Rod Loper

Europan 11 – Haugesund, Norway

Competition 2011

In collaboration with LAP Landscape & Urban Design

For: Municipality of Haugesund

As a former herring fishing community, Haugesund has grown to city-like proportions seemingly without notion. The urban predicament of expansion without intensification has manoeuvred the centre into a difficult position. Maintaining it’s attractiveness for, and connection with the suburban areas has become more of a struggle than a constant process.
Regarding the centre’s recognizability can be said that one passes by literally when travelling through Haugesund on the way to other places. The Flotmyr site is a blind spot along the road, the centre on the westside stands on itself, taking distance due to it’s geographical situation on an elevated plateau. The Karmsundgata rather cuts through the city instead of interacting with it.
For a future perspective it is important to solve this structural issue in order to pave the road for a catalyzing effect. Taking this as it’s premise, Rød Løper is not about creating a new image of Haugesund, but rather providing an urban scheme which emphasizes existing hidden qualities.

In search for increasing the recognizability and identity of Flotmyr as well as the centre, the first step should be a reconsideration of the Karmsundgata. Therefore the road is split into two separate directions to guarantee tranquil crossing for pedestrians and to reduce noise effect. The new alignment of the Karmsundgata under the lush canopy of trees will no longer dominate the urban environment, it will be embedded in the city’s structure. Designing the Karmsundgata as an elegant boulevard transforms it into an organizing element. It introduces order and significance to Flotmyr by defining four clearly distinct spatial characters, each with its own development brief and possibility to blend with its surroundings.

Aside the spatial aspects of the intervention, an architectural cinematographic approach to the four new areas is proposed, referring to Haugesund’s status of ‘Norwegian Film Capital’. Specific atmospheres stimulate relations between the various sites and give identity to the people who work and live in Flotmyr. The plan implies scenes with a high diversity in combination with local qualities. All together the quarters form a miniature film world.

In the northeast, wooden housing stands in an irregular pattern on a grass field. When wandering around, every corner and every view will offer a new perspective. The quarter can be filled with a mix of typologies serving a bandwidth from students to elderly but mainly focussed on families.
Towards the south the scenes become more open and natural, referring to a small hiking hill nearby. As this area is currently used as parking for the stadium, festivals and busy days it is important to integrate this into the proposal. Parking hills secure enough parking places and frame different playing fields. On the edge of the small hills, living communities shaped as solid natural rocks stand in between a dense birch wood. The sloping paths offer a pleasant recreational landscape.
On the west-side, relating to the infrastructural content, the busterminal has a more futuristic urban appearance. On ground level a covered busterminal is projected with an all-weather comfort for the travellers. Above the busterminal a mixed-use program can be realized consisting of leisure, cultural and commercial functions, topped by housing and offices.
The red park is the apotheosis of all, the place where ‘everyday life’ stars of Flotmyr come together to meet and greet. This park will be Haugesund’s red carpet, it’s Rød Løper.