Hortus Conclusus

Ås (NO) – Runner-up


Team Representative: Laura Alvarez (NL) – architect; Associate: Jarrik Ouburg (NL) – architect

Roomolenstraat 17B, 1015 AN Amsterdam – Nederland
+31 61 529 86 55 – office@lauraalvarez.eu

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L. Alvarez and J. Ouburg



1. How did you form the team for the competition?

For this competition we joined forces because of the mutual interest in the overall theme and specific site of Ås.


2. How do you define the main issue of your project, insisting on how you answered on this session main topic: adaptability and urban rhythms?

The city of Ås can be described as a collection of buildings, more or less randomly placed into the landscape. It is already in a way a very adaptable model. With the predicted growth of Ås however, this model will quickly reach its limits. The landscape with a couple of buildings is about to turn into a suburban sprawl. We proposed an urban framework that on the one hand creates a clear division between city and landscape, but on the other hand creates a maximum freedom within the framework itself.

Road proposal on redefined borders
Hortus Conclusus, urban ensemble

3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?

We proposed an urban incubator by introducing a certain density of programme and city life in a town where a lot of functions are detached from each other at the moment, leading to very little interrelation between functions and users. 


4. Have you already treated this issue previously and could you present some reference projects that inspired yours?

Nowadays we just don't need to always build new buildings or start from tabula rasa. Most of time we have a given condition, the existing that needs to be transformed and adapted to new needs. We very often work in this kind of assignments, where old and new form the new “new”.


5. Today –within the era of an economic crisis and sustainability– the urban-architectural project should reconsider its production method in time; how did you integrate this issue in your project?

We proposed a masterplan that is precisely based on that, with a very clear grid that will gradually be transformed in the coming years, following the needs of the moment. 


6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?

Yes, this is the first Europan Prize. The day after the award ceremony we had a good talk with the representatives of the site and we expect to continue to work on the project.