Expanding parallelly to River Hunnselva, Raufoss carries similar characteristics of a 20th century linear city. As the town’s initial urban organization sparkled from the resources provided by the river, the facilities, and therefore, the main infrastructural components had also been formed running alongside the river. The railway and the county road Fv110/Storgata constitute this linear urban formation derived and originated from Hunnselva.
The basic formulation of a late 19th/ early 20th century linear city would be composed of departmentalized mono-functional strips/bands for efficient construction and adaptable growth, as well as to improve sanitary conditions by separating the polluted production zones from the living areas. Similar to this modernist framework, also in Raufoss, the industrial park is detached to the west of Hunnselva; the service areas are in a central strip between the river and the railway, while the housing is sprawled elongating along the river and the transportation infrastructure.
Although the axial structure of the town benefited the economic development of the city, the functionally specialized parallel sectors also seem to have caused disconnected and segregated urban conditions, in which the innovative productive experiences of Raufoss are not reflected in the town; daily life of the city lacks collective spaces for socio-cultural gatherings; and the spatial organization creates dependency on car mobility. Within the current high-tech and sustainable production availabilities of Raufoss Industrial Park, the proposal aims to reconsider and divert the linear spatial and programmatic framework of the town for a connected future where mutual interferences benefit and flourish the productive cycles of Raufoss.
From urban strategies to architectural tactics, the project investigates the answers of: “How can the 21st century city interlink the segregated functions, resources, mobilities to create new dynamics? What is the strategy for Raufoss to connect and combine the industrial park with the other functional zones/programs and the daily life of the city? What kind of town center could contribute to Raufoss to manifest and activate the synergies of knowledge & experience; technology & labor; nature & culture; local & territorial?
The project focuses on interacting the linearly segmented functional zones of Raufoss to create crosspollination and constant conversation in between the programs, where a mix of users, activities and resources is promoted. To break through and blend the separated zones of the town, “stitching” is introduced as a collective spatial and programmatic urban strategy.
Consisting of the revitalization of the existing stitches (bridges, underpasses, pedestrian crosses, etc) and the addition of new ones, the stitches connect and nourish all mono-functional segments of Raufoss. They intersect all the programmatic zones and create an interference area concentrated around the river. While some connects the two sides of the river, some connects the industrial park to Storgata, or the City Hall to new town plaza, or the housing area to the riverbank. Although the programmatic zones that each one connects might differ, all stitches create paths over the river to emphasize a town center where the river has been re-introduced to the daily life and all programs interact or produce symbiotically. As they pass through, each stitch becomes a cumulative visit to all episodes of Raufoss.
Seeking to reconcile all parts divided by the river, the county road and the railway, the stitches penetrate the security fence and create a porous face for the industrial park on the side of the river, and therefore, aim to initiate a gradual blending with the town center. Collectively, they all constitute a legible framework for the intermutual activities and generate a new character for the vibrant center of Raufoss.
Concentrated in the town center, the additional stitches offer a way of inducing density to accommodate the anticipated population growth, and to include new ways of co-living, co-working with the clash of the hyper technologic activities of the industrial park. They also establish a network of short-cuts to stimulate more people to walk and bike.
The stitch framework is designed as path of encounter, a framework that can accommodate constant programmatic change and adjustment with architectural specifity and programmatic indeterminacy.