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Europan 14: Productive Cities

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City: Narvik
Title: Plug ‘N Play

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Plug ‘N Play is a project that takes its lead from the idea that every place has an inner quality, which needs to be acknowledged: the Tech Quarter in Narvk had its own strength and beauty, but it lacked an overall strategic view, connecting such site to the city around and therefore to the people living that city. People and places combined together are the real power of any design.

We decided to approach the site in a very respectful way, while still allowing the area to embrace innovations and new scenarios. The railway, even if for industries represents a great resource, acts like a cut through the city, defining «left and right», «here and there». Our proposal as urban strategy, is to look at this railway not as a boundary, but as an infrastructure which needs to be implemented and followed by urban mobility. It rapresents an opportunity not a restriction. Along the site, at the very edge with the railway, we propose a new cycle path which connects the two bridges placed at the opposite corners of the strategic area. In this way, we move the «slow» mobility -cycling and walking- away from the road, forcing them to enter the new area requalified through «Plug ‘N Play» project.

Trying to define what an urban arena meant to us, we decided to focus on the creation of multiple and various public spaces, both indoor and outdoor. Plaza, Court, Street, Park, Covered plaza, Inner plaza and spacious foyers: all of them get connected in a continuous and various urban landscape. In such vivid «urbanity» events like exhibitions, concerts, festival, workshops, career days -together with production, laisure and trade- all find their own space. Flexibility has been the keystone of the final layout: light walls, screens and curtains has been used in order to easily adapt the inner space to the size and the necessities of the user.

Production is spectacularized and celebrated: atelier, shops for on demand products, workshops are all exposed together with those activities usually hidden and considered as backstage. Some «fidget walls» are equipped with tools and and services and placed outside so to create a public working area.

In conclusion, Plug ‘N Play aims to link business, culture and education. To do so, what was once the firemen tower is today a new landmark visible from all around the city where the investors, both public and private, can set their offices. This means that all the spaces are hinged by the tower.