Amongst 40 proposals from all over Scandinavia, JAJA Architects received a shared first prize in the idea competition for the development of Åndalsnes in Norway. “The Landscape Loop” by JAJA stood out from the competition by showing a “clear concept, analytic approach and convincing visualizations of the future Åndalsnes”. In total, the project was credited for its great contextual integrity while being able to unfold the small town’s inherent potentials.
This is not the first time that JAJA operates and positions themselves in the top in Norway. Last time the young Danish firm marked themselves amongst the big players in Norway was in the competition for the National Museum in Oslo where they finished second.
The Landscape Loop is a project that emphasizes, improves and connects the inherent qualities of Åndalsnes to one unified entity. It is a project that gathers the city’s development within a belt that wraps around the town core - creating a series of “blue” and “green” urban spaces while establishing natural connections between city and landscape.
The project finds its inspiration in the surrounding landscape that constitutes the city’s beautiful and ever changing scenery where each hour, each day and each season offers new landscape impressions - and with it different opportunities and new potentials.
Åndalsnes is a small town with 3,000 inhabitants. Encircled by fjords and mountains, the city is placed in beautiful surroundings that annually attracts thousands of bypassing summer tourists. However, despite its proximity to amazing nature and massive flow of tourists, the town of Åndalsnes has not been able to create a lively town and exploit its fantastic location.
Today, the town has a considerable facade towards the water but it is used only sporadically by private or ramshackle buildings. Empty properties create undefined urban spaces that are neither inviting nor useful. Thousands of tourists from the massive cruise ships are met by a vast parking lot that does not give any reason for a longer stay – and merely makes the city a pit stop in their further journey. The majority of the citizens live outside the inner area which makes the town appear deserted and lifeless after opening-hours.
It is obvious that the nature is the Åndalsnes’s greatest asset but despite of this it appears absent in the urban scenery.
We suggest to re-introduce nature into the urban space with an encircling Landscape Loop. The Loop will become the city’s new backdrop that gives inhabitants and tourists a constant proximity to the surrounding landscape – all year long. It will become a frame around the town that encourages a compact urban development, an intricate network of streets, plazas and courtyards that breathes urban life around the town.
See more renderings and a concept diagram in the image gallery below.
And on a rather seasonal note, check out JAJA's very cool snowglobes!
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