Youth Club, Space for Exploration and Development.

Year: 2022 / Diploma, 1 semester / Supervisor Lina Borström

This thesis explores how a building and its spatial qualities can promote unorganized social activities for young people in Bjerke, Oslo. It highlights the youth club as a contributor to the rising demand for diverse leisure offerings in an area that is expecting massive urban development and extensive growth both in housing and population. 

I grew up in Bjerke and know the area well. As a teenager, I had the opportunity to be part of different youth clubs in the area, both as a youth and as an employee, and have experienced how important it is to have social meeting places where young people can explore and develop skills while having fun. It helps to increase the feeling of togetherness and belonging. In addition, I have participated in discussions about youth centers, both publicly and privately, over several years. This has involved the content, how to reach out to young people, as well as the design of the premises. These experiences have been the guiding principles when designing the building.

Today’s strict building codes require buildings to use climate-neutral and local materials. This implies that we should use building materials differently when constructing new buildings. The impending development of Bjerke, Oslo, involves substantial excavation works. This thesis wonders whether these excavated masses can be used as building material for a youth club. The point of departure was to design a building that contextually re-frames its urban context while also investigating its materiality and layout. The thesis proposes to build a youth club with rammed earth; that will be a space for social gatherings with little to no predefined activity.

“Earth building is not a rapid construction method – it takes time. However, the material can be found almost anywhere and extracted for very little cost. Soon, material, not time, will be our most precious commodity. Architecture has always maximized whatever time is available. But who knows if time may not soon be abundant rather than in short supply.” – Annette Spiro