Jury assessment: Connecting Ørsta presents an overall plan for both the site and study area, showing a good understanding of the local challenges and the scale of the town. The project proposes to create a new spatial hierarchy in Ørsta by establishing three, new main connections across the central areas: the urban connection, the park connection and the educational connection.
While the urban and the park connection propose structural interventions, the educational connection proposes a new programmatic rearrangement strengthening the relations between the schools, the cultural house and the town centre. The strategic locations of these connections are based on an intelligent analysis of the place, and the proposed physical interventions are transforming the whole logic of the site with credible means. Furthermore, the project takes on Ørsta’s car based culture by introducing a strategy on how to integrate parking within the proposed green and urban structures.
The project shows sound strategies for how to link the different inherent urban, natural and scenic conditions of Ørsta with the aim of increasing the town’s position as a destination and regional centre in Søre Sunnmøre. This focus on strengthening the connection between the educational institutions and the centre is vital to activate the town at daytime. The proposed design of these spaces is also operative as it is making a clearer distinction between the front and the back of the mixed-use blocks in Ørsta’s centre, and turning many grey asphalt zones into recreational areas optimized for new and green mobility.
The phased development of implementation includes ideas on how micro-scale interventions can improve existing conditions. The jury believes that the project can become an effective planning tool for the municipality of Ørsta, both in a short- and long-term perspective.
Jens Nyboe Andersen (DK)
Maria Crammond (DK)
Karl Johan Baggins (DK)
Runner Up: Urban by nature
Jury assessment: Urban by nature proposes to strengthen Ørsta´s identity through landscaping. By creating intensified natural settings within the town’s core, the project seeks to build on Ørsta’s status as a destination for mountaineering, climbing and fishing. The project’s strength derives from its way of using nature as a tool to achieve new civic qualities by defining a set of ecological corridors based on existing riverscapes and green structures, connecting the outer Ørsta landscape to the town centre and the waterfront. Where the corridors meet, new public spaces are proposed, which contribute to intensify the scale of the town by activating and densifying vacant sites with and through nature.
The landscaping strategy, visualized in a beautiful and poetic yet site-specific atmosphere, would strengthen Ørsta’s identity both on a local and regional level as well as beyond. The jury believes that the three main places of town centre intensification is a believable strategy, but is less enthusiastic about the scattered spatial interventions between the corridors, especially along the waterfront. The jury also questions whether landscaping is enough to reactivate the centre. The highly detailed landscape appears to be mainly motivated by aesthetics and the jury believes that the project would benefit from including further considerations on possible operative qualities of the green corridors.
STUEN Architects (DK)
Special mention: Utmark
Jury assessment: Utmark proposes a radical intervention in the centre of Ørsta by introducing a new pier, which establishes a shoreline and, over time, a beach, which – as the project suggests – would fundamentally change the dynamic and the identity of Ørsta. Furthermore, the project suggests a new traffic flow through the town centre that separates hard and soft mobilities by consolidating pedestrian flows to a main boulevard along the beach. Car traffic is reintroduced to Vikegata and parking areas to Webjørn Svendsensgate. Existing buildings along Webjørn Svendsensgate are replaced by a combination of three new building typologies, the block, the tower and the barn.
The project idea is interesting in the way it changes the local focus on programs based on shopping to one that is based on recreational qualities. The beach represents a non-productive, democratic space accessible for all, naturally changing through the seasons. The jury believes such a concept could serve as an emblematic asset for Ørsta and become a regional landmark. Whilst the illustrations are alluring, the project fails to convince on a structural level, especially when it comes to the traffic flow and the introduction of a new parking pattern.
Leonard Ma (FI)