Nordic Countries

Nordic Countries

What We Share. A model for cohousing

Visit our 3D exhibition tour HERE.

In the exhibition "What we share. A model for cohousing", a full-scale section of a cohousing project has been built inside the Nordic pavilion.

The Nordic pavilion is shared between Finland, Sweden and Norway. In 2021, the National Museum of Norway has curatorial responsibility for the Nordic pavilion.


Thursday 23 September

10.30, 11.00 and 12.30

The National Museum of Norway introduces Siv Helene Stangeland, partner and Creative Director, Helen & Hard Architects, in 30 minutes conversations with residents of Vindmøllebakken co-housing project.

11.30 and 13.30
Music by Gebhardt. (Håkon Gebhardt, vocals/guitar, Marì Simonelli, keyboard). Ca. 10 minutes.

Greetings from Johan Vibe, Norways ambassador to Italy
Karin Hindsbo, Director, The National Museum of Norway
Martin Braathen, curator of the exhibition
Official re-opening by Abid Raja, minister of culture and equality
Music by Gebhardt

Friday 24 September

10.30 and 11.00
Siv Helene Stangeland, partner and Creative Director, Helen & Hard Architects and Martin Braathen, senior curator of the National Museum, in conversations about the exhibition. Ca. 30 minutes.

16.00 – 17.00 Story time for children in Italian.

16.30 – 17.00 Story time for children in English.

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The National Museum of Norway, with ArkDes, Sweden's National Centre for Architecture and Designand the Museum of Finnish Architecture as co-commissionerss
Curatorial Team: Martin Braathen, Gudrun Eidsvik, Cathrine Furuholmen, Karianne Ommundsen, Joakim Skajaa
Simen Joachim Helsvig
Nordic Countries
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About the exhibition

At the 17th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale, the Nordic Pavilion is transformed into a full scale section of a solid wood cohousing project, designed by Helen & Hard architects in close collaboration with a group of residents. The exhibition What We Share. A model for cohousing, curated by the National Museum of Norway, presents a framework for designing and building communities based on participation and sharing.

Helen & Hard have cooperated with residents of the practice’s award-winning cohousing project Vindmøllebakken in Stavanger, Norway. At Vindmøllebakken the residents have relatively small but fully equipped apartments, several shared facilities and spaces, and a vibrant local democracy. In the exhibition What we share, the residents have been challenged to develop an even more radical version of cohousing: Which functions or social situations could they move out of their apartments and share with other residents in a common area?

A Nordic Model

What is called the Nordic cohousing model combines owner-occupancy and individual living units with shared facilities and communal participation. The model was developed from the late 1960s onward and has since spread around the world.

The exhibition What we share builds on this cohousing model. It is not a utopian vision, but a real proposal for building apartments, communal spaces and semi-private sharing zones in commercial housing projects. The project implements an innovative open-source solid timber construction system.

Visitors to the Pavilion in Venice will be able to walk through and explore a cross-section of a prototype cohousing project that will include communal and semi-private areas. Initiating a conversation about the social and political aspects of co-living, the exhibition even presents a commissioned video by artist Anna Ihle, who is a resident of Vindmøllebakken.

A comprehensive presentation of the project, with resident interviews, videos and documentation, and other background material, is available to view online.

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Curators and Participants

Helen & Hard

Helen & Hard was founded in 1996 in Stavanger by Norwegian architect Siv Helene Stangeland and Austrian architect Reinhard Kropf. The firm currently employs 26 people and is known for its innovative use of wood and experimental housing projects.

Nordic Collaboration

The Nordic Pavilion in Venice is co owned by Sweden, Finland, and Norway. In 2021, the National Museum of Norway will be in charge of realizing the exhibition, on behalf of commissioners Stina Högkvist at the National Museum, Carina Jaatinen at the Museum of Finnish Architecture and Kieran Long at ArkDes, Sweden's National Centre for Architecture and Design.

The exhibition is supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Nordic Culture Fund.

Exhibition Team

Martin Braathen and Joakim Skajaa, Gudrun Eidsvik and Karianne Ommundsen, and Cathrine Furuholmen, all from the National Museum of Norway, are serving as project curator, curators of education, and project manager, respectively.

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-- Introduction to the exhibition: What We Share. A Model for Cohousing (with english subtitles, please turn the subtitles on when watching).

-- Digital opening The Nordic Pavilion: What we share. A model for cohousing

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Pavilion partners & sponsors

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