Os is known in Norway as a different thinking municipality. Something of a maverick in the world of municipalities, one could say. It has for the last couple of decades challenged and reinterpreted what it means to offer public services, run local politics and perform urban planning. Now, the municipality, located some 50 minutes by bus south of Bergen, faces some fundamental changes that force the community to rethink the role of its urban centre. The change is driven by an unprecedented regional growth, new infrastructure that brings Os closer to the world as well as its new role as regional centre. These factors are anticipated to lead to doubling of the Os population within 25 years.
The municipality of Os wanted to engage young, international architects and landscape architects to help explore the urban ramifications of this OsX2 scenario through Europan 13. A prime location in Osøyro, the centre of Os, is at disposal with the aim of manifesting a new urban strategy in the municipality. Europan participants was asked to develop a plan, containing both a physical design as well as ideas for new content that bridges Os from being a village into becoming a town.
The site has the potential for working as a connecting element in the fragmented centre Osøyro, divided by natural elements, such as the river and substantial height differences, and manmade barriers such as infrastructure and roads. The site can become a mediator between the old and new, water and land, locals and visitors. The site must act as an urban energizer that position Osøyro as the undisputed centre of Os for the future.
The municipality wants the site to be a showcase for both Os and Europan as well as to create added value for the centre, municipality and region.
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 downtown 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.
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 programs, but also new buildings on site can have a public profile. The municipality wishes 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.
- Osøyro, Os, Norway
- Project site
- 4,5 ha
- Site proposed by
- Os municipality (in collaboration with Hordaland county)
- Winner (12,000 euros), Runner-up (6,000 euros) and Special Mention (no reward)
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