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Europan 13: Bergen

Agosto/2015

El concurso planteaba el desarrollo de la ciudad de Bergen (Noruega), se pretendía dotar a la ciudad de un nuevo barrio al borde del lago con una alta densidad de población.

Componentes del equipo: Raquel Álvarez Arce, Guillermo Santos, Yago Pérez, Nacho Guerrero y Giovanni Olcese

Agradecimientos: Jairo Gurdiel

Norway is currently experimenting a process of rapid growth in its population; the region of Bergen, as the second largest city in Norway, is therefore facing a challenge on how to adapt to the future urbanization needs while avoiding urban sprawl. A new residential model that combines densification, mixed uses and a modern urban culture based on new social structures and relationships is needed. designing with new rules, where the limits of public and private are blurrier and cohabiting is a key word.

The proposal seeks to create a new urban habitat in the new neighborhood of Grønneviksøren. As the architects from the 50s used to advocate, the new urban developments should take into account the design of spaces that encourage relationships among citizens while having the traditional local architecture as a reference; With these ideas in mind, the design pushes to develop a new concept of residential settlement where sharing and co-existing are considered as main guidelines.

The building can be understood as the addition of different levels or layers; This strategy responds to the site’s features: a contaminated soil that should remain untouched for safety environmental reasons and a risk of flooding and sea level rise. These factors entail the location of all residential uses at al least 3,5 mt above the current ground level. As a result, the proposal consists of a platform that separates from the ground and creates two different parts into the project:

On the one hand, there are all the uses located underneath it, “the city”, that is all the commercial areas -located facing the new waterfront promenade-, the new pedestrian connections at the street level, bicycle and cars parking areas, storage rooms and other installations and facilities that serve the upper level necessities.

On the other hand, over this level of 4,5 meters, the bulk of the programatic needs rest on this podium in seven different wooden structure blocks – or communes- whose dimensions and position responds to wind and solar orientation, pedestrian connections and views. The idea of sharing not only public but also private spaces is behind the organization of this buildings, which are composed by several stacking units. The housing modules are conceived as minimum cells that hold the basic housing needs (sleeping, eating, toilet, bathroom) and can be organized in six different basic typologies that hold from one to two bedrooms and distribute the space in different ways. The rest of the everyday needs are shared by all the neighbors. Thus, the limits of one’s home do not match with the physical limits of your private space, but can shift and adapt to meet the changing requirements. In this way, common spaces such as kitchens, laundry, living rooms, dining rooms, guest rooms, study rooms, TV, sauna, storage rooms, etc… are located outside these minimum cells so that they are used and shared by all neighbors.

This planning approach does not only lead to considerable space and money savings, but also, and most specially, improves social contact and cohesion amongst users. These common use areas are located at the extremes of the blocks, facing the main streets or the waterfront, and are distributed according to a proportion of 1 per 30 housing units approximately so that they are close enough to every module. There is also a building destined solely for more specific common uses to be shared by all neighbors, such as library, co-working spaces, gym, non-denominational chapel, disco and party venue, multipurpose rooms, etc.

All over this platform there is also a wide variety of outdoor semi-public spaces and pedestrian itineraries that interconnect the different sides of the site; through several stars and a walkway, the cemetery and the water side park are linked. This podium is also provided with cycling lanes, playgrounds, green areas and holes in the pavement that enable illumination and ventilation of the spaces placed beneath the slab.

The shape of this podium responds to its context; hence, its borders adapt to its urban surroundings. In such a way, the former industrial building in brick is reused and embraced by the building, generating some quality spaces in between. This existing industrial facility is conceived as a new kindergarten where brick walls and wooden planar truss structures are preserved, providing added value to this service building.

This project provides a lissom and flexible contemporary housing strategy, able to adapt the idea to another sites or future times, thereupon, it is not a single solution to a unique place, but a developable method wherever it would be needed.

Furthermore, this combination of layers pursues a new more sustainable urban development, by means of environmentally friendly ways of building, such an efficient exploitation of the solar energy with extensive glass facades, the using of wooden structures or concentrating the housing facilities in common places.

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