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Europan 17


Design and program a connection that revitalizes and brings the centre and seafront together.


Larvik is a small town characterised by a comfortable climate and natural beauty, but suffers numerous infrastructural and geological limitations, which have burdened town planning and development particularly in recent years.

Larvik is located on a narrow piece of land between the sea and Farris Lake, with rugged topography and a harbour distinctly exposed to the elements. The town’s geography is further constricted by regional infrastructure. All rail and car traffic passing from Oslo toward the south of the country is channeled through Larvik.

To compound matters, the town centre has several areas that are essentially untouchable for future planning, owing to a new railway line project that has been put on hold indefinitely. Already decades in the making, the line would have provided an underground stop in the centre, but also necessitated the demolition of several town blocks. It is currently not possible to plan any long-term uses for the areas potentially affected by the railway, in case the project starts up again.

The old railway tracks are currently blocking Larvik´s connection to the harbour. Today the harbour is so disconnected that people prefer to drive the 500 meters up to the town square rather than navigate a maze of obstacles by foot.

Despite the many limitations affecting Larvik’s capacity to develop its centre, there are still a few tools hidden at the bottom of the toolbox. Financing has been granted to bridge the many barriers between the harbour and the centre as well as for a new library. Both of these projects could contribute significantly to revitalizing the centre and connect the heart of the town to its beautiful harbour once again.

Larvik has entered Europan 17 to get inspiration and direction for how to overcome these tricky barriers. We begin by asking: how can programming, public space and historic buildings work together to make the distances in Larvik feel smaller and the town more attractive and accessible?

How can programming, public space and historic buildings work together to make the distances in Larvik feel smaller and the town more attractive and accessible?

Larvik needs a new library. Could the site work as a host for the new library or would another type of public or commercial programme be better suited and more strategic for the site?


The town centre is cut off from the seafront by a busy road, a railway line and steep topography. The main task is to propose a concept that overcomes these barriers, bridging the gap between Larvik’s centre and the seafront. Explore how this connection, as well as adjoining public spaces and historic buildings, can be programmed and elevated with new features to attract people and revitalise the centre.


Competition facts

3.5 ha
48 246 inhabitants
1st prize: 12 000 EUR, 2nd prize: 6 000 EUR
Larvik will invite the winning team for a workshop on-site in spring 2024, With a total budget of approximately 100 000 NOK. Based on the results of the workshop, Larvik and the winning team will negotiate a timeline and follow-up commission valued at approximately 1 000. 000 NOK (ex VAT) in 2024/25

Submitted projects