Phd - The Norwegian Winter City

Deadline: 01.03.2023

Oslo School of Architecture and Design

The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) is a specialized university and a leading international architecture and design school that provides education within architecture, landscape architecture, urbanism and design. AHOs fields of knowledge focus on design in all scales; objects, buildings, urban areas and landscaping. AHO is organized into three institutes, and has approx. 800 students and 270 employees.

The Institute of Urbanism and Landscape has a multi-disciplinary approach to education and research within the fields of urbanism and landscape architecture. Particular attention is paid to understanding change and transformation of cities and territories and to developing knowledge in order to enable strategy development and support design interventions in urban situations and landscapes. The institute has a strong international profile, with a well-established network of partner institutions within practice, teaching and research. Education activities comprise the MA in Architecture, MA in Landscape Architecture, MA in Urbanism as well as AHO’s PhD programme.

About the position

The contemporary history of climate-centric architecture and urbanism in the High North:

Global warming has brought the future of Arctic settlements to the forefront of professional and public awareness. However, the design of buildings and cities in the North is no new topic, and the dominant history of Arctic urban architecture is rooted in mid-twentieth-century modernism. Many architects have considered building in the North primarily a technological challenge. They successively reinvented or reinterpreted a set of solutions and conventions about the type of challenge the Arctic represents. These designers and planners formulated solutions concerned with urban microclimates, while the architecture's socio-cultural context and implications received less attention. The danger that architects inadvertently repeat this design agenda calls for analysis of its origin, development history, and contemporary expressions.

While scholars have extensively mapped the architectural history of many other global regions, the modern design practices of the Arctic still need to be studied. Mapping recent practices contributes critical perspectives to contemporary pan-Arctic design. Exploring the roots and trajectories of climate-adapted urban and architectural design also contributes to the critical global discourse on sustainable architecture and urbanism.

The PhD research should explore the intersection between architecture and urban climatology in the Arctic context, focusing on Norway from the mid-twentieth century to today. The project should investigate projects, original sources, or central actors in the emergence, growth, and broader importance of Arctic architectural thinking. This involves mapping important concepts and tracing how ideas were transferred and who proposed and received them. Diverse and often unexplored archives document the contemporary architectural history of the Arctic. In addition, experienced architects and planners in government and private organizations may provide previously unreported evidence about the emergence of climate-centric urbanism and architectural discourse. Methods may include interviews, field studies, and archival research.

The research should focus on Norway but may extend to other Nordic Arctic territories in Sweden, Finland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, and Greenland.

The research should be completed within three years. An additional year of teaching may be added if relevant.

The Oslo Centre for Urbanism and Landscape has a long track record of research on Arctic settlements and landscapes. The supervisor(s) will be Professor Peter Hemmersam, who has published extensively on Arctic urbanism and landscapes.


• The candidate must master a Scandinavian language.

• A master degree in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, history of architecture, or similar.

The application must include:

• An application letter describing relevant background, motivation, research experience and network (two A4 pages maximum).

• A tentative project outline of maximum 5 pages, formulating and discussing research tasks, types of problems, methodology.

• CV

• Certified copies of educational certificates, transcript of records, diplomas

• Examples of work written by the applicant, and/or examples of architecture/urbanism/planning projects by the applicant, with relevance to the research project. Five works maximum

• 2 references (name, relation to candidate, e-mail address and telephone number)

Please note that all documentation must be in English or a Scandinavian language. Applications who do not fulfil the formal requirements will not be considered. Attachments beyond the required documents will not be taken into consideration.

What we assess

• The quality of the project description (outline)

• The applicant's suitability for the research tasks, based on previous practical and academic work.

• The academic competence of the applicant

We offer

The PhD scholarship is fully funded and there is no tuition fee. The salary is NOK 501 200 for a full position, with 3 % increase of the salary each year. From the salary, there will be a mandatory deduction of 2 % as a contribution to the State Pension fund (SPK). Standard employment conditions for state employees in Norway apply for the position.

An annual allowance of 20 000 NOK for literature and other necessary academic activities.

Office space in a professionally stimulating working environment.

Attractive welfare benefits and generous pension agreement, in addition to Oslo’s family-friendly environment with its rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities.

Formal regulations

The educational component in the AHO PhD Programme is mandatory and requires fulltime attendance. Residency in Oslo for the employment period is mandatory. Research stay at a relevant international academic institution is encouraged. The PhD fellowship will start September 1, 2023.

Information meeting

The PhD Programme at The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) will arrange an online information meeting about the AHO PhD Programme on 8 February at 15:00 CET. See http://www.ahophdlive.com more information.

Questions regarding the position should be addressed to Peter Hemmersam(Peter.Hemmersam@aho.no).

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