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6 NEWS AWARD


Sustainable Norwegian urban concept wins international Architizer prize


A concept masterplan providing a sustainable strategy for Ulsteinvik, a small town on the Norwegian west coast has won the Jury prize in the architectural model/render category at the Architizer A+ 2021 awards. The concept, called Powered by Ulsteinvik, by Bergen and Helsinki-based practice Kaleidoscope Nordic, was selected from over a hundred global nominations. The project’s “core idea,” said the architects of the project, was to “utilise the location’s natural cycles and energy flows to create an attractive place to live and work.”


The vision contains three main concepts: firstly the Smarthub in the centre of the town, a multi-functional building forming “innovation networks between public and private actors.” It contains new town hall premises, a business hub, a public cafe, and a 24 hour “innovation lab.” The facade comprises an “external sun protection system” of photovoltaic panels that produce electricity for the local smart grid.


The curvilinear architecture is formed from a CLT frame, with digital fabrication “allowing for playfulness of form,” said the architects, with a facade expression inspired by artist M.C. Escher. This, said the Architizer judges, “investigates the concept of symmetry through architecture.” They added that the design “explores three- dimensional expressions, contributing to the feeling of ownership in the area. Also forming part of the wider project, The Generation Gardens in nearby Ulshaugen feature facilities shared between kindergarten, youth club, care homes, and offices for health services. The perimeter configurations create graded outdoor areas with sheltered inner courtyards for children to play safely. Its proximity to the city center brings activity and life to the urban context. Lastly, the Circular Neighbourhoods in Holsekerdalen are claimed to offer a new housing typology in a circular system, with shared facilities that provide sustainable solutions including rainwater harvesting


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and greywater for irrigating plant beds in balconies and in the common ‘GrowHouse,’ a greenhouse with a large kitchen where residents can cook and socialise. The firm commented: “By creating new meeting places, opening the connections to the sea, and increasing accessibility for pedestrians, a car-based centre will be transformed into a lively town centre in just a few steps.” The concept proposes a more concentrated centre with a “clear urban structure, and a new multi-purpose square that opens the axis from the sea.” The concept of a “300 metre city” is


strengthened by combining existing connections with a new smart-grid, autonomous electric buses, and “blue-green” structures to provide the city with “new energy and a network of attractive meeting places,” said the architects. A plug-in module grid combines renewable energy, technology, and social urban spaces. It is envisaged that local businesses’ expertise will be used to develop a photovoltaic module that Kaleidoscope


Nordic call ‘SmartPergola.’ This “creates city roofs, meeting places, generates energy, and becomes a point where you can connect both as a city and a citizen, and become Powered by Ulsteinvik!” A new seafront promenade will connect green axes in the project, forming part of a new “mobility plan.” The inner part of the marina will be an activity centre with a maritime playground, including “autonomous boats and automated fishing rods.”


The architects said: “Imagining the future of architecture and urban form is an important aspect of how Kaleidoscope works, and it is an honour to be recognised for this.”


The jury at the Architizer A+ Awards commented: “The concept creates a strong identity for Ulsteinvik, with the potential to become an international iconic brand for the town. It ensures attractiveness through life cycle thinking and innovation, containing sharing concepts and strategies for an age-friendly society.”


ADF SEPTEMBER 2021


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