WAN Waterfront 2016 Award Winner Announced

Lucy Nordberg
31 Oct 2016

A complex challenge, executed in an elegant manner claims the Waterfront title

Congratulations to LINK Landskap. We’re pleased to crown their outstanding The Waterfront Promenade at Aker Brygge as winner of the WAN Waterfront 2016 Award.

The WAN Waterfront Award 2016 continues to celebrate and highlight architecture that embraces and exploits the benefits of sites in proximity to water. The award aims to bring together some of the best designs and also promotes projects that address the major issue of rising sea levels, providing a global platform to showcase inspirational ‘built’ designs spanning over the past five years. 

Six shortlisted projects were carefully assessed by an experienced jury panel. This year’s judges were: Bryan Avery MBE, Principal at Avery Associates Architects, Richard Coutts, Co-founder of Baca Architects Ltd, Pablo Lazo, Associate Director of Urban Planning at Arup, Morten Schmidt, Partner and Co-founder of schmidt hammer lassen architects, and David Walker, Design Partner of PWP Landscape Architecture.

The jury faced a difficult decision, and they considered this year’s process particularly tricky when choosing between contrasting public and private realm designs of great architectural merit. They reached the final choice based on the complexity of the challenge and the elegance of the solution, which they felt LINK Landskap fulfilled on an exemplary level. 

The Waterfront Promenade breathes new life into an important centre for social interaction and activity in Oslo. David stated: “Through simple design, quality materials, and elegant details, the promenade and surrounding streets and plazas effectively connect the city to the waterfront, creating a cohesive place with a distinct, attractive identity.” The project forms part of the effort to reinvigorate Oslo’s post-industrial waterfront by creating a publically accessible promenade, connecting the city’s east and west. One of the project’s main challenges was to reconfigure and simplify the area’s cross-section to reorganise and consolidate the promenade. Richard praised the project’s success in creating a wider, more generous space, saying: “This feels like a lovely regeneration project as well as an urban intervention.”  

In order to achieve delineated areas, detailing of the granite paving 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 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. Richard admired the ‘intensity’ of the paving, and the layering of the various thresholds to differentiate the areas for walking or resting. LINK Landskap also developed a site-specific concept for street furniture and ‘staying’ to encourage the role of social interaction in the public realm. Pablo described the design’s treatment of the promenade as “very pragmatically and strategically dividing it into three or four layers that bring urbanity to the water’s edge.” The jury were united in admiration for this ambitious design that results in a dynamic experience of the fjord landscape.

Many thanks to the jury for bringing their expertise to the selection of the shortlist and the winner, and to all those who entered their projects into this years’ WAN Waterfront 2016 Award. 

Lucy Nordberg 

Business Information Specialist

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