The Fantastic Norway project explored the vision of an alternative, inclusive, and socially aware architectural practice. For 10 years a red caravan was the heart and soul of the ambulant studio.

Prior to Vardehaugen, Håkon Matre Aasarød founded Fantastic Norway Architects together with Erlend Blakstad Haffner.

For 10 years (2003-2013) the studio was engaged in building design, mobilization and participation processes, development strategies, writing, and television production.

The primary ambition of the studio was to create an open, inclusive, and socially aware architectural practice and by that contribute to re-establishing the role of the architect as an active participant in – and a builder of society.

Fantastic Norway’s credo was: “Every town is different; every place is in some way fantastic. We aim to embrace this fact and through dialogue transform it into architecture”.

The heart and soul of the studio was a bright red caravan. Combined with media coverage and a variety of essays in the local newspaper, the caravan functioned as a meeting point and a mobile platform for architectural discussions, debates, and workshops.

Fantastic Norway gathered ideas, suggestions, and stories from the communities they worked in and utilized this collected knowledge in the design process. This inclusive way of designing anchored their projects locally and created a personal relationship between the proposed architecture and the people affected by it.

As a supplement to their ambulant practice, Fantastic Norway stimulated broad public awareness of architecture with more than 60 articles and essays in the local newspaper in addition to several spatial installations and stunts. In 2011 the partners Aasarød/Haffner hosted a television series of 6 episodes á 29 min for NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) aiming to arouse a broad public interest and curiosity for the field of architecture and planning.

After 10 exciting years of fantastic adventures, – people and – projects, the caravan was finally parked in 2013 after crossing Europe to be exhibited at the Venice Biennale for the third time.

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The red caravan (2012)

The ambulant studio worked to established a personal relationship between the proposed architecture and the people affected by it.

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Selection of caravan stands and workshops.

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Fantastic Norway wrote more than 60 articles and essays in local newspaper and combined these with caravan stands and spacial installations and stunts.

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Selection of essays in local newspapers

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Article on the Fantastic Norway method (2005)

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News article after shoot-out in Bodø (2008)

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Article on the Venice Biennale (2013)

The primary ambition of the studio was to propose locally anchored projects and then find ways of financing them.

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House of families, Nuuk (2013)

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Rebuilding Utøya (2012)

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Walkin Berlin, Designmai (2007)

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Cardboard Cloud (2009)

After 10 exciting years of fantastic adventures, the red caravan was finally parked in 2013 after being exhibited at the Venice Biennale for the third time.

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The Venice Biennale 2008.

In 2011 Fantastic Norway hosted a television series of 6 episodes for The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.

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In 2011 the partners of Fantastic Norway hosted a television series.