Jury remarks: The jury appreciated the simplicity and coherency of this proposal. The presentation communicates an optimal choice for a light rail route and its infrastructural nodes between the cities, resulting from a traffic analysis that compares a set of alternative rail lines. The scheme concentrates on the development of each node as a potential attractor, or place of encounter, for the larger region through a series of bridges across the river.
Firstly, the bridges are intended to connect neighbourhoods that are currently cut off by the river. This approach focuses on supporting pedestrian and bicycle mobility and expands upon the cities’ ambitions toward broader strategies for sustainable transportation. Secondly, the proposed bridges host programs supporting public and collective use in order to raise their value beyond pure traffic functions. In this sense, the bridges are conceptualized as programmed “destinations”. Thirdly, new qualities are added independent of the planned light rail project that increase the feasibility of such a large and ambitious vision. The Jury agreed that the manner in which the proposal positions the bridges as events along the proposed line of public transport is fitting to the challenge of providing current automobile drivers with attractive public alternatives. Although abstract in their current presentation, the architectural landmarks of the bridges potentially provide the cities of Porsgrunn and Skien with their first visible link. Additionally, the Jury agreed that this proposal was successful in addressing the larger stated challenge of Europan 11 – ‘doing more with less’.
The project does however suffer from a noticeable lack of design elaboration on the bridges. Furthermore, it lacks a clear concept as to how the four sites pointed to in the program – Herøya, Porsgrunn, Menstad and Skien – could be further developed. Despite these obvious shortcomings, the Jury valued the project’s ability to tease out new possibilities to link the two cities more closely. In this sense the proposal meets the requirement of displaying the mutual benefits of linking the cities, and potentially offers inspiration for future collaborations between the municipalities.
Norman Hack (DE)
Pierluigi D’Acunto (IT)