av Håvard Fadnes og Jostein Gundersen
NELAUG, Sørlandsbanen Gjerstad-Herefoss, Norway

Connecting six villages along Sørlandsbanen.

This project aims to strengthen and revitalize 6 rural villages along the Southern railroad in Norway, Sørlandsbanen. To achieve this, we have constructed a two parted regional strategy. The first part of the strategy is strengthening and using the existing railroad as a connection between the 6 villages. This is possible by providing a local train that operates between the villages. The second part is using architectural intervention to enhance the local resources and strengthen the connection between the village and the railroad. This strategy is based on the paradigm; that a single village is not big enough to sustain a fundamental program, but together they are big enough to function as a small scale city, with the possibility to sustain fundamental programs. We have developed one of these villages as an example of how the regional strategy can be implemented and function in a situation.

We started the diploma with the topic: How is the railroad urbanizing Norway today? To investigate the topic we went on two study trips. The first by train to a wide range of areas along the Norwegian railroad and the second by car to a specific section along the railroad. Our main impression from these study trips is that; Today rural villages are being depopulated and fundamental programs as schools, library, industries, work, etc. are moved to other places. Our reaction was to use the existing railroad as a tool to connect and merge six rural communities to make them able to sustain fundamental programs. For this to function, we provide for a local train, that makes the transportation between the communities possible. And make, or suggest, one architectural intervention that connects the communities to the railroad.