Raufoss is today a city in transition, with its strong manufacturing heritage and its current cutting-edge production facilities. “Raufoss-to-By” is a strategic approach prefiguring a vision for the future of the city. Currently, the town is separated into disconnected parts, the disconnection marked by clear axes: Storgata, the River and the Industrial Park’s fence. Our vision for Raufoss is to gather all the functions already present in the city fabric around a single urban core linking both sides of the river. This link is visual, physical and programmatic. Summarized in separate interventions on a common urban and landscape layer, it has the potential to be divided in phases and to adapt to evolving needs as long as the inherent public character of the urban layer is preserved. With a mix of public, private and commercial programs, none of the buildings are monofunctional, they have adaptive flexible programs that allow for use by different actors at different times of the day/month/year. The programming of the new city centre revolves around key functions necessary for the city to be able to capture the increasing economic interests in the Industrial Park: Work, Production, Culture, Leisure, Housing and Education. At different scales, the projects seeks to be a subtle adaptation of the current city fabric to the growing needs, redirecting flows rather than redesigning them, building up new fragments on the existing fabric instead of reimagining the area as a whole but weaving them together on a strong collective public layer.
One of the central aspects of the project is the public space. Linking the different built interventions, we imagined a green pedestrian core, connected directly to the Train Station via the new bike path and connecting both sides of the river with the implementation of 3 bridge connections. This layer will be exclusively public, it is the point of departure of each built intervention. Around the co-living units, there will be allotment gardens facing the river for the residents of the buildings, small squares allowing a transversal circulation between Brubakken and the central Public Space. The central public space is the main focus of collective expression within the project, it is the physical link between the parts, bridging over the river with the round bridge, the Epicentre of the Project. On the city side, the Public core is a square with public functions such as the City Lab and the Kindergarten, on the Industrial Park side a leisure green park with a promenade along the water and the bike path. The necessity for this public layer to be fully design would be a way for the city of Raufoss to safeguard essential public spaces for collective representation in the eventuality of a densification and sprawl of the city.
The synergy between the programs is the key to the success of the project. By mixing housing and an active ground floor while carefully picking the audience that will live in and activate the space is essential. Indeed, offering the possibility for some community groups to live in an active city centre with improve their involvement in the community and foster creativity and social productivity, acting as a catalyst for residents of Raufoss at large. Similarly, allowing public functions such as the Library, the Sports Hall to penetrate the new offices of the Industrial Park will ultimately generate an interesting dynamic, fluctuating throughout the day, seasons and years making it highly adaptable to changing times. The same applies around the perimeter of the OI472 Industrial Park, with a vibrant park and squares outside and public event happening, it will bring a qualitative environment for the workers that pass by everyday. Moreover, the impact is also visual, the diversity of the program is also expressed in the architecture, each compound embodies a different idea of urbanity, bringing diverse and conflicting ideals that will shape the collective imaginary of the city as a vibrant, inclusive and diverse entity.