Granfos Out of the woods

Project information
Location
Oslo
Client
Mustad Eiendom
Year
2014

Project contact

Never before have countryside and city been so tightly entwined as in Mad arkitekters centre plan for Granfoss.

Where did you grow up? Could you stroll over to the baker to buy some fresh focaccia for your Sunday brunch? Or did you have a beautiful fishing river within walking distance? We would guess that quite a few can tick off one option. Almost none for both of them.

It says something about both the habits the Norwegian woman and man used to have, and what kind of settlements we built as a result.

No more this or that

The village was the village, and if you wanted to have access to beautiful scenery, the price you had to pay was a neighbourhood where you saw other people in church or at the store. The city was the other hand a place reserved for urban activity, associated with a few selected downtown areas. We are talking hard concrete, fierce traffic, a hectic work life and a city culture whose identity was a direct contrast to the farmlands.

And then there is of course a large landscape between, with terraced houses and residential areas.

However now, these categories and impressions are under threat.

When we worked out a plan for urban development of Mustad’s industrial areas at Granfoss along the river Lysakerelva, we soon discovered that the distinction between the dense city and the closeness to natural qualities are not only gone – these former contrasts are something that can be combined, creating a housing environment that is at the very border at what one thought was possible.

"Hard concrete, fierce traffic, a hectic work life and a city culture whose identity was a direct contrast to the farmlands"

Oslo og Akershus closer together

That is, at the very border of the county of what one thought was possible. For when we redesigned Granfoss to a dense urban centre, it wasn’t only about the place itself, but how the counties Oslo and Akershus are no longer thought of as a modern city on one side on the map, and a slumbering residential area on the other.

For a long time, politicians and experts have talked about how these unnatural divisions can be downsized. But until they find a good answer, the challenge is best solved through individual projects.

And we at Mad architects believe Granfoss does just that. Axes, bridges and public spaces connect the areas on both sides of the Lysakerelva, and thus unite Oslo and Bærum counties.

What is good city centre development?

With a strong awareness of the various scales across all buildings and public spaces, we have designed a proposal for a city centre development where both residents and employees will experience how good neighbourhoods, vibrant streets and scenic surroundings melt together without one dismissing the other. On the contrary, the different elements contribute to strengthen each other and the overall experience.

For what is urban centre development really about in 2015?

We believe the answer is quite simple. It is about creating places where it is nice to be. And fortunately this ideal goes hand in hand with demands for the environment and sustainability. And not the least, it matches with the ongoing trend that people want to live in the cities.

"For what is urban centre development really about in 2015?"

Focaccia and fly fishing

Granfoss could have been developed as a pure residential area. Just as there had been no problem creating a complete industrial park which would work just fine. However, we believe this would have been wasted opportunities. Workplaces and housing in combination has shown to create the environment where it is best to both live and to work.

With this in mind, we have tried to create a project that challenges the conventions for meeting the requirements Norwegians demand for their environment today. Focaccia and fly fishing does not need to exclude each other.

And we are proud to present our vision for the future Norwegian city of Granfoss.

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