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  • Beta Architecture
    studio specialized in
    unbuilt architecture

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Re-Meaning

Transforming traditional industry in urban synergies. Alta, Norway. Europan 14 Norway implementation process. 2018-2019.

Jury remarks:
“The transformation strategy in the project Re-Meaning leaves much of the space at Skiferkaia open, while the sloping terrain between Bossekop and Skiferkaia is densily built with student housing. The project propose a diagonal, overlapping connection between the local center and the harbor. The overall plan at Skiferkaia is convincing. The project proposes to transform the existing buildings at Skiferkaia, and it suggests to add new structures and buildings that together with the existing define the outdoor spaces. The proposed plan with its open, public spaces caters to the seafront. The strategy of transformation leaves room to adapt, and shows a smartness in how it gives the existing buildings a new meaning.

The simplicity of the line drawings throughout the different scales creates on one side a fluent presentation. The drawings highlight the connection between the cores of Bossekop, City and Elvebakken. The proposal shows a good understanding of the local context in adressing the access to the sea and outdoor activitites, as well as the connection to the airport, the university and the city hall.”

Within the urban context of Alta, Bossekop and Skiferkaia have a relevant position as a gateway, accessing the city of Alta from the south of the country by road or exit, accessing through the airport in Elvebakken. In any case, the potential to become an icon of social and economic activities in the urban context of Alta is considerable due to its easy access from the “City”, the only 6 kilometers separating the airport and its unique Access to the sea Facing the Alta Fjord.

These conditions and characteristics inspire the conversion of Skiferkaia and with it, the center of Bossekop, in an experiment of uses and activities, suitable for the economic development of the tourism of the area, research, trade and leisure. Therefore, “Re-Meaning” proposes an urban system that is capable of creating the formal basis for all these uses and activities, that restructures the dispersed urbanism of the area in a forceful way and modify the coastal front of the city, transforming an industrial urban landscape into a public and productive urban landscape, thus becoming a place of easy access for citizens and with a recognizable urban intervention in the landscape of the city and the fjord.

The clear directionality of the architectural intervention is broken by the appearance of two main paths that cross it, a diagonal establishing a direct connection between the center of Bossekop and the sea front and another horizontal linking the resulting free spaces between buildings. This horizontal walk is part of a landscape intervention that connects the most important points of the coast, modifying them in some points in a substantial way and in others, simply acting as a promenade. This line is also essential to understand the connection between the various uses that are proposed in Skiferkaia.

“Re-meaning” is configure new public spaces to re-design architecture. Preserving and reinterpreting pre-existing industrial activities is a key factor in making Skiferkaia a productive and multifunctional front. Combining the activities of Felleskjopet and the agriculture sector with those of the new research center for fishing activities (Strandveien 4) make the eastern part of the Skiferkaia coastline a place that reinterprets and maintains the industrial past. The unloading dock favors the access of ships related to the research center and tectonically modifies the coastal landscape. The formal dialogue between the two buildings is essential for the composition of the public space and its activities.

The project Residential Complex Bossekop (Boligkompleks Bossekop) is the first phase of an urban regeneration plan which is currently under development as a result of the Re-Meaning project, 2nd Prize Europan 14 Norway, Alta in 2017.

The project is part of a global urban strategy with the aim of reassembling the disperse urbanism of the area in a decisive way, modifying the city’s coastline. The intervention consists in the introduction of a series of programatic strips which relate the industrial area in skiferkaia with the urban centre of Bossekop. As a result a complete reactivation of the social dynamism takes place in the city through the insertion of a growing system.

The project Residential Complex Bossekop is part of this growing system, embodying a new program which has been discussed with owners of the site and the urbanism department of Alta. The new program is developed according to the new requirements of the site.

The proposal, the first phase of the urban regeneration plan, is characterized by the insertion of several buildings which rest on a public plinth.

This plinth/podium is made up by a succession of connected platforms which give a solution to the strong slope, connecting thus Bossekop city centre and Skiferakaia and bringing back again the fjord to the citizens. At the same time public functions and parks are placed in this plinth.

The linear buildings behave like light objects, they sit on the platform and are crossed by the pathways at street level.

The clear directionality of the architectural intervention raises the permeability of the complex, allowing also the visual connection through the over level. The position of the buildings, with a north/south orientation, allows the passing dwellings to enjoy natural light throughout the day in the months of light and to look at the fjord from each dwelling.

The housing complex, accessible on the ground floor through an open corridor, is made up of a large number of  housing types. Through a flexible and prefabricated construction system, these typologies are combined in the buildings in spite of the difference in dimensions of each one.