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Ålesund, Norway


The parallel assignment for center development of the Coastal City of Ørnes has two main ambitions: First, to revitalize the town center in an era of growing e-commerce. Secondly, to develop a set of linear activity hubs along the municipality.

The current city center suffers from neglectance and shortage of visitors and young residents. The project rethinks the city center through different interventions, such as cross generations programs, new square, parks and building transformations.




1. The plot has a height difference of approx. 5 meters

1. Terrain adaptation

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Minimize terrain intervention and create a natural terracing of the plot in the existing landscape. Remove car parking from the street according to the municipal plan and place parking underneath the ground. Adapt the ground-level facade threshold to the surrounding terrain and maintain human co-scale. Create sidewalks around the entire quarter. Preserve as many existing trees as possible and build on existing green lungs in the area.

2. There is a lot of traffic in Borgundvegen, which creates noise pollution within the plot

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2. Slatted buildings are placed to form a noise barrier

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Higher building towards Borgundveien for shielding from the noise. Separate the road for cars, buses, and bus stops from the cycle path. Create safe connections for walkers Borgundvegen into the surrounding neighborhood. Form a street with outward-facing business on the ground level towards Borgundvegen. Create urban spaces across external facades on ground level.

3. The surrounding streets are not connected to the plot and creates barriers 

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3. Open up slatted buildings for flow through the plot

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Create connections between quarters and break existing barriers. Form connections into the quarter in several places along the surrounding streets. Create urban spaces with different characteristics. Create a sense of neighborhood and a good place to be. Create neighborhood squares.

4. There is strong wind and gusts from the south-west

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4. Tunhus are introduced and form good urban spaces

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Adaptation to local climate and weather conditions.Place houses so that they protect outdoor space against wind and let daylight into the outdoor space. Orient the houses and windows for the most possible daylight, both in terms of good daylight conditions and for utilization of thermal mass. Form south-facing roof surfaces for solar panels.

5. There is a good view of the sea and the Sunnmørsalpene from the plot, which gives a strong place identity

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5. Maintain sight lines towards the sea and the Sunnmørsalpene

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Continue the historic urban planning concept from Ålesund by creating pedestrian and visual axes towards the sea and strengthening the connection/line of sight from the north. Open to fine views of the sea and the Sunnmørsalpene to the south.

6. Surrounding buildings are of different heights
and scale

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6. Downscaling of building volume in relation to the  surrounding buildings

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The development on the site will be a mediator between the city center and smaller-scale housing developments. Taller slatted buildings towards Borgundvegen and to the south-east, which have great flexibility for scaling up the height. Scale down buildings against surrounding neighborhood buildings in the south-west, in terms of volume and height. Possibility of signal building on two northern corners. These are clearly visible from a long distance.


Higher lamella building facing Borgundvegen.

The lamella buildings are programmed with a room for public functions on the 1st floor, which faces the various yards in the neighborhood. This measure will be able to create sustainable, local, and social measures. The lamella buildings have green roofs, with communal roof gardens.

Lower tunhus buildings adjusting to terrain 

The tunhus have slanted roofs resembling the neighborhood buildings in the area. Such an approach forms a more varied building structure that adapts to the terrain and existing building volumes in the area, while the south roof orientation allows for solar panels.

5 principles that ensure reusability and circular solutions
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Modularity to ensure a high degree of flexibility

8 m x 14 m

Houses are planned in a grid system that is suitable for standard dimensions in moderate sizes. The dimensioning provides opportunities  for the use of low-emission materials that are healthy and durable, such as solid wood and glulam

Adjustable grid system (7,8x14)​

  • Ensures good daylight conditions

  • Makes room for the technical core and guides in the housing core

  • Enables the use of solid wood and glulam

  • Ensures efficient erection of buildings

Commercial areas

  • Provides the opportunity for commercial premises on the ground floor

  • Allows for flexible division of commercial premises on the floors

  • Allows for both cell offices and office landscapes


  • Allows for varied housing sizes

  • Larger housing mixed with smaller housing

  • Allows for neighborhoods composed across several generations


  • Allows for a lane of 7m in parking basements

  • Allows for parking spaces in the basements

  • Allows for storage in the basement

  • Allows for bicycle parking in the basement


Housing          Commercial             SUM


Typology:  Urbanism

Location:  Ålesund, Norway

Year:  2024


Size:  21 800 m2

Client:  Moa Vest Eiendom AS

Team:  Gudrun Jona Arinbjarnardottir,  Vit Gerhard,

Marit Justine Haugen, Dan Zohar

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