Winning Entry _ European 2006
To meet the needs of Hamar, the project, entitled 'Planting Seeds', proposes, not a formal solution, but a mechanism for increased development in a ‘re/covering’ landscape. The proposed strategy thickens and enlivens the site over a fifty-year time span. In direct contrast to usual patterns of urbanization –i.e. the adjacent grid-, buildings and landscape evolve in a reciprocal relationship, and over time, their complimentary interactions will support a multifunctional urbanity. New infrastructures, housing, commerce, recreation, land remediation, and the interaction with ecological systems are gradually demonstrated and allowed to thrive in various degrees of interdependency.
'Planting Seeds’ capitalizes on the site’s different development pressures in terms of time constraints and programmatic definition; as well as on the existing contextual conditions - isolation by transit infrastructure from the city fabric, an open edge condition between city and nature/lake, extreme climate conditions, and soil and site contamination-. In its adherence to the complexity and changing nature of these specific parameters, 'Planting Seeds' defines the alternative to the ‘generic extension’ of the city onto the lake.
Initially, the project introduces a scattering of physically elevated and publicly programmed platforms to the site –“Seeds”. The “Seeds” hover above a simultaneously designed, and installed, landscape - comprised of ridges and furrows, and aimed at habitat growth, soil and water remediation. They are anchors, new rocks of the waterfront. Connected to the city over, above and longitudinally to the tracks by new infrastructures, they draw people to the new and previously unknown site. The “Seeds” are based on the dimensions and orientation of the traditional blocks across the tracks, but they host public activities such as a greenhouse, a theatre, a spa-swimming pool, a convention center, a leisure center, a library.
As the landscape matures and programs arise, a new architectural skin grows around the initial “Seeds”, hosting residential, office and commercial space, expanding upward and outward. In contrast with established “hybrid program models”, the “Seeds” evolve from the initial stages in two different ways: explosion and implosion. In the first model, the “Seed” retains its hollow core with new segregated uses added peripherally. In the second model, ‘solid’ public programs occupy the core –convention halls, theatres, cinemas- requiring the additional layers to house both open public program and other segregated uses.
Public enterprises are supported by private interests and vice versa. Their partnership spurns the growth of additional physical and economic layers. The skin lives and breathes with the enlivening landscape, utilizing and recycling the resources of air, water and energy they occupy and displace. The skins provide circulation mechanical conduits, thermal insulation, solar energy and heat exchange. The project restores a diverse shoreline edge condition and wetland habitat to the site over the fifty-year period.