It's on us. Share your news here.

This Industrial Shipbuilding Neighborhood In Norway Is Getting A Makeover

Render of the Indre Laksevåg master plan

Posted on June 17, 2024

In 2020, LondonOn – a collaborative group comprising Haptic Architects, Morris+Company, TurnerWorks, Gort Scott, Elliott Wood and Urban Systems Design – with the assistance of Vill, won a competition organized by the local government, Bergen City Council, to reinvent the Indre district of Laksevåg, a borough of the city of Bergen in Vestland county, Norway. In Bergen’s last industrial neighborhood, we find echoes of the old shipbuilding industry in the warehouses, docks and workers’ housing. Taking into consideration the entities already occupying the site – a mix of heavy industry, social amenities, offices and cheap rental space – the collective intends to repurpose as many of the current structures as possible to create two new distinct public spaces adjacent to the waterfront that are engaged in a wide range of activities. These flexible spaces will welcome not only existing production uses, but also leisure and play, such as weekly yoga classes, Sunday markets, summer events or night theaters. Dimitris Argyros, Associate Director at Haptic Architects, discusses the project’s sustainable features.

How does this project interact with water systems in terms of its architecture, layout and systems design? What is the impact of the project on the hydrological landscape and the larger ecosystem?

The harbor water that runs along the northern edge is heavily polluted today, having been the center of the Norwegian shipping industry for centuries. Due to high levels of chemical pollution and concrete sea walling, the water is almost entirely devoid of sea life. One of the driving features of the design of the Laksevåg master plan is to create a new ecological waterside promenade. This is achieved by creating a new flood-resistant barrier to hold the new promenade above, which is made from a system of upcycled steel casements. These perforated steel structures provide a new habitat for fish and plant life and start the regeneration of the fjord as an ecosystem. They are also carbon neutral as they are produced from redundant steel bulkheads from the Norwegian offshore industry, including ship hulls and oil platforms. Repurposing the material in this way also aids the wider decommissioning and seafloor cleanup underway in western Norway. The project also works with freshwater ecology, a natural mountain stream crossing the site which has long been buried in a concrete pipe. The new master plan allows for the stream to return to the surface and form a green haven of reed beds in the very center of the city. As the site sits adjacent to a migratory bird mating ground on the fjord, this new green space will enhance the available habitat for seabirds in the city, as well as offer a place of leisure for people.

Indre Laksevåg’s flexible spaces will welcome a variety of uses

Are there plans to expand the project and its water systems in the future?

Though a pilot in Laksevåg, the same maritime steel upcycling principle is being explored in other locations in the city and around Norway at other harborside sites.

What resources and raw materials will be used?

Principally existing building stock and dockyard structures such as jetties and cranes, and existing concrete infrastructure in the form of roadways and a road viaduct offer the majority of material resources in this “ReUse First” strategy. Wherever there is a need for new buildings or hard landscaping, upcycled materials such as maritime steel or reclaimed bricks are proposed, or sustainably sourced Norwegian timber.

How will they be used or made? Please detail the processes involved.

The suitability of existing structures on the site for reuse was established through a rigorous environmental and structural appraisal at the design stage. Concrete framed structures were calculated to have the ability to bear additional loading for infill development, for example. Other existing buildings were tested to see what positive impact their massing had on the surrounding microclimate. Areas of the wharf and parking were assessed to see what loading of new building masses they could take without the need for new foundations. The net result was that only one redundant power infrastructure building was judged unsuitable for retention. The increased floor areas and density on the site required were achieved through adaptive reuse, infill and filling in of gap sites.

Where will they be sourced or procured from?

All new structures were sourced from locally grown Norwegian pine and spruce, which undergoes processing into structural and envelope elements at various sites across Norway. Upcycled maritime steel is sourced from the waste of the shipping and offshore oil industry, which is very active in this part of Norway.


It's on us. Share your news here.
Submit Your News Today

Join Our
Click to Subscribe