Laksevåg The city block as an urban ideal
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When Mad worked out the new plan for the major shipbuilding regions in Laksevåg in Bergen, we cultivated the finest urban typology we know about.
Laksevåg in Bergen is a typical example of former lands which for long have been perceived as the purest periphery, but in light of urbanization and new urban understanding suddenly prove to possess extremely valuable area resources.
When Mad architects were invited to participate in a competition on how these resources should be managed, we immediately saw the potential for real development. To suggest how this could be executed in the best way, we went straight to the finest type of city we know about – storkvartalet, the city block.
Urban, dense and vibrant
With our background working with the Fjord City in Oslo and projects in Barcode, Sørenga and Tjuvholmen, we wanted to work further with how housing and proximity to the water can be combined with urban qualities. In Laksevåg there was room to really challenge Bergen’s notion of what the city can be – while at the same time build on the classical qualities of Bergen
Bergen is historically the most urban city in Norway. We wanted to take a classical urban typology with streets, closed quarters and high density and recreate this in a modern context where also the adjacency to the fjord had a natural role informing the project’s character.
Park, water and high-rise buildings
The main concept was to construct a classical grid as basis for the project. City blocks became the defining motif complemented by fractured structures, waterfront promenades and parklands. A clear differentiation was made between the urban spaces inside the buildings and green spaces outside, especially on the eastern side of the project, towards the historic centre of Bergen.
In this park we also placed three tall high-rise buildings, sending a clear signal about the changes Laksevåg is facing. Also, an appropriate building typology would allow superb apartments without causing harm or loss for residents or visitors in general.
Culture and continuation of industrial heritage
Laksevåg is a former industrial area characterized by shipyards and maritime activity. We wanted to build further on to this by allowing structures such as the existing dock get serve as a cultural arena for both new residents and the city at large. Furthermore, the enormous crane currently standing on site would serve as a gateway and a label of identity for the entire project.
Mad architects believe in the city. Density and critical masses aren’t something we should blindly accept when living in an urban setting. On the contrary we look at it as a precondition for street activity, shops, services and the like for finding themselves naturally at home in the surroundings.
At Laksevåg we designed a City with capital C – founded on traditions and brought into our time by letting the classical city block meet the waves and an updated urban understanding.
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