Erik Giudice Architects were recently announced as the H+ Bredgatan Winner of the WAN Awards 2012 Urban Regeneration for their innovative solution in Helsingborg, Sweden. The ‘social atmosphere and ability to encourage residents’ integration reconnects the city with a central spine around a canal theme, creating a number of public spaces that are servicing the scheme but also connecting with the key movement around the site,’ according to WAN jury members. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The H+ project is one of Sweden’s must ambitious planning and urban renewal projects. The ongoing process aims to radically transform the southern parts of Helsingborg connecting them to the sea through the “Blue-green connection”, a landscaped water feature. The central core of the H+ project is located around the Bredgatan area, a former industrial sector which is already evolving with the presence of the Helsingborg Campus, and several dynamic companies. This area is strategically located between the old city and the harbor, and will be one of the first areas to undergo transformation, it will serve as a “test-bed” for H + at large, but will also be given its own identity in the H + urban mosaic.
The area is already hosting the Helsingborg university Campus, and several dynamic companies, but lacks of housing, public services and has a poor public spaces. The aim is to transform the area into a mixed urban fabric, keeping the spirit of entrepreneurship and enhancing the collaboration between university and companies. The varying width and depth of the central promenade gives ever new perspectives. Variation in scale and building typologies, mixing old and new, creates a dynamic urban fabric with a combination of intimate and more spectacular public spaces.
Along the canal ground floors are used for education, café, restaurants, and office. Ground floor of existing buildings are glazed to create new relationships. The new city blocks opens up onto canal room which helps to give depth and richness of the event. Urban catalysts in the form of multi-functional buildings are placed in strategic points which activates the Canal space further.
Skyline, sun and exploitation
Bredgatan area’s new skyline becomes a dynamic addition to Helsingborg. Each block structure and volume has been intensively and progressively refined to achieve optimum sun conditions in combination with optimal exploitation. Location of higher buildings in strategic position have been carefully studied in order to establish good sun conditions in the neighborhoods and in the public sphere, not least along the canal.
The “Canal rooms “ varying width and depth ever new perspectives. The buildings scale is varied to create a dynamic a combination of intimate and more spectacular, grand public spaces. Along the canal ground floors are used for education, café, restaurants, and office operations. Catalysts in the form of multi-functional buildings are placed in strategic points which activates the channel space further. Floor plans of existing buildings opens up and glazed to create new relationships. Quarter opens onto canal room which helps to give depth and richness of the event.
The blocks are closed to the west in order to protect against wind, noise and risk from dangerous goods, the courtyards open up towards channel to give views and contact with water. Offices are located towards infrastructural axis, whereas higher residential are oriented towards the central canal and green axis.
Acoustics and risk
Along Sjögatan a protective barrier in the form of earth-filled containers separates the local street space from the dangerous traffic. The containers form a protective buffer against risks and against noise while acting as a big “pots” in which trees are planted. Using containers in the public space creates a connection between the Bredgate area and existing container port. This flexible solution can be easily moved on the day the situation develops, for example. when dangerous goods transport ceases.
In order to improve the global green area factor green roofs and facades are used intensely, in combination with greenhouses, allotments ; altogether creating a dynamic roof landscape that contributes to local air quality and microclimate.
The blue-green connection is reinforced with a longitudinal knowledge axis. By placing schools and kindergartens along the central canal we create a knowledge-axis linking with the university. Other forms of training, adult education, business courses are proposed to be located primarily along the canal route, this provides a logical and identity to the area, while all forms of education are in physical continuity. Correlation between knowledge and training in all phases of life creates a physical place. Learning and discovery also characterizes the public rooms in the area. Opening up university facade on the ground floor also helps to visualize this identity and create interest in education. Urban knowledge catalyst are placed along the axis, buildings that host seminars, informal exchange of knowledge, attracting information seekers.
Sun and light
The buildings are oriented and structured to obtain a balance between high development and optimal exposure to sun. The graphs show sun exposure during a day. It shows that most of the apartments in the area have access to direct sunlight even during low sun in winter. Shadow study has been the basis for the structure and functions of the area but also for how the canal space is programmed for both green and social values. This in order to take advantage of sun and shade to create added value.
The aim of the concept is to enable a high comfort as possible in the outdoor environment in all weather conditions with 100% passive means. In the winter create protection from wind and exposure and use the sun’s rays. By creating shielded room between commercial buildings and entrances increase the perceived comfort significantly just by using passive solar energy and which also reduces wind impact. By actively working with green spaces and places creates both good sun conditions for ground floors, and cool during the increasingly hot summer months. The building’s shape and material minimized the larger UHI (urban heat island effect).
The ambition of the energy concept is to achieve optimal conditions for the residential environment with minimal energy consumption. The aim is structured in three stages: meeting the need as far as possible with passive agents; meet remaining needs with high performance energy systems that are integrated into buildings, and provide this need with energy from renewable sources.
Architects: Erik Giudice Architects (EGA)
Location: Helsingborg, Sweden
Urbanism and Architecture: EGA
Partners in Charge: Erik Giudice and Federico Mannella
Team: Lars Almgren and Francesca Venezia
Landscape and Planning: ATKINS Sweden
Artist: Charlotte von Poehl
Urban economy: Deloitte
Client: H+ Helsingborg City
Site: 15 ha
Housing: 160,000 m2
Offices: 60,000 m2
Education: 20,000 m2
Shopping Area: 16,000 m2