Diploma 2015: "A SIMPLE LIFE" by Cihang Wang

A synthetic market on the roof of a parking garage in the city center of Bergen

This diploma project seeks to explore the potential of an old and generic urban place- Market, on how it can serve as a social energy generator, to revive the public life with community identity, where every individual share their unity under common roof and also express their difference freely.

Traditional markets used to be the most important public places in cities around the world. It was a place where people exchange goods and socialize. Today many of these markets and the people involved become memories. The role of traditional markets in everyday life is replaced by supermarkets and shopping malls, the way of buying and selling has also been changed. It seems on the surface the change is caused by human nature that seeks profit and efficiency. However, what is the change in essence? What qualities in a traditional market have lost? By proposing a new marketplace on the roof of Bygarasjen (a large size 3-floor parking garage with a bus station on the ground floor) in a city with a long and once prosperous market tradition, this diploma project tries to offer an answer to these questions.

The idea of making the market is prior to the choice of site, I started this project with a look into different dimensions of markets, including a study of the fish market in Bergen, followed with an uncommon study trip, while I went back to the small town in suburban Chengdu, China, where I grew up, and tried to reconstruct the market in my childhood memory. This memory is also the trigger for making this project and a key inspiration.

What is the biggest difference between a traditional market and a supermarket? As I am seeing, one important factor is: the disappearing of sellers. The cashiers in the supermarkets are not sellers, they are employees. A seller can describe the details of where and how of their products, what’s more, many of them are very happy to discuss the sunny weather with you after one month of rainy day. While a conversation with a cashier in a supermarket in Norway can be summed up as: Poser? Ja, takk! Betaling? Nei, takk!

The main concept of the market is not a market for the customers, but a market for the sellers (the customers are of course considered). With inspiration from the research in different markets and the “figure ground ” map of Rome made by Nolli and Piranesi, a shared spaces is considered for the sellers, which can be seen as courtyard surrounded by residential block in the cities, it’s a more private place connected with the public places and shared by the sellers.

The physical project can be understood in three parts:

1, The water ground, the existing function as Bybanen stop and Bus station is kept, a canal and sunken public pathways are introduced to relink the place to the urban fabric of the city and the waters.

2, The light wells, vertical connection between ground and roof consists of openings on the floor and stairs, which brings light to the dark ground.

3, The mountain ground, a roofed market on the roof of the parking garage, with open view to the mountains and from the mountains. Referring to the close tied between people of Bergen and the mountains as a tradition.


The exhibition space


Drawing of markets from childhood memory


Side view of the 1:200 model, showing the vertical connections and the roof


interior rendering looking to the main market hall


the 1:50 model showing shared space


model and hand drawing showing the market hall and shared spaces