, learning and recreation.
The project explores a model for modern farming and looks at methods for collaboration and farming as a catalyst for community and learning.
The land is planned and prepared in phases over a five year transitional period from start to finish. This is done through workshops and community based activites in collaboration with schools and local actors in the area as a way of initiating community and collaboration.
Seasonal/circular models make the foundation of activities and possible income in the area. The models suggests ways to use the surrounding land and resources to support the liveihood of the young couple and their children throughout the year.
Through these methods, the area is developed as a test-lab for community-driven, circular systems, looking at different ways of planning and living in these specific seasons and environments.
The farming activity is supported by one operational building, three visitor cabins , a café and a sauna, all designed with low-tech systems and ecological materials.
The cabins are designed with self-sustaining, circular systems, dealing with heat, water, wind and sun, using as little energy as possible. Each unique system is utilizing, caring for, and giving back to the specific site and ecosystem it is a part of.
One cabin is design with a water management system that harvest rain water through the roof, providing water for cleaning inside cabin, before it spills back out into it’s surrounding landscape.
Another cabin utilizes existing stone from the site to build a domelike shelter. The rocky and humid site eventually allows for moss, mushrooms and insects to inhabit the exterior walls, and the cabin once again becomes a part of it’s surrounding landscape.
The third cabin utilizes the stems of existing trees as pilars for a treetop house, allowing existing plantlife and animals to roam the landscape underneath.
The intention is to give the visitors the opportunity to experience and practice circular ways of living and to understanding principles in symbiosis with their close environment.
Regenerating the land and bringing back farming to the fields are done through permaculture principles. In essence this means to understand the areas and all it’s inhabitants as a part of one and the same ecosystem. Each inhabitant/intervention is serving many functions. The animals roaming the lands are giving nutrients to the soil, rainwater is used for washing dishes and heat from the animals warm the green house in wintertime. In this way we optimize the use of energy and make sure to always give back to the surroundings.