(Re)unite – Transformation of an industrial heritage structure in Longyearbyen
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Taubanesentralen (the ropeway hub) is a listed monument situated in Longyearbyen, conveying the history of a coal mining community in the Arctic. It was constructed in the late 1950s and used to transport kibbles with coal from the mines in the mountains where it was collected and passed on to the port and out to the world. The industry was in many ways constructed around the ropeway hub. Taubanesentralen is a purely practical installation, most likely shaped without thought for the esthetics. The colossal ropeway dominated the cityscape like a wild and untamed animal, it was the beating heart of the coal mining industry. After the ropeway was replaced with trucks in the late 1970s, the building went from being an instrument for the industry, to a symbol of history. Together with the ropeway, the kibbles and supporting structures in the landscape, the ropeway hub was a clear symbol of the coal mining industry, even after it was operational. But over the years, the ropeway, kibbles and supporting structures slowly fell into ruins, and Taubanesentralen was disconnected from its own past. It became a monument completely disengaged from its original function, and people’s ownership of the building withered. Our vision is that our proposal will make Taubanesentralen accessible again, but also create a building that the inhabitants and tourists want to use, now and for the future. Through interventions we aspire towards affiliation, facilitation for inherent use, curiosity and connection between the building and the inhabitants. Our goal is that Taubanesentralen belongs to the future, while at the same time confronts its fundamental and important past. Taubanesentralen should be something the Svalbardians should be proud of.