Designed by MIRO architects, the starting point for their Klaksvik City Center proposal kept with the language of the genesis of urban nuclei: the form is inherited from the land, shaped by the surroundings as well as the needs and functions that are to be hosted in its nest. This also involved morphing to fit its context as well as accommodate for a plenitude of public spaces. The shape of the new core is based off of a landfill on the bottom of the bay. Even if it is possibly a random shape, it represents a fundamental step in the history of the town: the creation of the tunnel to southern islands. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Many of the most fascinating urban sceneries that we inherited from the past owe their shape to the functional, infrastructural or defensive needs of their populations combined with the features and the morphology of the territory where they grew up. It’s an accidental mix of external factors that gave them a unique personality destined to survive to all the changes imposed by their often long and troubled stories.
A strong wind blows across the Fjord and the new core is expected to be aware of it. That’s why it grows up as a fence: it is a fortress against the bad weather. The new core should be dense and cosy as a reaction to an existing townscape made of stand alone houses. An involving environment for all the community instead of a grid of individual shelters. So the external fence is offset towards the inside. But the fortress is thought to be accessible and welcoming, hence the rings are shifted up in several points in order to allow the public space of Klaksvik to flow in. This movements cause not just the opening of passages but also a distortion in the rooftop profile.
There is no housing in the core because it is imagined to be as much as possible a public place. The 7000 square meters of housing will be contained into the four new blocks planned on the ‘mainland’ area. These line buildings are not represented at architectural scale because they’re supposed to be the subjects of further competitions or private initiatives controlled by a quality commission. We’ve just indicated them as three story buildings with commercial spaces on the ground floor and apartments on the uppers. The new bus station will be an almost invisible element on the new townscape. A flyover slab will connect the actual two green areas providing a covered surface for the bus stop and parking.
The new housing blocks outside the core peninsula will host the cars of their owners on the backcourts or in small automatic storage towers attached to the blind sides. The approximately 300 parking places left will be contained under the church slope. Here, taking place of the actual open air parking lot, a larger automatic structure will fulfill the need of parking places in case of big events and high affluence days. The automatic system is almost noiseless and avoids useless wastes of space. Since the structure will be five levels high, its rooftop will be a natural expansion for the church terrace that will become this way a panoramic terrace over the downtown.
The core will host all the primary functions expected in the downtown Klaksvik. In its middle there’s a broad square of about 3000 square meters. The Multi Hall and the new Administrative Building directly give onto it since they’re the most prominent hallmarks of the people’s participation to the social life of the community. The square could be also an outdoor location for the summer festival. Both the cultural house and the library are developed on the upper floors of the building sections they occupy and they touch the ground just with their entrance halls and receptions. This is due to the need to free as much space as possible for the commercial activities that are meant to be almost omnipresent in the level 0 of the core. The perpetual animation and vitality of the new downtown is mostly dependent from this.
The new downtown is served by just one ‘normal’ driveway freely connected to the circulation grid of the town. The rest of the area is predominantly pedestrian. The public space of the core smoothly flows into the park providing an almost seamless connection between the bay and the educational and sport functions situated in the center of the isthmus.
The whole free surface on the core peninsula, as well as some of the renewed roads around it on the existing fabric, are thought to be managed as woonerfs or even shared spaces. There’s no need to place on them resident’s parkings as it is not necessary that inhabitants can have even just car access to them. This zone could be managed as the limited traffic zones in the Continental Europe downtowns are, so that just service vehicles of the municipality, emergency vehicles and delivering vans or trucks could be allowed to the transit. The size and the shape of buildings and interstitial spaces have been proportioned in order to give a urban scale feeling all around the new downtown.
The rooftops of the complex are green. This is both a reference to the traditional houses of the island and an homage to the surrounding landscape. As the faroese mountains rising from the sea appear as masses of concrete matter crowned by the vegetal presence so will be the Klaksvik core. The spike roofs generated by the shifting of the built rings will host the most representative rooms inside the buildings they belong to. The assembly hall of Klaksvik municipality for example will take place on the tall spike above the passage between the town hall and the multi hall.
The western gates of the core have a vital role to visually connect the square to the bay. During the cold season nevertheless this could be a weakness point allowing breezing airstreams to penetrate into the inner space. A transparent wall of polycarbonate or plexiglass is planned to be optionally lowered and lifted with an electric command. The pedestrian passage when the wall is down would be anyway possible through the side doors.
The station will contain also an office and rest space for the crew as well as a waiting room for travelers with toilets and other facilities. But the whole coverage will be integrated with the two lawns through a green roof and smooth slopes on both sides. In this way the physical separation between the new downtown and the school and sports area will be eliminated providing also natural stalls for the summer outdoor events.
Architects: MIRO Location: Klaksvík, Faroe Islands Designers: Riccardo Pedrazzoli, Giacomo Minelli, Valentina Cicognani Collaborators: Michele Filippini, Azza Hajjar Client: Klaksvík Town Municipality Type of Competition: Open International Competition Program: Apartment, Commerce, Administration office, Tourist information office, Hotel, Library, museum, culture house, bus terminal, parking and public square Site Area: 150,000 sqm Result: (June 2012) Competition Entry Competition Entry Submission: April 2012