Norwegian Scenic Routes
Norwegian Scenic Routes_Per Ritzler
One of Norway’s major modern tourist attractions is known as the National Scenic Routes – 18 selected roads in various parts of the country, which navigate through beautiful and diverse landscapes.
Scenic byways are obviously not a phenomenon specific to Norway, but what makes the Norwegian project quite unique is the conscious use of modern and often spectacular architecture. Rest areas, viewpoints, toilet facilities, pathways, stairs and furniture along all 18 routes have been specially designed, largely by Norwegian architects, and are receiving increasing attention and recognition far beyond national borders. The idea of “Architecture in Nature” as part of the Norwegian road projects has become an international concept.
It started in the mid-1990s; Norway was losing the competition for international tourists. The Norwegian government at that time asked the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) to look into ways of exploiting the interaction between Norway’s beautiful, wild nature and the country’s extensive road network. The pilot project selected four routes – along the coast, across the mountains, and along the fjords in Southern Norway.
Additions: Integrating Old and New
Architectural Addition: Integrating Old and New_Isabel Potworowski
The main task facing architects today is the redevelopment of the existing built fabric. Especially in Central Europe, where approximately two thirds of building activity is in urban areas,1 there is a shift of emphasis from new development to the reuse and extension of residential and public buildings. It is through architectural additions that the existing fabric adapts to evolving living patterns, whether through changes in capacity, circulation, external appearance or in relation to the surroundings. On a deeper level, additions reflect our relationship with the past: what we value is reflected in what we keep and how we integrate it with the new. In this respect, recent architectural additions reveal a certain trend in the combination of old and new: contemporary building elements are often open and establish new connections with public space, contrasting with the older buildings while emphasizing their historic character. The historic factors that have influenced the integration of old and new shed light on the qualities of historic buildings, and on their potential for contemporary redevelopment. In particular, the value of historic buildings includes their ability to provide a sense of stability and continuity, their authenticity, and their contribution to placemaking.
New Heights in Urban Housing
New Heights in Urban Housing_Heidi Saarinen
Whilst the global housing situation is shifting into crisis in many parts of the world and catching ever more political headlines and debate, more and more housing projects are sprouting up around us. Extra eyes are watching this development from architectural, humanitarian and environmental aspects – so architects and planners have an important role to play in finding a balance that works on all levels. This is an almost impossible task, and the discussion will undoubtedly continue. The world’s population is growing faster than ever before, and there is now, in too many cities, all over the world, a shortage of land and budgets for building good quality, and the necessary affordable housing for all. Therefore, architects, designers and planners are even more scrutinised and results are expected to be high, at all costs and at all levels. Furthermore, housing has to be appropriate for the location, type of people, families and generations that require housing, for many years to come.
Moreover, let’s not forget the rising cost of housing; for all involved; the developer, designer, architect, landowner, local authority or private owners or social tenants. Therefore an innovative, sustainable approach is a must, as we see, in different ways; in the projects featured in this essay.