Jury remarks: Repositioning the Remote, the first prize winner for Vardø, demonstrates not only a deep knowledge of the history, geography and assets of the site, but also a desire to strengthen and build upon the existing structures and dynamics of the area. The strategy proposed is articulated around short-, mid- and long-term objectives which embrace the cultural, industrial and ecological facets of Vardø.
First, cultural spaces would take the place of abandoned industrial structures, providing a boost to the local community and attracting interest from outside the area. The winning team forecasts that by 2030, Vardø will play an important role in Norwegian energy production by monitoring, exploiting and servicing nearby oil reserves. Concurrently, Vardø will consolidate its unique position as an outpost of ornithology and marine biology in the Arctic, protecting the fragile ecology of the Barents region.
In the distant future, Vardø will have to face pressing challenges which range from finding a place in Norway’s post-oil economy, meeting the effects of global warming and raising aquacultural and hothouse production to a higher level of self-sufficiency.
Repositioning the Remote suggests that Vardø take advantage of its powerful offshore Arctic winds to create energy for local needs, while distributing the surplus to the southern regions. Vardø’s harbour will be reconfigured to face the rising level of the sea, encouraging new modes of production in the process. In the meantime, the interstitial and reconfigured harbour area would be welcoming a 24-hour sunlit greenhouse to produce Arctic char and stock king crab for trade abroad.
Jury remarks: Datarock is a bold and forward-looking proposal that turns the daunting remoteness and Arctic climate of the city into its biggest advantage, while at the same time providing an answer to the world’s ever-growing need for the storage of digital data. In fact, Datarock suggests the creation of a brand new industry for the area: the data centre. Far from being as intangible as the goods they store, these infrastructures require huge amounts of energy to cool down. Installing them in extremely cold but inhabitable regions is therefore a natural solution. Datarock is not designed to function as a separate entity, but rather to service Vardø.
Honorable mention: The white
Alejandra Climent Monsalve