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Europan 14: Productive Cities

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City: Narvik
Title: Cut & Weld

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Narvik is situated in the Nordland region and sorrounded by the nature, but what defines this urban centre is the strategic position as focal point for international exchange. We thought about young generations and their need of being connected, their desire to move, discover and explore all the possibilities of Narvik, last but not least the right of study and work in a city full of opportunities. Even if we see, at a big scale, the infrastructures as a linking element, in the local contest of Narvik they generate a fragmented sequence of urban parts. In this scenario we focused our attention on the Technical Quarter, which is located in a central and strategic position for the future urban development. After the first big scale analysis we determined two important needs: “to connect” the city at different scales and to create a new and strong identity for the technical quarter.

We thought to set a new “green boulevard” that generates a linear, continous public space connecting all the urban parts and urban parks all along the main street. The identity of the place where people live is a more complex point. We found our answer with a “sensible approach” looking at the nature, at the typical elements that characterize Nordland region and the local architecture.

Regarding the project site we tried to understand the complexity of the terrain and his relantionship with the urban context. We think that the topography of the site, the combination of different typologies of buildings, and a mix of different functions with a real urban complexity are the main elements that we decided to develop in our design scheme. We decided to keep and reuse big portions of the buildings through an accurate process of selection and cutting. Then we proposed a strong idea, welding them together through a big space that we called the “sponge”, a cover square with a wooden frame structure that offers a mix of functions into an interesting and vibrant space.

The roof of this space creates a urban square on street level that provides an architectural base for the main building volumes. A very important element that link together all the design parts are also the vertical connections, big voids that create visual and physical connections between different functions on different levels of the project. We also based our design on a green and sustainable approach by reusing existing buildings, keeping the green space unchanged, avoiding heat loss and thermically improving existing.