Risøy (NO)

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© Aibel - Birger Hovland, Haugesund Luftfoto

© Aibel - Birger Hovland, Haugesund Luftfoto

Risøy (NO)

Scale L - urban and architectural
Team representative urbanist, landscape architect or architect
Location Risøy, Haugesund
Population 570 inhabitants
Strategic site 195 ha - Project site 27 ha

Site proposed by Haugesund municipality
Actors involved Haugesund municipality
Owner(s) of the site Private and public land owners

Commission after competition 1. Initial, small-scale project with temporary interventions. 2. Design of the courtyard of the municipal block. 3. Follow-up strategy for public spaces at the project site. Commission value; 1 500 000 NOK.

More Information

Urban City Strategy

Risøy has always been the economic engine of Haugesund. As a vibrant interface between the local and global economy, Risøy is a place where civil society and industrial activity always existed side by side. That balance has gradually been upset: the industrial activity has been scaled up, whereas the historical residential area has been neglected. The island is bursting with unique locations and dramatic contrasts, but the streets are devoid of activity and its public spaces are run down.
The residents of the iconic island of Risøy are proud of their identity, but face challenges with respect to standards of living, infrastructure and access to services. How can this industrial island of breathtaking contrasts become a better place to live, where the industrial activity and daily life complement one another?
Risøy is in need of a public space strategy that accommodates the pulsating flows of workers, cruise passengers, goods and machines that pass through the island and at the same time gives special care to the few remaining ecosystems and the vulnerable groups living on the island. Haugesund has entered Europan before and in 2020 received the Housing - and Town plan price for their 10 year long engagement with the implementation of the winning entry from Europan 11. The municipality now trusts Europan with their next large town planning process on the island Risøy - a site that invites entrants to envision both the big picture and detailed local interventions in order to weave the large- and small scale together into a functioning whole.

Site Definition

Risøy, a neighbourhood in the centre of Haugesund, is home to an offshore shipyard which is one of the most important employers for the town and region, as well as older housing of highly variable quality. The island is also an important terminal for regional ferries and visiting cruise ships. In many ways, Risøy is Haugesund’s gateway from the sea, which shapes people’s first impressions and the town’s reputation in the world. The shipyard generates a lot of traffic, including cars and heavy goods vehicles, which puts pressure on infrastructure and occupies road space. Large areas are taken up by surface parking.

How Must Metabolism and Inclusivity Be Developed and Connected?

Risøy has always been a centre for trade, manufacturing and the town’s contact with national and global markets. It used to be the fishing industry that exported its products all over the world, but now the shipyard and cruise port represent Risøy’s interface with the world economy. At Risøy, buildings typical of a historical local community meet the enormous scale of the global infrastructures. How can that meeting be managed in a way that reduces friction and develops synergies, thereby making Risøy a better place to live and visit?
Risøy is seen as part of the town centre, which gives it great potential to become an attractive residential area with a strong identity, and an important piece in the town’s future development. The island is bursting with unique but forgotten small squares and parks, public access routes to the sea, quays, historical buildings, industrial buildings, permanent and temporary structures and dramatic contrasts of scale. The neighbourhood has for a long time suffered from low standards of living, including a big backlog of maintenance and upgrades to both houses and public spaces.
Overall, the buildings on the island are arranged in four ribbons. From east to west, they are: Businesses along the seafront; housing; boundary zone with road and car parks; shipyard and port. People who live on Risøy describe the island as urban, but with a village feel – like a town in the town, where everyone says hello.
The island offers a huge potential for new synergies that can be made through a series of exciting urban projects and experiments of both permanent and temporal character. The municipality asks for socially and economically sustainable ideas and strategies for how to revitalise the district through a sensitive approach to the local urban infrastructure and ecology.

Questions on the site

Could you please upload a complete dwg file (no 3d) with all the layers (buildings, roads, entrances, trees, heights, level curves, uses of the buildings...)?

The complete site folder has been provided with the available material. 

Is it possible to propose new permanent constructions or only temporal? If so, Is there any height limitation?

It is absolutely possible to propose permanent constructions. As a general rule, 13 m is the maximum height, and 22 m facing Smedasundet in the east. The barracks area is undefined as far as heights are conerned. For the purposes of this competition the limits should be considered guidelines. Certain places it would even be irresponsible to build to these heights. However, participants are advised to take a sensible approach to the height question and be reassured that proposals that may challenge the heights in question will not be automatically disqualified or discarded.

In the Brief, it said that all the roads are property of the Municipality. Is the parking area land in the south(John Risøens gate 51-59) owned by Aibel or by the municipality as well?

The statement that the roads are municipality property is not quite accurate. First of all, there is the Rogaland county road: The bridge and the road leading to Garpeskjærskaien. Second, there are many roads which are at least in part privately owned, as should be illustrated by the property map on page 19 in the site brief. However, the municipality has a governing right over the road network apart from that of the county. This map is helpful to understand the governing rights of the municipality and the county, basically all grey areas. [Plankart sentrumsplanen] The parking area in question is thus commercially owned property, but the road through is public.

Is there a current public transport line to the island? What will be the status of this public transportation in the future vision with the new bridge?

There is no current public transport to the island, unless you count the regional ferry. There are two public buses, both scheduled at 15.05 each weekday, that leave the island. The new bridge will certainly open new possibilities, but public transportation by bus is an enterprise of Rogaland county and changes are also a commercial consideration. It is likely that buses (as heavy vehicles) will no longer be allowed on the old bridge, and so the probability of a bus line through the island would be small. At the same time, both the municipality and Aibel may be increasing their focus on shared electric bicycles, for example.

-In the contest rules it says that it would be convenient to restore the buildings interiors of the municipal block according to the originals, where could we find plans or information of the interior of these buildings?

The contest is restricted to the outdoor areas only. The restoration of the building interiors will be conducted by the municipality independently.

- After the renovation of the municipal block, is it intended that these dwellings should be for public use for disadvantaged groups, or residential use for these same groups?

The short answer: No. The longer answer has to do with how the very few remaining inhabitants will be handled. A select few may want to continue to reside in their homes. The municipality will not expel anyone, so it it likely that there will be personal agreements with a few of the households, while the rest are sold. Either way there will not be dwellings for public use for disadvantaged groups in the long term. The municipality will however keep one one of the buildings as a community centre.

- Why do the bases raise the possibility of making the bridge only in the south área but not in the north área of the existing bridge?

North of the bridge the important ship traffic requires space and height, which is not the case in the south to the same degree. Furthermore, the sea front in the northern area should not be obscured by tall bridges or any alternative means of crossing the strait. 

- What can be proposed in the workers' area if it is owned by Aibel company?

Aibel are open to consider proposals for their workers area, which may be possible to implement short term or long term. As long as their need for accommodation for workers is adressed, fresh ideas are most welcome.

- Is there already a specific program for the ferry stops placement, or does it have potential for change respecting the routes of the ferry project?

The electric ferry stops illustrated in the brief have been examined at an early stage, but are not definite. It is quite possible to propose moving the ferry stops if there are valid reasons to do so.

- In the southern part of the island, where boats and containers are placed, is it private at those points on the street or is that space granted for those uses?

This is commercially owned and monitored.

- Is Risoy and/or Haugesund using environmental car labels to restrict access to certain polluting vehicles?


- Are there large variations in water level between high tide and low tide?

Usually around 0,5 m, but it can vary through the year by up to roughly 0,7 m without any particular meteorological event. This is according to the national mapping agency, Statens Kartverk.

- Is there a contaminant or aquatic agent that does not allow bathing on summer days in the eastern part of the island?

The water in Smedasundet is currently not being tested for this purpose. There may be some private outlets here and there. There is bathing across the strait, by Knut Knutsen OAS gate, and in other locations, so it is not a possibility to be excluded.

- In the Risoy-Haugesund area is there any kind of environmental regulation or document on the chromatic ranges to be implemented in the new interventions?

There is currently no regulation of chromatic ranges. There is for example a climate and energy plan fresh off the presses, however participants should consider how to do things generally innovative and sustainable rather than referring to a specific regulation. 

- Will it be possible for lorries to leave directly over the newly built bridge in the south, via the shipyard area road and without passing through John Risøens gate, or will they have to leave on this main street across the island?

Yes, trucks can enter the bridge from the south. However there is also an opening for trucks on the northern side of the shipyard, and we cannot guarantee that were wont be trucks using Garpeskjærvegen and southern John Risøens gate from there, or from the harbor activity at Garpaskjær. This will be a county road.

- Are there protected species, both in the sea and land, in the environment of the island? Is there any kind of annual passage of migrants burds in the area?

Risøy is not particularly blessed with important or protected species, due to limited green areas and a relatively dense urban environment. There are nevertheless a few species to take note of. The plants Fraxinus exelsior and Hedlundia subarranensis are found in the park below the Risøy bridge -- vulnerable and near threatened, respectively. In the straits Karmsundet and Smedasundet there are a couple of species (not protected nor endangered themselves) which are important as habitats for juvenile fish, namely Laminaria hyperborea and Zostera marina. A migrant bird around Risøy, which is endangered, is the Sterna hirundo. These spend the winter in West Africa and are regularly observed near Risøy in summer. More prominent species are the near threatened Somateria mollissima in Smedasundet and Larus canus practically everywhere. The gull is by now a symbol of Haugesund as much as the herring once was.

What kind of transport is allowed and not allowed now on the existing bridge?

There is a limit of 8 metric tons for vehicles. There is a temporary limit of 10 metric tons, which is not sustainable, considering the state of the bridge.

Are trucks allowed to access the shipping yard at the moment? Or material delivery is done by boat?

The trucks that are allowed to cross the bridge may enter the shipyard. The boats transport the excessively heavy loads.

Will the new bridge serve exclusively for industrial or delivery issues? Will the old bridge change its status after?

The new bridge will be for general use, including heavy transport, regular cars, with pedestrian and bicycling lanes. The status of the old bridge is unclear. What is certain is that it will no longer allow the current load of heavy vehicles. Proposals for its future traffic use are welcome.

Could you provide more information about water flow speed and water height fluctuation on the Smedasundet strait?

More information on tides might be found here (available in English): https://www.kartverket.no/til-sjos/se-havniva

What types of intervention can be planned for the worker barracks? (e.g. demolition and reconstruction of buildings or parts of them, addition of volumes or building elements on the façades or the roofs, insertion of street furniture and green areas on the street level)

Participants are welcome to propose anything they consider to play well into their concept. What needs to be maintained as a minimum is the function of the barracks, where accommodation capacity is key. If participants would like to envision a short-term intervention, long-term, anything in between, or stages for development, they should do so. The barracks in the area are temporary (flat roof) and semi-temporary/semi-permanent (gable roof) and possible to reconfigure. The outdoor areas are expected to be part of any proposal.

Alongside the main street, How many access points to the shipyard area there are, and where are they exactly. It is possible to have those pinned on a map or plan?

Three entry points: in the north, in the south, and immediately south of the headquarters. The latter one is limited to certain lighter vehicles.

Regarding the trucks flow design inside the island, coming from south, by the new bridge, we would like to know if is it possible to consider to divert, at least one trucks lane, directly into the shipyard area?

Trucks can enter the shipyard from the south. As mentioned in another answer, there is also an opening for trucks on the northern side of the shipyard, and we cannot guarantee that were wont be trucks using Garpeskjærvegen and southern John Risøens gate from there, or from the harbor activity at Garpaskjær. This will be a county road.

Gardens and open spaces of the private areas of residential clusters can be included in the urban regeneration proposal? If so, what degree of promiscuity with non-residents (tourists, visitors, risoy citizens) is it allowed to design?

In general private residential gardens and open spaces should not be included in prosposals. The exception is of course the municipal block, which is an essential part of the assignment, where participants need to find a good blend of private and public spheres.

Is it possible to find additional material (plans, sections or elevations) related to the project of the new bridge that will be built in the south area of Risoy?

Not as of now. The regulation plan from 1997 shows a rough outline of how the bridge was envisioned before, and the current project will be based on this, although adjustments are to be expected. Zoom in on the map in the following link: https://tema.webatlas.no/haugesund/Planinnsyn

Is it possible to have further information regarding the rafts, especially about the methods used for the transportation of goods and vehicles and the relative routes around the island?

 The project of a new electric ferry is an early stage. The option explored is that of an electric "water bus", which will carry passengers and likely only the lightest of goods. The proposed stops for this route is shown in the brief, and there has not been news regarding this since its publication.

How high is the new bridge in the South going to be and how does it land on the island, i.e. will there be an "under the bridge situation" similar to the old bridge or will it land at a lower height, taking up less space?

The bridge will be built with a bend along the skerry Risøyskjer, which has previously been extended for this purpose. The high part of the bridge will be in the southeast, between the skerry and the mainland. The gap from the skerry to Risøy will most likely be bridged at a height that roughly corresponds to the level of the southern part of the parking area. Options concerning heights are still being explored by Rogaland county.

This site is connected to the following theme

Transforming from the Infrastructures

On these sites, the impetus for the transformation comes from the territory and from the use of all the resources (natural, ecological, infrastructural) to regenerate them.
Here, the starter for a change is the evolution of the networks integrating a new logic of mobility.

Specific documents

Questions on the site

Fr. 18 June 2021
Deadline for submitting questions

Fr. 2 July 2021
Deadline for answers

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© Aibel - Øyvind Sætre