Member of the International Scientific Committee of Europan
What do you think about the norwegian sites for Europan 13?
-The sites in Norway are quite interesting for Europan, and I think that several of the sites have something in common. Once there was an urban tradition in Norwegian cities with the inner city center, but then there were many years of urban sprawl and suburbanization, people living around the city in the green suburbs etc. Perhaps the system of expansion of the city, of making it bigger, has now reached it’s limits; limits because of economy, limits because of ecology, and it isn’t very sustainable. Sometimes, like in Bergen, limits because of the topography; once you reach the mountains it gets more difficult to make allotments. Perhaps what you are experiencing now is the end of the era of expansion of the city and the need of a new era; the era of the transformation of the city, where you reuse parts of the city and recreate more urban neighborhoods, more densified, but also more interesting on an urban level.
Why, do you think, young architects should participate in Europan?
-Young architects should participate in Europan because it’s a unique chance to work on really important issues in the contemporary city. Many of the sites, especially in Norway, are sites at crucial places in the city. Bergen, Trondheim, Os and Ørsta are all sites with a major waterfront side and it’s a hinge in the development of the entire bay. So if you are a young architect and you want to have a chance to work on an important project, then you have to participate in Europan.
General Secretary Europan-Europe
What do you think about the Norwegian sites for Europan 13?
-Since the topic is adaptable cities we need some sites that are able to evolve with time, sites of new urban development more open to mixed city and diversity of people. I think that the Norwegian sites are well adapted to the topic, the main-feature is a piece of land along the water well-connected to the city.
In Trondheim, the harbor is already in activity around the beer-development, it´s a way to change the mono-functional industrial character and open up for new programs that can attract the inhabitants and transform what is special into a more urban level. You also have the site of Bergen with the idea of a place by the water, where the students can find some facilities shared with the inhabitants. In Stavanger you have a different site, which is a huge modern industrial area, like a cluster of the energy industry, it’s sort of a serie of lots with buildings. What is interesting here is to transform the area with new facilities, and also to think urban character into the green corridor. In general I think all the sites are very attractive. I think it’s interesting that in Norway you have clients or cities that are interested in a new urban culture.
Why should young architects participate in Europan?
-The competition, that has existed for more than 25 years, attracts young professionals because it works as a platform in different ways. First of all it’s a platform for work at a certain scale, not only with an object, but with a piece of city. I think the new generation of architects are interested in working with public space and with new uses, I think Europan is a way for them to develop their ideas. Even if the young has their own office, it’s hard to get projects in this scale. So Europan is a way to show and express ideas at this level. Secondly, even if you are not a winner, you gain of the label Europan, it can serve to invitations for new competitions, it attract clients.
And thirdly, of course not every time, but we expect that there is a potential to develop the ideas of the winner on the site. It’s important that Europan is not only a competition of ideas, but succeeds to transform the idea into the process of transformation of the city. Sometimes it can be a building, sometimes an urban strategy to develop, sometimes studies is a good way to manage coexistence of different uses. I think Europan has to reinforce the diversity of the winning project and after the competition integrate them in the transformation, of course starting with the idea.