Status: Competition (2015)
Clasification: 1 prize
Location: Os, Norway
Coordinates: 60.184342, 5.471349
Climate: Oceanic / maritime, Temperate
Environments: Urban, Seaside
Scale: 45.000 ㎡ Large
Types: Masterplan, Public space
The municipality of Os is currently facing a major challenge in its history: how to become a new regional and urban centre, while maintaining its own identity. This identity is mainly defined by its suburbia character (70% of households are single-family), in contrast to the nearby urban Bergen, the second most populated city in Norway.
Our proposal for Europan 13 stands up for the idea that this identity should be preserved and enhanced, while it advocates a redefinition of the concept of “suburbia” in the context of a new scenario where its traditional meaning is no valid anymore. The foreseen population growth or the construction of new infrastructures in the area, coupled with the need to conceive our cities in more sustainable terms, urges the exploration of new physical and socio-economic ways of development. Through our proposal we attempt to provide an answer to those emergent conditions by suggesting a shift from ‘SUBURBIA’ to ‘OSURBIA’.
Learning from Os
Our proposal explores the ideas behind the so-called ‘suburbia’ to understand the characteristics that underpin such a distinctive identity and unique way of living. To do so, five elements or types customarily associated with ‘traditional suburbia’ have been identified on the site:
– The single dwelling,
– The parking lot,
– The mall,
– The filling station,
– ‘Suburbia beyond the dwelling’
A sixth type, ‘THE STRIP’, has been defined as the element providing unity and coherence to all the rest.
By exploring the characteristics traditionally associated to these elements, the project aims at understanding the complex symbolism behind the simple forms that form those types. Thereafter, the project seeks re-appropriating these complexities to produce new meanings, while maintaining its associated symbolism.
Existing elements in Os, such as the old train station and the hall for wagons, have been preserved and redefined to adapt to new uses (i.e. art gallery, workshop and exhibition spaces); as a consequence, they have become a fundamental part of Os’ history, landscape and identity. Likewise, our proposal considers the six elements identified above as an asset rather than constrain; in order to generate unusual meaning within a recognizable architecture.
Those elements are re-appropriated and re-defined within the frame of an overall urban strategy that provides unity, not only among these elements, but to the whole urban set (i.e. the existing commercial centre, the area around the Oseana culture house, existing areas of single family houses, etc).