Now Streaming: THE ARCHITECT (ARKITEKTEN), We All Need Someplace to Live

Eilie Harboe stars in a modestly brilliant new series from Norway, now streaming on Viaplay.

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Now Streaming: THE ARCHITECT (ARKITEKTEN), We All Need Someplace to Live

Is this space taken?

The Architect (Arkitekten)
The show debuts today on the Viaplay streaming service in Canada and the U.S.. I've seen all four episodes.

When all automobiles are banned in Oslo, Norway, parking garages are left empty, a ripe opportunity for an enterprising squatter.

Julie (Eilie Harboe) is not yet on the streets, but her rent has soared. Unable to secure a mortgage, she needs someplace to live, while she pursues her dream of becoming an architect. She learns of a parking garage that has become a place to live, while the owners remain in California. The aforementioned enterprising squatter has installed curtains around each parking/living space and charges a low monthly rent, which Julie cannot resist.

Created by Nora Landsrød and Kristian Kilde, both students, and co-written and directed by Kerren Lumer-Klabbers, the short-form series (four episodes, each running about 20 minutes) won the "Viaplay Original Talent Awards," according to an official release, "a student initiative that offers a unique opportunity for young Nordic creators to share their work with a global audience and aims to elevate young Scandinavian talent." It's easy to see why.

Taking a delightfully droll approach to a near future where drones walk dogs and public space comes with a price tag -- Julie must purchase a cup of coffee in order to wait for someone in a public square, for one example -- the series makes clever twists on current reality to suggest a near future that awaits. AI is rampant, coldly making snap decisions on loan applications at an ATM; trash cans are incinerators; department store windows are filled with living mannequins walking on treadmills all day.

Gradually, the show deepens beyond surface observations, digging into the root causes of the housing crisis and wage inequality, issues that affect people around the world. It does so with a light touch that nonetheless allows room for thoughtful rumination.

Beyond the crisp and clean appearance of the show, it's the characters that make it work, creating mini-portraits of people who each have relatable motivations for their actions. As portrayed by Eilie Harboe, who convincingly plays Alexander Skargard's director of communications and ex-girlfriend in the recently-concluded Season 4 of Succession, Julie is a person who has good ideas and the steely determination to accomplish them, come what may, even as she recognizes that her actions have consequences that she cannot entirely ignore.

In addition to Julie, who is underemployed as an intern at a prominent architectural firm, there's Kaja (Ingrid Giæver), a living mannequin and activist who is her neighbor in the next parking space; Marcus (Fredrik Stenberg Ditlev-Simonsen), Julie's former beau and a rising architect who is hired at the firm; and Nina (Alexandra Gjerpen), Marcus's current live-in girlfriend, who is desperate to start a family.

The characters are fleshed out quite nicely, especially in view of the brief running time, and are brought to life by the actors. The series runs, in its entirety, just 80 or so minutes, yet it's brilliantly realized and empathetically captures the anxieties and frustrations of people who just want someplace to live, where they can make a personal connection with a living, breathing human being.

Sometimes, we all need a hug.

Now Streaming covers international and indie genre films and TV shows that are available on legal streaming services.


  • Eili Harboe
  • Fredrik Stenberg Ditlev-Simonsen
  • Ingrid Giæver
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Alexandra GjerpenEilie HarboeFredrik Stenberg Ditlev-SimonsenIngrid GiæveNorwayViaplayEili HarboeIngrid GiæverComedy

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