• Klaksvik’s Urban Development Starts With Housing

    A rough landfill and industrial area is transforming into a dynamic and diverse town center in the heart of Klaksvik, the second largest city on the Faroe Islands. First up is a public housing development, which, according to Partner and Design Director Ósbjørn Jacobsen, is the first step in securing the success of the greater masterplan, which we designed back in 2012.

  • The vision of the 2012 masterplan was to create an “adventurous and vibrant city center” with a central plaza that “unifies urbanity with green and maritime recreational areas”. How is the vision coming along at this point?

    The masterplan proposed a mixed-use urban development with retail and cultural destinations as well as housing and workplaces. Housing is particularly important to a city center as residents secure activity around the clock and create an atmosphere in a neighborhood. For that reason, I appreciate that a mixed housing and retail project is the first to be done, and I am confident that this development forms the best possible starting point for the future city center.

    The opportunity to design the housing block came along after winning the masterplan. How will the overall urban development benefit from this project?

    The housing block is located at the central plaza, which will form the heart of the new city center. With outgoing features at ground level and between 100 and 150 residents moving in this summer this building will serve as a defibrillator making the heartbeat continuously from the very beginning. Financed by public funds, the development must embrace all kinds of tenants, and with a great variety in size and layout, this will hopefully contribute to the diversity of the neighborhood.

    Climate conditions in the Faroe Islands are rough –, especially by the sea. How do you promote an attractive and lively city center when winds and cold threaten to spoil the party? 

    The masterplan is based on simulations of local wind conditions and studies of traditional ways of building in the local area. By designing with broken, displaced volumes and streets, and retracted facades at street level we have ensured a calm and comfortable microclimate with covered public pedestrian paths. The displaced building volumes break the dominant winds and create comfortable shelter zones at the plaza and elsewhere in the city center. Each apartment has a southwest-faced balcony, a little withdrawn from the facade, offering the inhabitants a comfortable, private outdoor environment.   

    What are the next steps in completing the overall masterplan?

    Along with finishing off the apartments, we are working on the construction of the outdoor surroundings – the plaza, surrounding streets, channel, bridges, and the pier. We are also in the detail design phase of a new cultural venue, which is located in the periphery of the masterplan. It is partly renovation, partly new-build and it will be a stage combining theater, music, and lectures for a seated audience of 3-350 people.

    The housing development is owned by Bústaðir – the Faroese housing association.

     

    • Reuse of the city's own stone

      The central plaza is paved with hand-carved basalt stone, which originally formed one of the many piers in Klaksvik. Citizens of Klaksvik cut the stone out of a nearby quarry. In 1930 the pier was renovated, and approximately 1100 square meters of the carved stone was stored for a special occasion.

      Now, these stone, hand carved by the ancestors of the city, will pave the new central plaza and form the foundation of the new city center.

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