Woman in colourful jacket standing on shelf system
Photo: Nasjonalmuseet / Chiara Masiero Sgrinzatto, Luca Nicolò Vascon
  • 22 May–21 November 2021
  • International – Online exhibiton

What are you willing to share with others? This question is the starting point for the exhibition What We Share: A Model for Co-living with the architectural firm Helen & Hard. The exhibition is curated by the National Museum, which in 2021 is responsible for the Nordic pavilion during the Venice Biennale of Architecture.

This main theme of this year's biennale is How will we live together? and deals with how architects can create new communities. 

In Venice the National Museum and Helen & Hard address the biennale's main theme with a completely new project designed especially for the Nordic pavilion. Helen & Hard invited a group of people to work with the architects to develop a cohousing project with a number of shared functions. All the residents were asked how much they were willing to share with their neighbours. The installation shows how collaboration and spatial design can create both a community and a sustainable living environment.

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Explore the exhibition in 3D

Navigate by dragging the view around, and by clicking on the arrows in the exhibition. With a smartphone you can choose to navigate by motion, or use VR glasses for better immersion.

Enjoy the 3d exhibition in a full screen view

Meet the residents

In Venice, you can move around in a section of the cohousing project that includes communal areas and semi-private sub-zones. Here you can catch a glimpse of the residents' everyday life through a scenography created by film director Pål Jackman and scenographer Nina Bjerch-Andresen.

Here you can get to know the residents and hear their thoughts about life in a cohousing project

A simple and environmentally friendly building system

The exhibition in Venice is made with an innovative building system consisting of elements in solid wood that are connected by dowels (wooden plugs) that can be used to build walls, floor dividers and furniture. They can also be filled with different materials, such as insulation in the walls. 

he advantage of this system compared with glued solid wooden boards is that no glue is used, which makes it more environmentally friendly. It also makes it easier to produce building elements locally using local wood products. In addition, the system is flexible: because the elements are small and manageable, you can build it yourself and make alterations later.

See how the exhibition took form

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Attitudes about sharing more

Norway has a large proportion of single households. A more social form of housing can help counteract loneliness and contribute to increased security. At the same time, sharing space and equipment is better for the environment. Although there are few cohousing communities in Norway, quite a lot of people are interested in more communal forms of living.

Read more about housing models and attitudes to cohousing in Norway

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A personal story from a co-living community

Is cohousing appropriate for people in all life situations, or is it reserved for people with more resources? Artist Anna Ihle is one of the residents who has participated in the development of What we Share. She lives in the cohousing project Vindmøllebakken in Stavanger, which was also designed and developed by Helen & Hard. In the film “Building a bed. Building a home”, made especially for the exhibition in Venice, Ihle reflects on life in a co-living community.