The map below shows Utoya Island in relation to the government building in Oslo. Anders Behring Breivik first detonated a car-bomb in front of the government building, and then traveled 19 miles to Lake Tyrifjorden where he boarded a ferry to Utoya Island dressed as a police officer. Once on the Island Breivik began a killing spree that lasted nearly an hour and a half. The two attacks totaled seventy-seven casualties, sixty-nine of which were children at the youth camp on Utoya Island.
Landscape Imbued with Meaning
This text documents the beginning studies of a thesis which began with a broad interest in architecture and landscape, and which found a focus on meaning in architecture and landscape. Through initial research regarding the topic of site and landscape design came a realization of an interest in meaning embodied in the dialog between architecture and landscape. Therefore, the work produced begins purely as a study of landscape before shifting to focus on meaning. It should be recognized that the new focus does not disregard the previous work around landscape; the two are connected and the research in the first is integral to the study of meaning.
Care must be taken to imbue a place with meaning; it cannot be something reused from works of the past. It should be instead a practice which understands the specific place, context, and time in which it is placed. In this way it can gain meaning to those who use the space, a meaning which may not be precisely the one desired by the designer. Through design techniques which embody feelings ranging from sorrow to joy the stage can be set for a place to earn meaning. For an intervention on the landscape to become meaningful one must foster its creation.
Design Probe [Utoya Island, Norway]
The intervention memorializes the massacre in Norway last year by taking the form of the killer’s path. The form emerges from the water, its axis aligned with the location of the killer’s first attack in Oslo. It then snakes along the island, wrapping the two existing buildings the killer passed, and then terminates in the water at the opposite end of the island at the terminus of the attacks. The intervention is composed of two systems symbolic of life and death: one solid and heavy, and another light and transparent. The point at which the two systems meet, the point between life and death, is the location which breaks the intervention and connects the two shores of the island. The transparent system becomes fragmented to represent the uncertainty of life, and is not completely transparent as one cannot always see what lies ahead. The two systems create one coherent whole and overlap each other representing the link between life and death.