Creating a new urban centre for Straume, Norway

Haptic Straume Tower web

28/02/2013 Written by: Gill Sincock

An international design team has been chosen to create a new urban centre and a public square for Straume, near the city of Bergen on Norway’s west coast.

BuroHappold, working with Haptic Architects, NORDIC - Office of Architecture and Gross.Max landscape architects, has been selected to develop an area that will be a focus for the local community and will feature a 13 storey tower; which will create a new landmark for the region. The consultancy will be providing mechanical and electrical engineering, sustainability and building physics, facades engineering and inclusive design and accessibility advice.

Norwegian developer Sartor Holding commissioned a competition that looked for innovative and flexible solutions to change Straume’s existing centre; the winning design will create a new community hub as well as a retail centre unlike a traditional single use shopping centre model.

The winning scheme is centred around the public square; the design works with a substantial change in levels and incorporates planting, seating and lighting whilst still allowing for flexibility in use.  The landscape and its geometry has played a key role in informing the design, resulting in a number of semi-public spaces which lead off the main square. 

Sustainability is at the core of the development; the buildings in the square have been designed to ensure that natural daylight is maximised, and potentially problematic wind conditions, arising from Straume’s location on the Norwegian Sea coast, eradicated. And the natural environment has been reflected in the use of simple materials, chosen to blend with the stunning local landscape.

BuroHappold carried out extensive wind modelling during the competition stages, developing a compelling and effective set of mitigation measures so that the site massing and the architectural form could be developed to minimise impact on building and maximise pedestrian comfort.

The buildings will include a library and offices, as well as a hotel and residential space over retail outlets. However flexibility has been built in to ensure that dependent on design development and client / operator decisions, usage can easily change.

The first phase is due for completion by November 2014.

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