Grønn og glad. A community of all beings

Åkrehamn (NO) - Winner


Associates: Karla Reuter (DE), Tobias Herr (DE) – architects
Contributor: Ben Thullesen (DE) – architect /

See the complete listing of portraits here
See the site here


VIDEO (by the team)

Click on the images to enlarge
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?
When Åkrehamn grew, the town started lacking togetherness. The renewal and relinking of the city center must ensure, on the one hand, not to destroy beloved urban heritage, but on the other hand, it needs to demolish buildings that are either overformed over the years or unchangeable urban barriers. We aim to preserve as many existing buildings as possible for sustainable and respectful city planning.

2. How did the issues of your design and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
One of the main tasks for Åkrehamn is the redesign of the city center, which today is suffering from big asphalt squares, a mass of parking cars and traffic noise. For new main street design, the city must promote public ground floors and integrate green spaces in central districts, considering the cold, rainy climate. Priorities include creating more meeting spots and playgrounds. Parking will be organized in single-storey garages inside the blocks, which can be transformed as car traffic decreases. Pedestrian, bike and car routes will be separated to prevent conflicts. Along slow mobility routes, both human and non-human flow and living must be ensured. Newly planted trees and bushes habitats help animals find a safe home in urban areas.


3. Have you treated these issues previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
We have previously explored the theme of 'living cities' in the Europan16 competition, where we submitted an entry for Hønefoss, Norway. While developing this year's design for Åkrehamn, we revisited and analyzed the proposals from two years ago, drawing inspiration from various projects by Scandinavian offices. Additionally, we found conceptual input from works presented at the Biennale Architettura 2021 in Venice, which also explored the theme of 'How will we live together.'


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?
The city has sought a realistic urban development strategy for its downtown area that allows the integration of private landowners and the city. Grønn Og Glad proposes a realistic plan following a clear overall strategy: a) precise analysis of existing structures, b) flexibility of interventions, c) chasing implementations in short-, mid- and long-term methods, d) considering site-specific requirements and e) take care of what the residents want for their hometown.


5. How did you form the team for the competition and if so what are the skills you associated?
Karla and Ben, two emerging architects joining forces under the name STUDIO RETHU, fuse their perspectives through a collaborative exchange. Under the support of Tobias, the founder of THERRA architectural office, the trio shares insights and ideas, fostering a dynamic synergy within the team. Our team is passionate about the thoughtful and sustainable evolution of existing structures, ensuring that the resulting designs resonate with and enhance the lives of the community.

6. How could this prize help you in your professional career?
Winning Europan17 in Åkrehamn, Norway is a milestone for our Grønn Og Glad team. It propels our early careers onto the European stage, offering a chance for international collaboration. The stunning Norwegian landscapes amplify our creative process, making this opportunity a blend of professional growth and cultural immersion. We're excited to contribute to Åkrehamn's charm and establish connections that transcend borders. As we embark on this exciting venture, we hope for the continued growth and evolution of our project in the future.

Legal status: 

Team name: Grønn Og Glad Team (Studio RETHU and THERRA GmbH)
Average age of the associates: 29 years old

Has your team, together or separately, already conceived or implemented some projects and/or won any competition? if so, which ones?
We have worked on several projects and competitions together before, always looking on the one hand for a design that reinvents the city's identity in a creative way while on the other hand finding solutions that are not only good for the people but also for the earth.