In Transit Studio

Håvard Breivik-Khan and Tone Selmer-Olsen

How do mobility and migration inform the way we shape our cities? How can the design of social infrastructure and new ways of living contribute to diverse, tolerant, and inclusive neighborhoods? How can we plan for and facilitate social life in our communities?

In Transit is a design studio, founded in 2016 at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design for architecture and urbanism students from all over the world, that is devoted to collaborative knowledge production on the subjects of displacement, urbanization, and space. The studio explores mobility and migration in the age of urbanization, proposing local, spatial, and site-specific solutions. The aim of the studio is to develop a variety of residential forms that consider different lengths of stay, models of ownership, cultural backgrounds, and immigration statuses, promoting social infrastructure through easily accessible common and public spaces.


David Kelly, Athens, Greece, 2016

This project investigates the possibility of inhabiting abandoned concrete structures, rehabilitating the scars of economic collapse to provide homes to unhoused Greeks and to refugees. There are an estimated three hundred thousand empty, unfinished, or abandoned structures in Athens alone, relics of the 2007–08 financial crisis. Housing refugees in these structures is an opportunity to reinvigorate the communal and economic situations within struggling communities at a microscale.


Kaja Strand Ellingsen, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2018

This plan proposes a strategy for resettling refugees currently living in temporary camps outside the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki by moving them into the city center, providing opportunities for employment and cultural integration and supporting and revitalizing a neighborhood in need of upgrading. There are a large number of decaying and vacant buildings in Xirokrini, a multicultural neighborhood in western Thessaloniki. Their empty ground floors and the other unused spaces in the neighborhood present an opportunity to be transformed into common structures for current and future citizens. This project proposes a scalable urban and structural strategy that rethinks public spaces by opening up the ground floors of all the buildings in the neighborhood.


Kevin Benny Kuriakose, Victor Carpintero Ferran, and Heini Hiukka, Oslo, Norway, 2016

Many reception centers for asylum seekers are located in remote areas, secluded from their surroundings and far from urban centers, commercial offerings, and public life. Growing Tøyen—an urban strategy for a neighborhood in Oslo—proposes a different kind of reception facility, with a design that ensures a high degree of livability while maintaining the capacity to accommodate many people with short notice. It was important that the design combine temporary and permanent housing for new arrivals with interventions that would be attractive for the entire Tøyen neighborhood. The project incorporates the needs of the existing population, with safe public spaces and low-threshold recreational and cultural offerings.


Ingrid Hove Viljoen and Olav Bog Vikane, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2018

The markets of Thessaloniki are key to the identity of the city: they are where local residents, tourists, and newcomers meet, exchanging goods and sharing ideas. The 2007–09 global financial crisis devastated these local markets along with the Greek economy, and many booths remain empty and unused. This project involves the design of a new type of marketplace: an entrepreneurship hub. This distribution and production center combines workspaces with residential apartments, creating a platform where everyone in the community, including new arrivals, may build new skills, acquire knowledge, and produce and participate in the economy.

Håvard Breivik-Khan

Håvard Breivik-Khan is an architect and researcher. He is a cofounder of and teacher at the In Transit Studio at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design.

Tone Selmer-Olsen

Tone Selmer-Olsen is an architect, researcher, and assistant professor at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. She is a cofounder of and teacher at the In Transit Studio at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design.

A gray and white line rendering of Athens’s city topography with a gridded aerial view at top right and statistics noting “300,000 estimated empty, abandoned and unfinished buildings [Athens]” and “495,000 potential refugees and asylum seekers arriving [Greece]”.

Unfinished Athens. The design facilitates construction by inhabitants, beginning with a prefabricated kitchen and bathroom cores, along with integrated infrastructure such as water and electricity. Drawing by David Kelly, 2016. © David Kelly.

A side profile of a square building rendered in black and white against a gray background. Annotations around and below the building indicate each space’s use.

Structures for Current and Potential Citizens of Thessaloniki. A new steel support system structurally improves the decaying buildings and activates unused spaces to create new live/work apartments and common areas for new arrivals. Drawing by Kaja Strand Ellingson, 2018. © Kaja Strand Ellingson.

Green lawns and trees fill a sunlight, terrace-like space under a glass greenhouse roof with boxy buildings in the background.

Growing Tøyen. A large greenhouse with public functions and temporary accommodation units is equipped with infrastructure and integrated furniture. The greenhouse provides a physical framework in which the living units can be installed according to the fluctuating needs and quantity of arrivals. At the same time, the permanent structure functions as a meeting place for neighborhood residents year-round. Drawing by Kevin Benny Kuriakose, Victor Carpintero Ferran, and Heini Hiukka, 2016. © Kevin Benny Kuriakose, Victor Carpintero Ferran, and Heini Hiukka.

An isometric view of an 11-story building on an urban street with two cut-outs, denoted with black lines, that show figures working within the building’s interior.

Entrepreneurship Hub for All. The hub includes a basement for storage, a ground-floor distribution space, second-floor classrooms, and production and workshop spaces in every living unit throughout the building. Drawing by Ingrid Hove Viljoen and Olav Bog Vikan, 2018. © Ingrid Hove Viljoen and Olav Bog Vikan.