All eyes on Ås
Student Life: Ås Community = Research/Business: World
University’s research and studies, if linked directly to the business world, can easier promote themselves and grow faster. The planning vision for Ås future cannot miss the call to integrate and interbreed the city life with the positive vibrations from UMB university, carrier of extremely important actors of the patrimony of a Nation, Youth and Culture, contemporarily allowing and promoting a solid collaboration between Ås University and the new Innovation Hub. Ås will have the opportunity to intensify locally and expand worldwide.
Local Food Research & Innovation Hub
The Norwegian University of Life Science will be connected to the centre of Ås through a strong characterized band with facilities, offices, hotels and the new innovation center. On the eastern end of this new intervention, Ås central square will open on the Europan Site. The project, gate to the city, is the showcase of the (Local Food) Research&Innovation Hub. Locals, commuters and visitors will find here the pulsing crossing point of Art , Trade, University and Community.
Ås Quadrivium 2013*
* Centre for the urban life of local and university communities - Regional network node display of “Local Food Research&Innovation Hub”.
The Europan Site will be the paradigm of how intense and fertile can be the relationship between existing urban structure and additional intervention. Counterbalancing the Institutions cluster on Raveien the site aims to be the articulated join between the 2 new strategic axis and the residential area on the north and on the east.
With reference to the “Quadrivio degli Angeli” in the classic city plan of Ferrara – an intensified cross section with four strong characters of urban distinction and complementary programming, aims to generate and structure future urbanization of ÅS.
The grid strategy operates in two scales – on the Europan site itself and extended along two axes running North-South and East-West. Along the residential urban axis parallel to the train tracks, a physical and programmatic densification of the existing urban fabric is proposed. The axis connecting the Centre and University is strengthened with a band of offices, hotels, conference, university facilities and an innovation centre.
The project argues that the vitality of student life in Ås operates on a local community level while the University itself belongs to a world scale of research and business. Combining these potentials the site is proposed as a SHOWCASE of Ås to the outside world, “intensifying locally – expanding world wide”. The Local Food Research and Innovation Hub – promoting Art, Trade, University and Community, bear the promise of a vibrant place where commuters and tourists, students and locals meet.
The jury supports the strategic vision and commends the diagrammatic precision of the proposal.
We find the site well suited for such a programmatic hub in Ås, addressing program, structure and strategy for public space with one clear gesture. It is considered a sustainable quality that the project takes a position of adaptive reuse and incorporates all the existing buildings on site, with the potential of responding well to needs of the different property owners. The grid allows for an easy phasing which would make the plan robust and flexible.
The jury feels that the project could have benefited from a similar flexibility allowing a higher density on the site itself – especially for the student housing area and the northern part of the site.
Despite its Nolli plan potentials, the 4 public spaces remains a bit schematic and underdeveloped as a sequence of believable urban experiences with the high ambitions for activities the text suggests.
However, we see that these are elements that could be part of a further development of an otherwise strategically strong and beautiful scheme.
Filippo Nanni (IT)
Lucia Zamponi (IT)
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