Larvik (NO)

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Scales L/S

Team representative Architect, urbanist and landscape architect
Location Larvik
Population Larvik municipality 48 246 inhabitants

Reflection site 18 ha - Project site 3,5 ha

Site proposed by Larvik municipality
Actors involved Larvik municipality, citizen panel
Owner(s) of the site Larvik municipality, national railroad company.

Commission after competition Larvik will invite the winning team for a workshop on site in the spring 2024, With a total budget of approximately 100 000 NOK. Based on the results of the workshop, Larvik and the winning team will negotiate a timeline and follow up commission valued at approximately 1 000. 000 NOK (ex VAT) in 2024/25.

More Information

Inhabited milieu's challenges

Larvik is a small town characterised by a comfortable climate and natural beauty, but suffers numerous infrastructural and geological limitations, which have burdened town planning and development particularly in recent years.
Larvik is located on a narrow piece of land between the sea and Farris Lake, with rugged topography and a harbour distinctly exposed to the elements. The town’s geography is further constricted by regional infrastructure. All rail and car traffic passing from Oslo toward the south of the country is channeled through Larvik.
To compound matters, the town centre has several areas that are essentially untouchable for future planning, owing to a new railway line project that has been put on hold indefinitely. Already decades in the making, the line would have provided an underground stop in the centre, but also necessitated the demoli- tion of several town blocks. It is currently not possible to plan any long-term uses for the areas potentially affected by the railway, in case the project starts up again.
The old railway tracks are currently blocking Larvik ́s connection to the harbour. Today the harbour is so disconnected that people prefer to drive the 500 meters up to the town square rather than navigate a maze of obstacles by foot.
Despite the many limitations affecting Larvik’s capacity to develop its centre, there are still a few tools hidden at the bottom of the toolbox. Financing has been granted to bridge the many barriers between the harbour and the centre as well as for a new library. Both of these projects could contribute significantly to revitalizing the centre and connect the heart of the town to its beautiful harbour once again.
Larvik has entered Europan 17 to get inspiration and direction for how to overcome these tricky barriers. We begin by asking: how can programing, public space and historic buildings work together to make the distances in Larvik feel smaller and the town more attractive and accessible?

Questions to the competitors

The town centre is cut off from the seafront by a busy road, a railway line and steep topography.
The main task is to propose a concept that overcomes these barriers, bridging the gap between Larvik’s centre and the seafront.
Explore how this connection, as well as adjoining public spaces and historic buildings, can be programmed and elevated with new features to attract people and revitalise the centre.

Questions on the site

Will the project be built?

Yes, Larvik is planning on building the project. Financing for the structure to cross the railway is in place. Furthermore, there is financing for the new library. Proposals can combine the two. For Larvik, this project will be a central landmark in the city, and the administration will want to implement and do the project properly. There are funds of 1 million NOK for commissioning the winning team to developing the design further right after the competition. 

What kind of development is the "owner" of the triangle site aiming for? Is housing alowed that close to the railway?

Housing is not feasible becasue of the proximity to the railway, but you are free to incorporate the site in your concept and suggest other types of program and use. Development that adds to urban life, or supports the connection up to Bøkerfjellet is encouraged. 

This site is connected to the following theme

Reimagining public space as a biodiverse landscape

Imagine public space as a biodiverse landscape. Imagine public space as the touching ground, the proof that YES, WE CAN –through design– address challenges caused by the crisis due to climate change, in terms of social and environmental issues. Imagine public space as the agent for inclusion of difference both in terms of humans and non-humans, as a mediator between new interdependencies. Imagine soils, water bodies, shores and eco-corridors as the main actors to guide complex transformation processes. On the following sites, public space is seen as the area where the topic of Living Cities is performed.

Specific documents

Questions on the site

You have to be connected –and therefore registered– to be able to ask a question.

Fr. 2 June 2023
Deadline for submitting questions

Fr. 16 June 2023
Deadline for answers

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*Europan is an European network of architectural, urban planning and landscape ideas competitions for young designers who take care of inhabited milieus, and followed by implementation processes