The park design is based on the sedimentary layers of the oil- and gas reserves in the Troll field, in a 1:500 scale.
Stavanger, the administrative centre of the Norwegian petroleum industry, has during the last 40 years accumulated significant physical and knowledge-based resources around the harvesting, processing and distribution of oil and gas. The urgent challenges of this industry has ignored reflection on a broader application of these resources.
Transferring the resources originally developed for the production of fossil energy to other fields of knowledge, and the engineering of more ecological and humane environments, has been a point of departure for several of Helen & Hard’s projects, including the Geopark.
The Geopark directly applies three different types of resource. First, the industry’s geological and seismic expertise, second, it’s production and handling of technology, materials and waste related to offshore-platforms, and third, the ideas of several youth groups and young individuals for a future park in the city centre.
An interaction between these resource groups and Helen & Hard resulted in a 2500 sq.m. waterfront youth-park and outdoor science centre for the adjacent Norwegian Petroleum Museum.
An initial intention was to give a tangible experience of the oil and gas reservoir ”Troll”, hidden 2000 – 3000 metres below the seabed. The geological strata and associated drilling and production technology, reconstructed in a scale of 1:500, gives the outlines of the primary topography for Geopark.
This “geo-landscape” is further developed in a sequence of playful and empirical steps, and programmed in workshops with youth groups for various activities like biking, climbing, exhibition, concerts, jumping, ball play and “chill-out” areas. The oil layer in the Troll field, with its drilling wells, is represented as a skating park, and the geological folds are reused as exhibition walls for graffiti and street art. The surfaces and installations are reconstructed out of recycled and reshaped elements from the petroleum installations, the abandoned Frigg platform, offshore bases, equipment suppliers and scrap heaps.
The park is thriving. Kids, parents and youngsters are using the park at all hours, turning a formerly abandoned site into a humming social meeting point. Local newspapers, politicians and park users are now fighting to make the park, which was originally planned as temporary, a permanent feature.