Memorial and Learning Centre

Nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award 2017.

Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Are Carlsen

In the wake of the terrorist attacks on Utøya 22 July 2011, Erlend Blakstad Haffner was engaged to create a strategy for the re-establishing of a political camp on the island, in close relation to the Labour Youth Party.  The ambition was to reflect and reinforce values such as commitment, solidarity, diversity and democracy, both through form and function. In short we have done this by establishing a small village with small streets, belfry and a town square on the very top of the island.
The village consists of many small units that together ad up to a bigger community: A symbol of unity and diversity.  Utøya is all about dedication, unity, diversity and democracy. Our ambition was to reflect and strengthen these values, both in function and form.

Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Are Carlsen

Standing up for democracy, diversity and the freedom of speech can come at a high price. But violence, threats and hate can only be met by knowledge, debate and tolerance, both as individuals and as a society. Extremists must not be allowed to dictate how we use our freedom of speech, or to make our societies less open and more intolerant. The battle for freedom and justice, human rights, freedom of speech and democracy concerns all of us, regardless of where in the world we live.
With this as a guiding principle, we have designed the new buildings to make Utøya an important international symbol for democracy and free speech. New generations of young people from all over the world will visit the island and through exchanging stories, experiences and practical knowledge be better equipped to stand up against and defend these essential rights that are important for any society.

Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Are Carlsen

For more than 60 years, Utøya has been Norways most important campsite, and has had enormous value for AUF and the young parts of the labour and trade union movement. The island has been a meeting point where engaged youth come together for a political workshop, and for culture, sports, friendship and love. These were the ideals that were attacked on 22.7.11. When we now return to Utøya, it is important to commemorate those who lost their lives that fatal day. Through telling their stories and showing how they lived and what they believed in, AUF will honour the memory of those who were lost on 22.7.11. This memory will forever be part of Utøyas identity, and will be important also for future generations of campers. They should be able to create new, positive memories, so that the history of Utøya can continue. Utøya should strike the balance between memory and new life.

Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Are Carlsen

Main square
To accommodate for new activities and democratic debate, we have built new buildings which houses kitchen, dining hall and conference rooms. The new buildings create a square that is a meeting point and a social arena for new generations of campers and other visitors. The new square has roughly the same footprint as the old cafe building, but the new buildings have upgraded facilities that can accommodate up to 240 people. 
The spaces are interconnected and flexible, allowing for different room configurations, to accommodate for groups of all sizes. This is important to ensure that Utøya can be used for many different purposes for many years to come.

Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Are Carlsen

Hegnhuset - Memorial
When we tell the history of Utøya, it is therefore important to tell the whole story. By understanding the light and the dark, the good and the bad, of Utøyas history, future generations can understand the importance of fighting the evil that came to Utøya 22.7.2011.
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter have been working closely with the Labour Youth Party and an international resource group with designing the memorial and learning centre on Utøya. “Hegnhuset” is the most central and important structure for the future use of the island.
The horrific attack on July 22nd left few physical traces on Utøya. The visible ones are found in the cafe building, where 13 people were killed, and many more hurt physically and physiologically for life.
These traces are visible evidence of the atrocities that happened on that day, and carry with them important memories and stories.  
We have kept these traces for the affected families, for those who were there and for the Norwegian people who have stood together with AUF in the mourning. And kept these traces for posterity, so that new generations can learn and take responsibility for safeguarding our democracy.   This is the ambition with the new building “Hegnhuset”.  We have designed a building that honour the areas of the building directly affected by the massacre, but also preserve those parts of the building that created a safe hiding place on the 22nd of July.    

Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Are Carlsen

The central concept is to remove those parts of the building that are not central to preserving the memories of July 22. We "protected" areas of small and large assembly halls where there were 13 casualties and the restrooms where 19 survived. Over this remains of the cafe building we added a second building envelope as a protective cover.
The new building body was laid in a distorted angle. in the same axis as the other new buildings we are erecting on Utøya on the main square. It represents and clarifies shift, a new historical layer and a new chapter on the islands history.
69 pillars of wood support the building’s roof. These represent those who died on July 22. The columns have bodily dimensions and stand together as 69 characters that create the interior space.
Around these 69 columns there are 495 outer poles, which creates a fence around the interior and by number representing the people who survived the tragedy on Utøya and who carry the thoughts and memories of this day for the rest of their lives.   

Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Are Carlsen

The zone between the 69 inner pillars and outer fence creates a cloister. The outer fencing shields the interior of the preserved part of the building. They filter the entry into the building through a charged spatial sequence. The cloister is open between each pillar in the fence for visibility and transparency. But it is also a fence with direction and reticence and clear entries and exits, one feels trapped in the building's symbolic constituents. Entrenched but seemingly free.  Openings to the outside are constant but the way there, in and out, is difficult to find immediately. Openings are placed randomly. This choice is made to emphasise the chance in the choices that were made the 22nd of July and to give the answers were not getting. From the cloister there are 5 different entrances to the building to give fluidity in the movement and to exclude the feeling of being enclosed.
The interior of the old cafe building houses the affected parts of the cafe building and a learning and information area with specific and personal content from Utøya.  Between the floors of the old cafe building and the new areas surrounding the old structure. The old main staircase makes a visual link between memories from 22 July and the dissemination zone around the old building.

Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Are Carlsen

Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Are Carlsen
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Are Carlsen
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Are Carlsen
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Are Carlsen
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Are Carlsen
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Are Carlsen
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter · Memorial and Learning Centre
Blakstad Haffner Arkitekter
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