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MCB Square

designed by /

Location: Bergen / Norway / Type: Squares and Plazas / Built: 2017 /
Show on Google Maps / Published on May 3, 2018

Smedsvig Landskap: Odd Frantzens square: from shadowed courtyard to radiating urban space and main entrance for Media City Bergen

This was the central challenge of the project: how to transform a dark courtyard into a luminous, desirable, urban space, worthy of the new media hub in Bergen? By applying a bright cobblestone floor, but in a slightly larger format and more polished surfaces than traditional cobblestone, we established a hued floor. In collaboration with lightning designers from Zenisk, we designed luminaire poles, specially constructed to support vines. These appealing sculptures illuminates the room, day and night. Large, geometrically shaped benches in dark granite with seats in black composite, builds a contrast to the bright floor and provides warm rest areas, heated by the sun.

MCB has two main facades and entrances from two different streets; Lars Hilles gate is a main street in Bergen, with the city light train, bike lane, walkway and car road; Vestre Strømkaien was an oblong, secluded courtyard, with passage to its inner section. Both facades and urban spaces are readily visible in the Bergen cityscape. The approach for developing and designing these two spaces, follows a concept of establishing the best possible connection between the large atrium inside and the public spaces outside. The design plays on the shape of the octagon. This structure stems from the original three towers in the building, which were kept and enhanced through the reconstruction of MCB. Contrasting transitions in black and white are applied to accentuate architecture and design, which in turn establishes a scene for everything that can be explored both inside and outside of the building.

Vestre Strømkai has been renamed Odd Frantzens plass and is designed according to shared space principles. A bright floor including black triangles stretches from one facade to the other and creates an entirety in the court yard between MCB and the marine high school. The black triangles mirror the three towers on the MCB building. The composition of furnishing mirrors the concept inside and is based on the geometrical shapes found throughout the project. To lead attention to the new urban space, the centre of attraction is light design, designed by ZENISK. The luminary poles form large circles on the floor; a design detail that catches the eye. Due to the adjacent tall buildings, the courtyard lies in shadows in large parts of the day. For this reason, we chose to not add more shadow by planting trees. Instead the greenery consists of slender, six meters tall, steel pillars with Aristolochia macrophylla and Parthenocissus quinquefolia. With time, these delicate structures will grow into highlighted, green features, without adding more shadow to the public space.

Landscape architect: Smedsvig Landskap
Other designers involved in the design of landscape (architects and landscape architects): MAD arkitekter AS
Lightning: Zenisk AS
Gardener/landscape: Wikholm AS
Project location: Media City Bergen- Odd Frantzen Plass, Bergen, Norway
Design year: 2014-2017
Year Built: 2017

Photo credit: Paal Hoff

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