by Zohra KhanOct 03, 2022
Haptic Architects and Oslo Works have revealed their proposed plan for revitalising Fornebu Brygge, a picturesque waterfront area near Oslo—the development aims to "transform a disused parking lot into a global centre for pioneering a sustainable ocean economy."
The project belongs to Norwegian residential property developer Selvaag, and technology investor We Are Human, where the two companies' collaboration comprises initial concept, property development, and detailed planning through their dedicated development company, Fornebu Brygge AS. The design by Haptic Architects, a London, Oslo and Bilbao based studio, and Oslo Works, a local architectural practice, encapsulates a waterside scheme spanning 45,000 sqm with features including Fjordarium—an aquarium with underwater galleries capturing the fjord’s marine life and anticipating its future. The facility is part of a wider knowledge hub of workspaces for marine industry and ocean tech businesses.
The scheme also incorporates a marine centre, water sports centre, restaurants, cafes, and a new ferry terminal. As part of the Fornebu Brygge redevelopment plan, the waterfront area will undergo landscaping to extend the publicly accessible shoreline by 1,000 meters, creating two additional bays and an 8,000 sqm public park.
This redevelopment project is crucial to the overall urban development of the prominent peninsula, encompassing the construction of new residential neighbourhoods, office buildings, and facilities for social and cultural activities. The design proposal for Fornebu Brygge emphasises three main zones: Fjord, Wharf, and Urban.
Inspired by Scandinavian values, Haptic Architects' oeuvre spans across the globe. The term "Haptic" refers to touch, emphasising the practice's deep concern for leaving a lasting impression on the environment and the people who interact with it. While previous key projects by the firm include the development of the new government headquarters in Oslo, the Noida International Airport, the design of the upcoming Euston High-Speed Rail Station in London, and the creation of the Regenerative High-rise, their approach to Fornebu Brygge investigates the possibilities of high-rise timber construction and vertical urbanism.
Oslo Works, on the other hand, is a relatively young architecture studio founded in 2016. Focused on building architecture that gives back more than it takes, their work includes large, complex regulatory plans and programming tasks, to detailing and implementation of construction projects.
According to Tomas Stokke, Co-founder and Director of Haptic Architects, the project aims to pull “everyone, from marine scientists and ocean entrepreneurs to local people and school children." Speaking of the two firm's collaboration, Francis Brekke, Managing Partner of Oslo Works, adds that their vision looks to help build a sustainable future for the new district, and the municipality of Bærum and hopes that it will play a positive role in the future of the fjord's ecosystem.
Each of the three key areas has distinctive architecture and scale, contributing to the overall varied silhouette of the development. The scheme aims to offer diverse opportunities for interactions and experiences along the waterfront while also serving as a platform for pioneering advancements in preserving marine life, sustainable food and energy production, and eco-friendly transportation solutions in the ocean.
The Fjord area is designed as the educational centre of the scheme and will house the Fjordarium. This building will provide an immersive visitor experience by offering a window directly into the fjord. The Fjordarium will encompass various facilities such as a restaurant, bar, gallery, event space, research laboratories, workspaces, and teaching rooms above and below the water level.
The Wharf, positioned along the shoreline, will function as a hub for innovation, featuring low-rise workshops, conference facilities, and a marina with floating saunas. The Urban area, set back slightly from the water, will consist of mid-rise workspace buildings with publicly activated ground floor levels. Public spaces and an accessible quayside promenade will interconnect the structures.
In collaboration with the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), the design of the Fjordarium building has been created to safeguard marine biodiversity. The building, as per the design statement, will be engineered to withstand the fjord's waves and currents while maximising natural light penetration into the underwater areas. It will address the challenges and provide solutions for cleaning the heavily polluted fjord caused by agricultural waste. In partnership with We Are Human, the architects have conceived the Fjordarium as a destination that will seamlessly blend physical and virtual experiences. It will serve as a global learning platform, exploring the drivers of the new blue economy while promoting a shift towards environmental sustainability and a regenerative approach to oceans.
The redevelopment plan also includes renovating two heritage buildings within the Wharf district: the old seaplane terminal and the former guardhouse for the Sea Rescue Service. The transformation of the existing parking lot will create a walkable landscape with green spaces, an accessible waterfront, and a new public harbour.
In line with the municipality's ambition for carbon-neutral development, the buildings will be constructed primarily using timber and carbon-neutral concrete. The project also explores the potential reuse of marine steel from decommissioned oil rigs, ships, and oil pipes as structural and non-structural components.
(Text by Khushi S Tandon, intern at STIRworld)