Bending modernity

The fundamental idea behind the project’s narrative is that, if radically reinterpreted, the unfinished and failing project of Modernity (of which Oulu University and Kaijonharju district represent a physical application) becomes the platform for new developments. Bending Modernity envisions a city that does not deny its nature and uses its heritage. The project transforms the in-between space of Kaijonharju-Linnanmaa in a creative archipelago of building compounds plunged in the forest and crossed by tortuous pedestrian-bike paths. The first Bending action tackles mobility. A traffic-calmed area is established (the “ring road” reconnecting Tellervontie to Kalevalantie) while ground parking are dismissed in favour of multi-storey hybrid parking. People should change their perception of what parking lots are, because once condensed and mixed with different programs they can be transformed into activators for social gathering and, fundamentally, an elevated public space. In this context, Yliopistokatu as lightrail boulevard strengthen the public dimension of mobility: a “urban promenade “ that generates values to the area, not only a point to point connection. The parasitic architecture of the project is simple: two tower-modules and a multi-storey parking that infill the existing urban structure to create “urban cells”, enhancing the hybrid use of space. Adaptability to the arrhythmical mutation of usage over time to create relationships with the local urban environment, integrating shared spaces and interacting with the larger context of Oulu. The theme of production comes under the notion of proximity: craftsmen, small traders, service providers, coders and makers will develop synergies thanks to a work-oriented habitat. Bending modernity, space becomes production in itself: a continuos interaction of porticos (the software), courtyards (the hardware) and towers (the os). The renovation of the campus buildings supports the generation of new economic dynamics: they become low cost spaces housing starters and startups. At the heart of all compounds lays the productive courtyard – open floor with high mix of workshops, ateliers, services and commercial spaces. It is the contemporary interpretation of the factory, where the hardware of the new economy is created. The productive portico, a space of exchange and discussion, of wireless connections and human-powered energy production complements the courtyards (the contemporary translation of office spaces).