Skellefteå (SE) - Winner


Associates: Mahla Ebrahimpour (IR) – architect, Agnieszka Lula (PL) – urbanist, Jan Wańczyk (PL) – architect, Yuan Lin (CN) urban planner
Collaborators: Nathaniel Carden, AIA (US) – architect, Maya Sleiman (LB) – civil engineering consultant /

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VIDEO (by the team)

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1. How do you define the main issue of your project in relation with the theme “Living Cities Imagining architecture taking care of the milieus”? And in which way do you think your project can contribute to an ecological and/or social evolution?
The post-industrial Scharins site still has subsurface contaminants despite previous soil remediation efforts which poses challenges for an ambitious development plan. Safescape’s design solutions use this challenge as an opportunity to establish a safe, attractive district and bridge gaps between nature and cultures. A multifaceted approach to safety is proposed addressing contaminants, public well-being, mobility, and biodiversity.

2. How did the issues of your design and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
The site's proximity to the Skellefteå River and industrial history are integral to Ursviken’s unique identity. Connections to the site’s past and present are revitalized and evolved in various ways such as through a surgical approach to contamination specific to each part of the site, an activated public riverfront, and the use of wood construction. Safescape will establish a socially inclusive and ecologically equitable area rooted in and emerging from its context.


3. Have you treated these issues previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
Our team has experience in research-based design addressing issues on industrial heritage sites in Europe and North America. Reference projects include: De Ceuvel, Amsterdam: natural remediation with raised temporary, cultural-use structures; King’s Cross, London: less intrusive construction methods over contaminated areas using pile and raft foundation systems; Deventeer Raambuurt: addresses pollution with participatory meetings and safety guidelines.


4. How can your project be implemented together with the actors through a negotiated process and in time. How did you consider this issue in your project?
SAFESCAPE offers a seed for public discussion and a framework for future urban development. An inclusive approach requires ongoing curated dialogue with stakeholders such as the local and regional municipalities, residents, ecologists, engineers, and developers to foster a conscious community forum. The project will be divided into phases with milestones while allowing for organic adjustment throughout the planning and development process (assuming 20 years).


5. How did you form the team for the competition and if so what are the skills you associated?
The team members met during graduate school in Stockholm and have collaborated on various projects since 2018. A multidisciplinary team with diverse backgrounds consisting of architects, urban designers, an urban planner, and a civil engineer, was united by shared values in sustainability, inclusivity, and a meticulous research-based approach. We find balance working together by effective communication, specializing, and reinforcing each other's strengths.

6. How could this prize help you in your professional career?
As a newly established company, Novel Terra, we hope to see this project progress and look forward to collaborating with all of the project stakeholders and process participants. We aspire for this recognition to unlock doors to new opportunities which are aligned with our shared vision and values for a sustainable global future.

Legal status: 
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
Team name: Novel Terra
Average age of the associates: 31 years old

Has your team, together or separately, already conceived or implemented some projects and/or won any competition? if so, which ones?
Our team has award winning experience in architecture and urban design. Notably, team members have earned acclaim for their design projects, such as:
- 2021: Ecotone; 1st prize, CBDX B(OR)DERL(AND)S series competition; Katowice, Poland; Mahla Ebrahimpour and Agnieszka Lula
- 2020: MAED^UP; Honourable mention; CBDX Cities for All series competition; Manila, Philippines; Mahla Ebrahimpour, Nathaniel Carden, and Cristina Asla Ortiz de Latierro
- 2018: Persian Garden in Nanning Garden Expo; 1st Prize and Construction; Nanning, China; Mahla Ebrahimpour as a design partner in Collaboration with LP office
- 2018: Being Inside; 2nd Place; New Building of Research Department of Mapna Organization; Esfahan, Iran; Mahla Ebrahimpour and M.amin Mohammadi
- 2015: Star Designer, Internet + Village competition of Hanggang, China; Yuan Lin
Our team members have had key roles as contributors to award winning projects while working at architectural offices in Sweden, the Netherlands, and the United States.