The identity of places do not appear out of nothing. It is closely connected to the users, narratives and history. A fact that is sometimes forgotten in the development of large areas where there is a huge difference between the hyper-reality, the promise of rendering and the reality the project creates. The focus of this project is the use of “catalysts” in urban transformation, emphasising the role of cultural planning. In recent decades, installations and performances have found their way into urban space. It is used to start critical dialogue and reflection in the intersection between relational art and architecture. This project uses the timeline as a flexible planning tool, where the goal is not to create a fixed master plan but a timeline, which is adaptable to the future. It is a tool to map the activity the urban catalyst creates in an area over time.
Viborg is a middle-sized city from a Danish point of view, situated in central Jutland. It is one of the oldest cities in Denmark giving the city centre a strong identity and narratives. In the central part of Viborg, south of the train station, is an industrial area where the factories are closing down or moving out of the city. The area is an unknown spot for the citizens of Viborg, disconnected from the city centre by the train tracks and without the same strong identity as in the historical city. The municipality has initiated a long development process of the area, but for the transformation to succeed the identity of the area is essential. The area is lacking users, narratives, history and identity.
The artistic intervention is an instant city built of scaffold generating an identity in the area. The intervention, which is transformable and transportable, will start its journey near Remisen that is a spot already known to the citizens of Viborg and move through the area as it is developed. As the intervention travels through the area, it creates a narrative –an identity to the area. The artistic intervention is an image of the city, which through a dialogue with the citizens becomes the city. It consists of the public square, the home, the café, the forest, the lake, playgrounds and areas for leisure such as table tennis, yoga and workshops. Scaffold is a static, strong and reusable system, which adapts to the context and the users. It can easily increase and decrease its size depending on the needs in the area. The users can decorate the scaffold, which gives the area identity and creates a narrative. Scaffold is a material that is associated with the transformative building process. The design of the scaffold is a starting point that through time will transform through a dialogue with the citizens. The scaffold structure will both change its design and its placement. It is a catalyst inspired by ideas from the 60’s; an instant city activating the citizens of Viborg to use the area and to start forming it as their own city.
The following is a guided tour through the scaffold structure (see the visualisation below). From the east a large stair landscape leading to a sitting area. The next thing appearing is an area with a dense forest-like vegetation. The forest ends up in a mirror room where the understanding of dimension vanishes. Next to the forest is a room for playing table tennis. Through the table tennis room, it is possible to reach the stair tower, which makes it possible to enter the next level of the scaffold structure. To the east, the stairs is an area with soft green grass and looking closer an artificial lake appears. To the south is a café in a 20-feet container, where it is possible to enjoy a coffee with a view of the former industrial area. From the café is a narrow path to the home; a greenhouse furnished with a mix of vegetation and intimate, familiar elements of the living room. The next level is above the stair tower and is a view tower, where it is possible to overlook the building process of the high school and the rest of the southern part of Viborg. From the view tower, it is possible to take slide the nine metres down to the ground. At ground level there is a stage for performative art, a large area for parkour performing and an area for all sorts of events such as yoga, workshops and educations. Towards the parking lot, where the future high school is situated, a large area of the scaffolding structure is covered creating the possibility for events such as drive-in cinema. The structure can change as the demands in the area change. A large container city for the workers at the high school building ground can be added at the point they start to build. The structure will not only mix different user groups in Viborg, but also the professional life and spare time.