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Europan 15: Productive Cities 2

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City: Raufoss
Title: Zoco, a new urban identity

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Throughout a preliminary study of the project site, we can picture Raufoss as a small village with great urban connections surrounded by farming areas and woodlands, hosting one of the biggest industrial parks in Norway. Following an initial thorough analysis, the need to free up the space around the buildings which is currently being prioritised for cars, seems obvious in order to give it back to the people and create a new urban identity.

The piece of land beneath our feet is assumed in an active way and can become the “real building” of this new concept of city. The project breaks with the existing urban fabric through an element which provides large scale order in a flexible and consistent way. There will be some non-built spaces that will focus on establishing a careful treatment in the landscape areas in a more singular and expressive way. Like an ink drop over the territory, the crystal shape of the primitive city tends to disappear progressively, like a heterogeneous range of building and voids.

The proposal offers an urban object, which is capable of facing its own casual scale and, at the same time, the city and the landscape infrastructures. The creation of a place that automatically creates a social identity in Raufoss, allowing processes and a great variety of indeterminate activities. This system will allow a certain guessing of an internal order, a mixed genetic code, based on sequences that will end by valuing the mass-void seriation.

Zoco introduces an open order, capable of sneaking in and leading the casual and wild developments of the city in the actual urban fabric. Furthermore, it will generate versatility within the urban relations, parallel to the standard metropolitan dynamics that are producing residual spaces, border areas and great negative lands. Unoccupied terrains claiming to be recycled.

Zoco places traditional markets in outdoor spaces (that can be covered or just protected) that take place daily or weekly, generally located in the city centre, around which secondary activities can occur. Traditionally Zocos, have not been just trading spots but spaces that articulate the social activity of the area.

The strength of this space emerges “negatively”, and not totally as a leftover but as a main gear. The main target of our proposal consists of connecting the industrial area and the village through the emergence of this social space, intermediate and undetermined. This new void-space shows up as a subsystem, with a vast urban impact that is capable of articulating new and old buildings from a seriation of activities; creating balance between the strength of the volumes and the value of the surfaces involved; alternating dense and rough spaces.

Spaces created by the alternation of flooring dimensions, the sky balance, the contrast of colours, textures and green areas become the ingredients of social interaction. Spaces where opening and closes, dissipations, and cutouts become more important than the idyllic geometry of building themselves. Definitively, a contemporary urban space, an unfinished framework that will adapt to modern times.