Europan invites young architects, urban planners, landscape architects, designers, artists, researchers and students from all over Europe to take part in the great European discourse on urbanism and architecture. Back in January 2009, Europan launched its 10th edition seeking proposals with innovative ideas, developing ambitious urban projects within 62 cities. There was 56 winners among 2,429 entries. We are focusing this post on the winning proposition for an urban development in the city of Oslo by Eriksen Skajaa Architects.
All images by Eriksen Skajaa Architects
Weave, Shuffle, Flip, Intensify….Study area strategy
The main challenges in the study area are the homogenous zones that undermine cross connections and permeability. In the perspective of sustainability and ecology, large areas in the study area are under-utilized. Eriksen Skajaa have developed three main strategies to facilitate a new development in the study area:
The forested paths on Haugerud are places of natural beauty and create a strong sense of place and identity. The proposal extends the network of forested paths through the study area to facilitate interconnections and permeability; both through the new development and through existing homogenous strips like the school area or the social housing.
The architects shuffle the existing program in the study area to enhance the life in the area and intensify the utilization of space. Low quality space will be upgraded through this strategy. Examples could be the colonisation of garden allotments, sports programs found in the middle of housing areas and an activity center in the new development shared by the school. Penetrating these boundaries is an important step in the groundwork for a new identity.
Flip is a strategy for turning the buildings in the area towards the public space. The school buildings and the centre all turn their back on the public space. By creating public spaces the architects also wanted to give them a clear direction. The project removes most of the existing centre and make facades that open up towards the new public space.
Some key points in the study area will be used for more specific program to create specila points of interest. The metro station is already one such point and will be given an upgrade and modern bike parking facilities. The high rise building will be converted into a health/ wellness centre. Public activity centres will be points of special interest to the young and old people that spend time in the area.
Reinventing urbanity. Ecology versus intensity.
The new development on the site is based on sustainable ecological principles and the need for a semi-urban typology that can cater to the dual need of new housing typologies (young/ elderly/ small families) and a restructuring of the local retail economy.
Grid orientation, formal characteristics, facades and construction methods were determined by the German passive house standard. The shaping of the volumes brings light in between the streets and to the solar facades, but it also gives houses individual character. Through this process, a clear urban typology is developed, consisting of a relatively small scale urban unit that is combined in a dense configuration.
The unit can accommodate both the existing and proposed programs such as health and recreation centers. There is flexibility within the modules to develop a wide range of housing solutions ranging from individual houses to blocks of flats.
The ground floors have all been made as flexible as possible so that they can shift between housing and retail functions. Through a high degree of fragmentation Eriksen Skajaa open up possibilities that the large scale existing structures can’t cater to. The architects foresee in the beginning that a few small scale shops could function in the area, but the architects also see that this can be the framework for a development where retail and recreation colonize the entire development. This is the concept they call shuffle.
Another possible outcome is that the area becomes more a housing area and that people continue to do their shopping in the neighboring areas. Eriksen Skajaa create flexibility within the framework of a strong urban typology. Urban intensity in this context means not so much an extreme number of people on a small lot, it means living and working in close proximity to each other and shared public space.
Larger types of public space such as school yards, fields, football pitches and parking lots are abundant in the area, so Eriksen Skajaa have deliberately tried to make the public spaces small enough to generate types of proximity that will be an addition to the whole area. As permeability is a strategy of the project Eriksen Skajaa will add smaller volumes to create a town or Medina with buildings that can easily fit into the fabric with another program. They believe the feeling of the small scale village will strengthen the identity of Haugerud, as well as offering an attraction.
Project: Shuffle - Europan 10 competition
Location: Oslo, Norway
Category: Urban plan and buildings
Status: 1st prize
Size: 15000 m²
Architect: Eriksen Skajaa Architects
Team:Arild Eriksen, Joakim Skajaa