Industrial design students got the opportunity to change the life of inhabitants at Ammerud (a suburb of Oslo) by completely transforming a place people avoid to a place people love spending time.
The Municipality of Oslo wanted to increase the use of the pathway system, focusing on activity, safety and pride. The area has several dark pathways and underpasses people avoid due to their creepy reputation. One of the worst spots is a 30 meters long underpass - completely dark and used as a shelter for murky trading. The size of the underpass makes the potential of it so much greater than to just leave it as an underpass. Paying attention to the wishes and opinions of the inhabitants the design is locally rooted in the area and people itself.
The solution is “Tunnelen” (“The tunnel”), an underpass of activities, which also function as a social meeting point. Among the features you will find a climbing wall, Norway’s longest monkey bar and a creative exercise area.
Mikkel Brandt Bugge
Asveig Marie Jellestad
Overview of "Tunnelen"Winter and summer illustration of the concept “Tunnelen” (“The tunnel”.) Counstruction finishing in june 2015.
Illuminating lineClimbing wall with an illuminating line representing the history of Ammerud.
100 yearsThe illuminating line represents the amount of inhabitants through 100 years.
Monkey-barNorway’s longest monkey-bar hanging from the ceiling and a big blackboard for creative expression.
"Tunnelen" top"Tunnelen" seen with and without the existing roof and walls.
"Tunnelen""Tunnelen" seen without the existing roof and walls.
User drivenTogether with the inhabitants, the designers brought light and life to the tunnel as a teaser project.
Dark and scaryThe tunnel is today dark and scary. The design project will bring light, colour and life to the tunnel when construction finishes in june 2015.
BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF SOLUTION
At Ammerud, a suburb area of Oslo, there are several dark pathways and underpasses people avoid because they are too creepy. Oslo Municipality wanted the residents to use the pathway system more and our project should focus on: activity, confidence and pride.
Research led us to the biggest and scariest tunnel, changing it from being a place people avoid to being a place people want to spend time. “Tunnelen” is a social meeting point with a climbing wall, fitness area, Norway's longest monkey bar, a large blackboard for creative expression and mirror wall for dance and other activities. Roots to the local community is expressed throughout the illuminating line that winds the history of Ammerud through the climbing wall.
The municipality had a budget of 500 000 NOK, with the possibility of extension by a strong design delivery. In the end, “Tunnelen” got sponsored by 1.8 million NOK in support by the Oslo Municipality. Also, the project won The Social Innovation Award sponsored by Norwegian Form, and attended PechaKucha at DogA (The Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture). The construction of “Tunnelen” is planned to finish in 2015.
THE INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER'S PERSPECTIVE:
In addition to looking at the traditional landscape aspects such as planting and lighting we would do something more: Why should an underpass only be used as an underpass? The population had many needs for the surrounding area, which where considered through the process. The concept is tailored with engaging activities, inspired by our industrial design background. This makes "Tunnelen" not just a lit underpass, but a social meeting point and source of improved public health and joy.
USERS AND LOCAL COMMITMENT:
The residents at Ammerud are mainly older adults and families with children up to teen age. Among their most important wishes and needs are a social meeting point, outdoor gyms and lighting in the underpasses.
This should not become an underpass that could be placed anywhere in the world, it should become the underpass of Ammerud. The illuminating line in the climbing wall is the strongest visual symbol of local roots, as it gives an abstract representation of the population growth of Ammerud throughout the last 100 years. The years are marked in the roof so that people can discuss the meaning of them when walking by. By the year 1960 the illuminating line "explodes" to many new branches and represents the shift from farmland to high-rises.
PRIDE AND IDENTITY
Ammerud has a somewhat "shabby" reputation. Together with the municipality of Oslo, we wanted to give people something to be proud of. Therefore, warm bright colors are included together with the main attraction: Norway's longest monkey bar, 30 meters with bars winding its way through the underpass.
The visual expression gives the place its own identity. By "branding" the place "Tunnelen" the idea is to bring the concept into the everyday speech. The goal is to create a natural meeting point for evening walks and workouts.
SAFETY AND LOCAL ENVIRONMENT:
The underpass is previously used for drug dealing and illegal tagging, serving as a whereabouts for those who are struggling. It is an issue to the rest of the population that it does not feel safe to go through such a dark and scary underpass. Even if it is situated on the main road between the subway and the highrises, people take long detours to avoid walking through. Lighting the underpass, and facilitating a social arena, will help the locals claiming back the area.
There has been a desire to discourage illegal graffiti in this area since such activities contribute to insecurity. The Municipality also has plans for a legal graffiti wall somewhere else. The walls of the underpass will therefor have three-dimensional surfaces designed to not tempt people to paint them.
The specially designed LED luminaires in the roof provide functional lighting on the pathway and indirect light reflecting from the ceiling. The illuminating line on the climbing wall serves as a light installation that "follows you" home and contains an abstract narrative about the history of Ammerud.
Ammerud has many engaged youths involved in dance, whom need a place to show off. The large mirror wall can be used for dance exercises and give young people a platform for expression.
"Tunnelen" will open up the nice hiking pathway along the river Alna, which today is blocked by illegal activities in the underpass.
All luminaires are LED based, which can ensure a lifetime of 30 years. Rubber bark on ground provide excellent safety surfacing all year round, while common bark would need continuous replenishing to satisfy the same requirements. These initiatives save the environment, ensuring year-round use and gives Oslo municipality low maintenance costs.
The municipality's plan on public health fits very well with the residents’ wishes for outdoor gyms. Other existing solutions are too large and have almost exclusively expert exercises. The customized multifunction area of “Tunnelen” is mainly for the common resident as well as the expert - Designed for a universal audience.
In addition offering an engaging climbing wall and a monkey bar “Tunnelen” contribute with outdoor activities for everyone, whether you like physical challenges, creativity or just to stroll through a splash of color on your daily walk.
(The video is made together with the inhabitants, as a way of including and engaging them in the project. It shows how light and social activities can bring back life to the tunnel)