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Europan 8


The future possibilities give a grand optimism and time of uncertainty in Kirkenes. The city expects complete changes and reformulation of the community.


The city of Kirkenes is strategically located at the border of Russia and Finland. "Through 90 years the township of Kirkenes has been based on iron mining and to some extent an increased trade with Russia. In the future, Kirkenes might become a city of major importance when the industrial potential in the Barents region is exploited."

The future possibilities give a grand optimism and time of uncertainty in Kirkenes. The city expects complete changes and reformulation of the community. 

The city asks for strategies to be prepared for a possible prosperous future without knowing exactly when it will come or what kind of urban programs are needed. Kirkenes is at the moment in a period towards growth.

The city of Kirkenes in the Sor-Varanger municipality is located 70°N30°E, as Far East as Istanbul and Cairo, and as far north as Point Barrow in Alaska.

Kirkenes is strategically situated on a cape, inwards in a system of fjords and protected towards the big sea. The fact that Kirkenes is one of few ice-free ports so far north and near Russia is politically and economically important. 

Most of the commercial and service functions in Kirkenes are located in the urban grid close to the harbor. Kirkenes is a commercial town with a variety of goods and services. The city centre has scattered buildings, with small-scale, low-rise buildings.

The study area stretches from the edge of the city centre to the waterfront. It can be described as the city centre backyard, a "grey area" loosely and sparsely built up that combines heterogeneous buildings and uses and undefined residual spaces. The site area consist of two sites on each side of the highway. Site is the slice of land comprised between the sea and the E6 road. The main current functions on the site are a quay. Site 2 forms the articulation between the city centre retail core, the public building areas and the sea. All buildings are to be transformed.

Site images


The program is to explore strategies for preparing the city for complete changes and reformulation of urban life in Kirkenes.

The aim of the project is to provide a city centre expansion framework that connects the city to the water, generate new programs and activities and reveals the beauty of the surrounding landscape. In a long term perspective the harbor area can be viewed as a reserve for further development. The candidates can propose future city expansion on the quay as a second step.

Social / functional

In an early phase this "forgotten landscape" the shoreline should be opened up to the public, as an attraction/event, and evolve as an area for the inhabitants daily life activities. What type of social, cultural and recreational activities should be pursued?

It is important that the plan proposes a series of concrete short-term interventions like realistic stepping-stones as well as a long-term vision for future potential.

The city specifically wants to discourage use of private cars to communicate inside the city centre. In the harsh climate this means that an urban structure with new solutions for proximity must be invented. Furthermore, built structures must be energy effective and flexible enough to allow change in uses over time.

Site facts

Project site
1.5 ha
Winner (12,000 euros), Runner-up (6,000 euros) and Special Mention (no reward)


Submitted projects