Europan 9 Odda (Norway)

Concurso Europeo para Jóvenes Arquitectos EUROPAN 9-2007 Oda (Noruega) Finalista
en colaboración con NOSITE arquitectos

”Polyspora” is an urban project that its main aim transforming ODDA back in a touristic strategic site, as it was in the past. In order to create this touristic hot point, we think density is needed: nad mainly, a density of events.

We consider Almerket site as an empty surface, with some building that deserve being respected. Two points will be developed:

  • A sustainable growing model plus multimodality
  • Suitable dimensions of building related to situations going on this site.

A new growing model is proposed. If we would have to define it, we would talk about a model without regulations, a model growing by percentages. Arab cities start growing with its houses, they were built without urban planning, and voids between houses become public spaces and streets. Modern cities work in an opposite way. Urban planners design communications, public spaces, and where the building can fit.

Here in ODDA, we are proposing a model of growing based in the “spores” that can be found in many cold climates and specially in Norway. They grow starting in a dark cell with several light cells surrounding. When a dark cell appears, the light ones connect it to the rest of the spore. If we translate it into our design, we create attention or activity points (dark cells) and immediately, a group of houses and public space between them (light cells) surround these point and connect everything, creating a living surface where streets, public space, buildings, activities are generate simultaneously. That brings spatial richness: different activities being mixed continuously.

About the suitable dimension, we think that a feeling of city center is needed here. We need a “human relations scale”, that is a place where daily human relation can be done in a proper way. We like to think streets as places to meet people, to talk to them, to look at them, to listen to them. So we imaging small shops, close to a music bar, a temporal exhibit nearby, people swimming in a spa inside a winter garden, offices, and all this mixed together with houses. An eight-meter width street, limited by two or three-storey buildings, is for us ideal for this site, and we used it (modified when necessary) to develop Almerket site.


Traffic analysis was made, and we think traffic stream should be lead away Almerket, therefore a new road is created south, crossing by the abandoned industrial area. This area will be dismantled, but the main building should be respected and reused as a new cultural meeting point. Its dimensions allow it to become an exhibition and congress centre. There is a system of small railway that connects both areas, that can be brought up to elevated pathways along a green zone.

The spore-growing model used is modified as we walk away from Almerket. It develops as a new center with a well-balanced system of office, retail and housing, organized around block “patios”. Each of this “patios” has special qualities. They are small intensity points, around them, different spaces are developed, some with municipal use (red), another with local use (violet), some of them with green spaces, and another with special uses like:


  • Conditioned areas (green): Artificial topographies made by several pieces provided of air-conditioned systems. They are able to change its surface temperature, with cold air in summer and hot air in winter. The aim is to briefly change some spaces temperature, and the benefits of that feeling in pedestrian walking by.
  • Winter gardens are green areas covered, like big greenhouses, that allow people to do some activities when adverse weather conditions.
  • Swimming pools. In winter they can work as ice rinks.

The whole “spore” urbanization is mixed in the central area with a big garden, open to the fjord, and containing many municipal facilities like a theater, a swimming pool, a snow-skate park, an observatory, children playgrounds, small gardens, and a public transport terminal for buses, taxis and boats.

Almerket now will be culminate with a new urban landmark. The new Hardanger Hotel. It is proposed to be a vertical piece, like a big box holding rooms with incredible views on the fjord and the city of ODDA.

Everything has been design to be walked on foot. A roadway is provided for the hotel and the public transport terminal, as well as for underground carpark access.