Kabelgaten Urban masterclass at Økern
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From farmland to factory to city: With the Kabelgaten project MAD architects lets three layers of Norwegian history merge into the next-generation city centre.
For those who haven’t guessed yet: The Norwegian society stands with both feet in the middle of a third wave in our common evolutionary history. The first was Norway as a rural nation, followed by the great industrialization. The third, which hasn’t been given a proper name yet, include words like “the green shift”, ” the knowledge society” and ” the creative class”. Merge these three together, and we start to approach something.
Oslo flourish with projects where industry become urban city areas. From Nydalen to Vulkan to the Fjord city – old factories are brought to new life in a new economy, with varying degrees of emphasis on historical heritage.
Cross section of history
In Kabelgaten at Økern the situation is entirely different. Not only is the industrial heritage extraordinarily visible and consistent, which can be brought to the next level, but there is also a clear layer of agriculture that makes the site an explicit cross section of Norwegian history.
We in Mad are very pleased be able to contribute to the third wave of social development that appears here in a way that both honours the forerunners and provide a new project demonstrating the level of development and urban understanding we have gained up until 2016.
The character of the street does not change, but is rather enhanced into a vital part of the new Hovin City, Oslo’s largest urban development project ever.
The immediate city
When it comes to what we specifically want to achieve, we have prepared some clear guidelines giving the project direction and substance. We will:
- Create a diverse and attractive immediate city
- Reinforce the character of Kabelgaten
- Change the current use of Tårngata and let it be a recreational urban space in the middle of the concrete jungle
- Create unique courtyards in the intersection between old and new
- create a city floor for all
- Provide the basis for an attractive diversity of residents and users
But what the immediate city? The immediate city is a place. A place where one can feel the sense of belonging. A space that meets your daily needs, both in commerce, recreation and service. A place of diversity and various experiences. A wish list requiring extreme intuition regarding scale, sequence of spaces and program distribution.
Industrial heritage in built form
The current situation in Kabelgaten consists of a settlement that was designed to be an efficient factory, which was developed over the course of 50-60 years.
This is a fascinating foundation for urban development, with various scales, architectural designs and road systems. We want to build further on this, while at the same time ensuring optimal flow for reuse and an open Ground Floor which is approachable, welcoming and easy to use for various public-oriented activities. Inserting arcades and passages and various spatial sequences serves as a contrast to the elongated street characterizing the industrial area today.
Thus we seek to preserve the qualities along Kabelgaten and let this settlement stand relatively untouched, while Tårngata faces a real transformation in which we tear down far more and replace with new constructions.
We hope that the core values of three historical phases are cultured and fused with the building of a reply to new requirements and the need to together constitute a viable and vibrant city centre in an area at full speed from fringe status to a new role as centre.
In this way we hope that the core values of the three historical phases are cultivated and merged together with the new structures, answering to new requirements and needs and together constitute a vigorous and vibrant hub in an area undergoing rapid transformation – from outskirts to a new function as a city centre
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