Gamle Oslo, Oslo, Oslo • Norway
BARCODE, the winning proposal in the 2003 international competition to design an entirely new borough in Bjørvika, was designed by Dutch architects MVRDV in collaboration with Norwegian architectural firms a-lab and Dark Architects. A-lab has also a main role in coordinating the entire BARCODE Project, which is Norway’s largest building project, totalling almost 300,000 m2.
Bridging fjord and city
The areas in Bjørvika that were previously used for cargo handling and warehouses are being transformed into a new borough for Oslo. This new neighbourhood is attractively situated between the Oslofjord, some of Norway’s major cultural institutions, and the capital’s central railway station.
BARCODE divides the large property into a series of narrow lots that run north-south. New bridges built across the railway extend the concept and improve the city’s access to the fjord.
Defining common design guidelines
The BARCODE concept comprises 13 different residential and commercial buildings that are based on common design guidelines. In order to ensure variation and distinct characteristics, there is nonetheless a strong emphasis on design uniqueness and identity, different use of materials and contrasts to neighbouring buildings, as well as good light conditions and clear sight lines. At street level, all buildings are connected by a covered passageway. Altogether, the buildings have 45 cafés, restaurants and shops, which face Dronning Eufemias Gate and other public spaces.
In addition to designing three of the BARCODE buildings, A-lab is responsible for coordination and ensuring successful execution of the overall planning process. Several commercial buildings have already been completed, and these are soon being followed by new residences, restaurants, cafés and shops. By the time the BARCODE Project is completed in 2016, Oslo will have benefited from the addition of 10,000 jobs and 400 new apartments in a new borough that has its own unique character.
I 2013, when the BARCODE Project won the City Award, the jury stated:
“… the strong over-arching concept, combined with original and daring architectural designs, as well as a can-do attitude and decisive execution on the part of developers, is ensuring a comprehensive and distinguished urban development project. BARCODE will be a lasting monument to the contribution that the comprehensive Fjord Development Plan represents for the City of Oslo.”
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