At Geopark, a public play area in the city of Stavanger, Norway's oil capital, redundant material from the petroleum industry is transformed into objects of play. The park's form is based on the topography of a vast underwater natural gas and oil field, called Troll, with bright orange buoys, salvaged pipelines, and recycled drilling platforms forming bike ramps and interactive play spaces, delineated on one side by a wall for graffiti. To inform their design, the architects conducted workshops with community groups, in accordance with the idea that sustainable practices depend not only on materials and building methods but also on a supportive network of industry representatives and regular citizens, children included.
Gallery label from Century of the Child: Growing by Design, 1900–2000, July 29–November 5, 2012.
Helen & Hard designed Geopark in 2008 for the city of Stavanger, Norway’s oil capital. Through workshops with different community youth groups, the firm conceived the park as an experimental, temporary urban space that would transform material from Norway’s petroleum industry into objects of play. The playground itself is a scale model of the oil field, with its topography sculpted from industrial flotsam. Bright orange buoys, salvaged pipelines, recycled drilling platforms turned into bike ramps, interactive play spaces, and a graffiti wall float above the park’s colorful surface like objects in the ocean. The park translates the firm’s belief that fostering encounters between humans, nature, and industry is as important to sustainable practices as using green building methods and materials. Initiated on the occasion of the city’s designation as European Cultural Capital, Geopark offers an alternative view on the country’s booming sovereign wealth. Acclaimed by Stavanger citizens, it became a semipermanent installation.
Gallery label from 9 + 1 Ways of Being Political: 50 Years of Political Stances in Architecture and Urban Design, September 12, 2012–March 25, 2013.