2023 Popular Choice Winner of Architizer A+Awards
ASAS arkitektur introduces a new student housing project, built to replace existing housing at Toneheim Folkehøgskole, just outside the city of Hamar, Norway. The small wooden village has been erected around a common yard, which is a Norwegian traditional typology called “tun”. The new village-like structure is vernacular and deeply rooted in the site and history.
The idea behind the structure is one simple building block, repeated and varied according to its placement on the site and its orientation. Through this principle, the terrain is left mostly as is, with every building block given an accessible entrance. Each building block consists of five 2-person bedrooms, a common room with a kitchen and lounge, and bathroom facilities. The common rooms and the entrance zones are all oriented towards the common yard. Every student passes the common room on their way in and out of the building, which stimulates interaction between students. The 2-person rooms put restrictions on the amount of private space, encouraging students to interact with each other in the common areas.
Flexibility and efficiency
The plan is compact, with efficient buildings in terms of space, energy, and economics. The flexible bedroom plans can be furnished in a multitude of ways, and are also wheelchair accessible.
Multipurpose stair tower
The stairs are integrated into the common room and create a smaller, more private space within the common room. In these small, intimate rooms, students can read or make telephone calls. Spaces that the stairs create establish connections between private and social spaces, as well as connections between the interior and exterior. The stair tower is also an important internal and external element in terms of the shape of the house, and an important environmental element, with skylights in the stairwell contributing a generous shower of daylight along the walls.
The common rooms are all oriented towards the new common yard. To ensure that the big, open space functions well, a new in-between zones have been introduced. These smaller spaces are furnished with benches and robust plants, and they connect to walking axes through the area.
Construction and materials
The buildings are made of wood and concrete, with the concrete constructions based on element production to reduce the building time. All buildings are passive houses with mainly wooden, pre-fabricated constructions as primary elements. Massive wood is used for the inner walls and external spruce cladding, providing the buildings with a grey patina as they age.
Environment: climate and energy
The student housing is designed according to the passive house standard. A compact plan and a chained building structure provide smaller facades, thus limiting the loss of heat from the building blocks. All windows have very low U-values and can also work as sun catchers for heat at the time of day and year when it is feasible.
Based in the Norwegian cities of Hamar and Oslo, ASAS is an established and independent architecture office founded in 1980. The company consists of 20 architects, interior designers, urbanists, graphic designers, and administrative personnel in a nonhierarchical system with a social profile. The firm has earned a reputation as a versatile, playful, and tidy architecture office, with a focus on a healthy working culture. Their mantra is 'precision at all levels'.