Office building or space for culture?
Stavanger municipality has decided that Nytorget shall be developed as a space for culture. Despite of that are almost all of Nytorget’s cultural institutions threatened by relocation or displacement. The reason: A ‘massive’ office building of 15,000–20,000 sqm will be erected on Nytorget (while 50,000 sqm of office space is already empty in the city center). The building will shade parts of Nytorget. The former police station is under threat of demolition. The police station, housing the youth centre Metropolis and more, is designed by the Stavanger architect Eyvind Retzius (who also designed Kuppelhallen in Bjergsted, Stavanger Museum’s extension, the Aftenbladet building and others) and contains a large mural by Andreas Bøe.
At the moment, Stavanger Utvikling KF is developing a plan for moving Metropolis into the ‘Jugendbygget’, which Rogaland Kunstsenter (RKS) has used since 1981 and which also houses Studio17. Without having an idea for where to move Kunstsenteret and Studio17 instead, and without RKS or Studio17 being involved in the process. Both art institutions are essential resource centres for artists in the region and parts of international networks. Many initiatives that sprung out of RKS and Studio17 have contributed to improving the local environment, and many hours of unpaid work have gone into upgrading Nytorget. The international cultural café located in Vaisenhusgata is obviously not included in the property development plans either.
It will soon be two years since the winning proposal in a closed architectural competition for the office building was presented, and even though Metropolis was included in the winning building proposal, Metropolis suddenly is supposed to move out and displace RKS and Studio17. The wooden houses in Kongsteinsgata and on Nytorget, which the municipality bought in the 2000s for NOK 17 million and which have been decaying since, were to be demolished in the original draft. Actually, it seems as if no one knows exactly what is going to happen, and Stavanger Utvikling KF is not really helpful with clarification either. The first step to citizen involvement and democratic participation is good information, transparency and continuous communication. Although Nytorget must be one of the places in Stavanger where there have been the most participation measures, there is little indication that input and desires from residents, neighbors and interested parties have been followed up.
A Byverksted at Studio17 in week 50 (mainly the weekend December 12/13) will investigate the conditions, ask questions and try to help preserve Nytorget as a space for culture. On December 11 at 10 am, you are invited to a city walk around Nytorget, with former chief architect Per Grimnes and former head of Rogaland Art Center, Berit Wathne. Registration at email@example.com no later than December 10.
Your ideas, your input and your capacity are wanted!
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or drop by (varying opening hours).