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The Waterfront Promenade at Aker Brygge

designed by /

Location: Norway / Oslo / Type: Waterfronts / Built: 2014 /
Show on Google Maps / Published on December 4, 2015

LINK Landskap: ‘Stranden’ is the first of a multi-stage redevelopment of the precinct known as ‘Aker Brygge’ in Oslo, Norway. It is part of a greater effort to reinvigorate Oslo’s post-industrial waterfront by creating a 12km long publically accessible waterfront promenade, connecting the city’s east and west. The precinct’s developer, Norwegian Property (NPRO), aims to reinvigorate Aker Brygge by refurbishing the urban outdoor spaces, transforming the area’s retail concept, and introducing new office space. The waterfront promenade, ‘Stranden’, was officially opened in May 2014. The remaining project phases will be completed in 2015/16. These include ‘Bryggetorget’, the precinct’s main square and various streetscapes and laneways, which connect Aker Brygge to the waterfront and the city fabric beyond.

Aker Brygge is one of Oslo’s most vibrant precincts, with its eclectic mix of apartments, shopping, culture and restaurants. The area is loved by residents and tourists alike, and is visited by around 12 million people each year. The refurbished waterfront promenade, ‘Stranden’, has reinvigorated contact with the fjord, breathing new life and interest into this important centre for social interaction and activity in Oslo. LINK Landskap is the project Landscape Architect, and was previously the project Landscape Architect for the post-industrial waterfront site’s original transformation in the late 1980s. Aker Brygge was originally the outcome of a design competition held in 1985 and won by Telje-Torp-Aasen Architects. LINK Landskap, then known as 13.3 Landskapsarkitekter, was commissioned to design all the urban outdoor areas. The project’s aim was to transform a former shipyard into a lively urban neighbourhood and connect Oslo to it’s forgotten waterfront. Now, nearly 30 years on, LINK Landskap has had the unique opportunity to revisit Aker Brygge; to adapt and renew this complex and popular urban precinct.

The landscape refurbishment increases visual and physical contact with Oslo’s magnificent fjord landscape, while also encouraging social interaction and diversity of form along the waterfront promenade. One of the project’s main challenges has been to reconfigure and simplify Stranden’s cross-section – reorganising and consolidating the promenade in order to create a wider, more generous waterfront. This creates more space for promenading and ‘staying’ activities, whilst also increasing flexibility for spontaneous and un-planned activities. The result is a more dynamic experience of the fjord landscape and more “space for life”.

Detailing of the granite paving has received special attention throughout the entire design process. The aim was to create a robust and non-directional paving surface, with few detailed accents and no obvious, repeating patterns. Three different modules were developed and employed in order to create a legible yet seamless integration of the various pedestrian, vehicular and shared traffic zones. The smallest paving elements are deployed where vehicles need access and risk for wear is greatest, graduating up to the two largest paving modules within pedestrian areas adjacent to the boardwalk and water’s edge. The result is an elaborate yet restrained ‘stone carpet’ unifying the promenade and directing visual focus towards the mix of new and historical facades and out towards spectacular fjord views.

The paving patterns are inspired by ancient Roman paving traditions, and were redeveloped in order to meet contemporary requirements relating to mass production and installation, and Oslo’s extreme winter conditions, where temperatures can drop to below -25 degrees Celsius. The composition of each module includes granite pavers of varying sizes, colours, and surface treatments such that they appear irregular or randomly distributed. The random nature of patterns also provides flexibility with regard to detailing irregular elements adjacent to existing facades and installations. The pavers are sawn-cut with flamed or chiselled surface finishes in order to emphasize the stone’s natural colours. LINK Landskap also developed a site-specific concept for street furniture and ‘staying’ that cultivates and celebrates the role of social interaction in the public realm. The concept for street furniture employs both off-the-shelf elements and custom designed elements, which were developed in cooperation with Vestre – a Norwegian company specialising in street furniture – and furniture designers Lars Tornøe and Alte Tviet. The concept is based on diversity of form within a clearly defined framework in order to encourage social activity and flexibility of use. The project’s signature colour is “Signal Orange”; a remnant of Oslo Fjord’s maritime history.

Now, more than ever before, is it possible to sit, lie, eat, read, chat, or stroll quietly while taking in the magnificent fjord landscape, without having to be a patron of one of the area’s many restaurants or bars.

Location: Oslo, Norway
Landscape Architect: LINK Landskap
Acquisition: Tender process
Client: Norwegian Property (NPRO)
Gross Area: 10 000 m2
Status: Phase 1 completed 2014 / Phase 2 to be completed in 2015-16.
Cooperation: Vestre (furniture) and ECT (lighting)
Design team:
Project manager: Ivar Nielsen / Landscape architects: Ashley Conn, Eivind Saxhaug, Paul Patrick Donnelly, Ole Rydningen and Jens Lampe Rongstad

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