A museum in Norway is experimenting with coliving

·3-min read
The exhibition "NEIGHBOUR: How Can We Live Together?" addresses the issues of collective living.

If you've ever dreamed of spending a night in a museum, you're surely not alone. Soon, some visitors to the KODE Art Museum in Bergen, Norway, will be able to enjoy the experience through the exhibition "NEIGHBOUR: How Can We Live Together?" The cultural institution is transforming its galleries into a coliving space in order to promote the principle of collective habitats.

How can people live together collectively? This is the question that public authorities have been asking themselves in recent years, whether in France, the United Kingdom or Norway. The KODE art museum in Bergen has decided to devote an entire exhibition to this theme, called "NEIGHBOUR: How Can We Live Together?" . It addresses the issues of living in group settings and puts forward a new way of building community through sharing and collaboration.

At the center of the exhibition is a revisited version of "What We Share: A Model for Cohousing," an installation that was on display in the Nordic Pavilion during the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale. It was inspired by Vindmøllebakken, a coliving residence that architecture firm Helen & Hard built in Stavanger in 2019. The concept was to provide fully equipped individual housing in tandem with many common areas to encourage interaction between various residents with diverse backgrounds.

The KODE art museum's installation goes even further than the Vindmøllebakken project. The architects asked themselves how they could restructure the different living spaces, private and communal, in such a way as to bring together occupants. "We're trying to counteract the idea that living collectively is about removing freedom," explained the curator of the "NEIGHBOUR" exhibition Sindre Nordås Viulsrød, to The Art Newspaper. That's why some of the residents of Vindmøllebakken will be invited to live (and sleep) at the KODE art museum in Bergen, in the new version of the installation "What We Share: A Model for Cohousing."

The rise of coliving

Other visitors will be able to enjoy a number of community structures outside the museum, such as a library and a wooden bar. KODE's atrium will also be reconfigured as a forum to host discussions on the future of architecture in Norway as well as community events and various festivities, according to The Art Newspaper.

The exhibition "NEIGHBOUR: How Can We Live Together?" comes at a time when many architects are beginning to imagine post-Covid urbanism. Coliving is increasingly appealing to young workers looking for flexibility . This communal way of life also responds to more prosaic needs: loneliness, an increasing number of singles, the lack of available apartments for roommates in big cities and skyrocketing rents . Phenomena that have been reinforced by the pandemic

As a result many real estate developers and start-ups are rushing into this market, which is still currently in its infancy. Although coliving is the subject of various experiments in Europe and the United States, this type of housing remains quite marginal compared to other forms. But there's no denying that the pandemic has restored the appeal of community living.

Caroline Drzewinski

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