VLA teamed up with Norwegian architects HRTB AS to create a sustainable housing project featuring the modern Scandinavian style while making the best possible use of the green areas in which the project is to be sited.
Ancient landscapes to become sustainable quality housing
On 1 March 2008 the municipality of Hamar announced a competition for the design of an attractive housing estate located in the countryside of Vold and Lund. Seven architectural teams prequalified for the competition. The two villages lie side-by-side amidst a beautiful, undulating landscape which will now provide the setting for some 37 000 square metres of homes. VLA and HRTB AS presented a winning proposal comprising 400 varied dwellings ranging from small flats to large row houses.
Knowing what a place to live entails
The competition result was announced on 26 September. The jury said of the joint Danish-Norwegian proposal:
“It is the view of the jury that this proposal takes a clear, simple, convincing approach to planning that is in line with the goals of the competition. The design testifies to real feeling and understanding for what a place to live entails. The project wins the competition because in the opinion of the jury it is the best starting point from which to evolve the new residential areas in Vold and Lund”.
VLA and HRTB AS have been working together for several years now. The architects are convinced that collaborating across national boundaries helps to generate innovation and sound proposals:
"We are very pleased to have won. The combination of our shared Scandinavian tradition and profound knowledge of the Norwegian countryside resulted in a really good design of which we are proud. At VLA we are quite sure that this kind of teamwork will become the norm. We base many of our activities aboard on local partners because it results in meaningful, relevant architecture”, according to Torsten Stephensen, architect and partner at VLA.
High quality in a historic landscape
The winning proposal is based on preserving the landscape. The housing will be sited as a series of cubes integrated into the countryside. The old stone walls and field boundaries of the two villages have been kept, affording residents and visitors a clear impression of the history of the area.
To ensure unity between dwellings and countryside the estate will feature gentle transitions from private garden to public areas, and large windows will provide residents with beautiful views of the green areas.
The proposal for the new estate had to be varied in order to attract many different types of resident, so flexibility was a vital element. The homes have been conceived with flexibility in mind so that they can be adapted to different kinds of household. At every level rational choices have been incorporated for residents as regards practical utilities and sustainable measures: one example is the provision for bio-fuel-burning stoves in every home.
Flexibility was also part of the green strategy and will ensure that the estate is sustainable in the long term, too. The winning proposal adopted a long-term view of sustainability: materials were selected due to their life cycle and the greatest possible reduction of surface treatment. Regulatory requirements and user needs as regards energy consumption may be expected to change considerable in future, so the heating plant has been designed for adaptability to the most suitable sources of energy in future.
The winning team:
Read the jury report (in norwegian)