JAJA Architects makes it to the top with their project proposal ”Sundbyen” in the competition for a new harbor front in Ålesund, Norway. ”Sundbyen” was a proposal amongst many in the open international competition that attracted proposals from 10 different countries. JAJA based their project in the Ålesund’s existing identity and closeness to water. The project enhances the city’s existing qualitites, interprets it and creates a natural coherence between place, history and future development. More images and project description after the break.
Amongst others, the jury states: ”The scale of the building and proposed shapes seems very attractive, and the structure makes good connections to the existing city… The jury has great sympathy for the proposal’s main concept because it refines and maintains the qualities the city already has. More good public spaces by the water is established on a relatively simple way, without digging out canals and removing too much of today’s developed sites.”
Sundbyen is a project that highlights, improves and connects Ålesund’s natural qualities in one coherent unit. The projects takes it point of departure in the strait as the city’s most important natural quality and wishes to take advantage of its great potential to create an urban renewal in close connection to its natural surroundings.
Ålesund lies as a narrow crack between Aspøya and Nørvøya’s dramatic landscape and create a comfortable urban environment shielded from the open ocean gap. The protecting water space created the foundation for the city’s ocean activity and first settlement, that through a sprouting ocean activity has grown to become Norway’s elected fishing capital. Characteristically harbor houses, ware houses and trade houses decorate the waterline and create a beautiful maritime frame around the strait. The harbor has worked as a center in the daily life through generations, and is today still the city’s attraction and central gathering point.
In the development of the seaside plan, we wish to learn from the qualities and conditions, which created the Ålesund that the city is proud of. Sundbyen maintains the history and lets the strait and sea border be the structuring and gathering element. In extension of Brosundet, the basis is made for a several shielded and protected water areas and creation of new spaces and meeting areas with the water as the gathering and recreative element.
Sundbyen creates an extension of the history and a gathering point for the future. The development of the harbor front celebrates and honors the harbor culture, and unfolds the water’s recreative, aesthetic and functional possibilities in the urban center. A close network of connections connects the water spaces and the urban areas in-between together and create a more coherent and accessible urban center.