Os x 2
Location: Osøyro, Os, Norway
Strategic Site: 90 ha Project Site: 4,5 ha
Commission after competition: Planning and building commission
Site proposed by: Os Municipality (in collaboration with Hordaland County)
1. Prize: 12,000 EURO
Runner-up: 6,000 EURO
The municipality of Os, located south of Bergen on the west coast of Norway, is facing a doubling of its population within 2040. The municipal centre Osøyro is thought to absorb much of this growth. The site proposed for the Europan 13 competition is the last remaining undeveloped strip of land with access to the centre’s harbour basin. The site is dubbed «the jewel» of down town development. How can Os develop an urban texture that is unique and characterizing of Os? The Europan study area covers a series of other development areas. The competition can therefore contribute to a discussion of the big picture of Os as it transforms from a village to a small town.
The Bergen region is expected to grow from today’s 500,000 to 650,000 in 2030. Os is part of this picture of regional growth. Two possible game changers will further enhance Os role in the region. Firstly, the ferry free connection being planned at the Norwegian west coast, connecting Stavanger to Trondheim, would put Os closer to the maritime cluster in Haugesund and the oil capital Stavanger. Secondly, a four-lane highway being built to Bergen makes it more attractive to live in Os for commuters. Os is already taking active measures to prepare for this future. The municipality has made a study plan for Osøyro. The plan’s main component is a shopping based east-west axis and north-south axis leading from the centre to the Europan site. The municipality has actively engaged itself in the development, investing in property and coordinating efforts to increase and improve urban life.
The site today is dominated by grey paving, parking and a gas station. Two county roads and a round-about, splits the site from the urban centre. South side of the site is the harbour for a fjord speed vessel, transporting people to the work region around the Bjørnafjord. The northern part of the quay functions today as a guest harbour for smaller boats and gas fuelling. Here you also find some service functions – a car repair shop and a pizza place. Located west on site, is the old train station, which is an important cultural heritage building, and likewise, across the river mound a workshop producing traditional wooden boats. The municipality wishes for the participants of Europan to investigate widely the future opportunities for the site, focusing on public space, dwellings and commercial space.
How can the municipality secure access to the site for all inhabitants of and visitors to Os? The proximity to the centre can allow for a more mixed program, perhaps introducing functions that can be shared both by local dwellers, the public and guests. The old railroad building has potential for new public program, but also new buildings on site can have a public profile. The municipality wish for the participating architects to come up with new ideas for landscape, architecture and urban design, proposing new urban functions that would connect the existing centre with the waterfront development.