arctic gradient (vision-akureyri), competition

urban renewal competition for central akureyri, iceland
project info-sheet:
project number BAD project 003
name: arctic gradient
location: akureyri, iceland
client: vision akureyri / city of akureyri
content: urban renewal competition for central akureyri
total floor area: - m²
team: anders melsom (BAD-OSL)
damien guiot (BAD-LIL)
kathrine nyhus (BAD-OSL)
qaul burgstaller (BAD-INN)
ursula faix (BAD-INN)
consultant: -
timeframe: 2004-2005
status: competition
arctic gradient:
Citycenter on the move - towards a urban gradient strip
Arctic gradients is discussing the possibility to reorganize the existing citycentre by extending the urban tissue towards north and south. This opens up possibilities for adding program like studenthousing, hotels, senior residences, tourist info, parking garages, offices, conference centre, bus and cruiseterminal, supermarket and shopping. To avoid a point centre that disqualifies other locations and former centres, the citycentre is allowed to stretch out as a gradient strip of one and a half kilometre, running along highway 1 from the old town to the river Glera. Each segment in this gradient can have a separate program-identity and granulation of scales. By densifying along the highway, the access to new areas are ensured. This urban organization with increased number of streets running east-west will strengthen the relationship with the areas above the slope, and give these areas better access to the citycentre and the seafront.

A network of paths
Arctic gradients propose a network system of paths to link up the facilities of the city, and give all areas good access to citycentre and vice versa. For a start, three loops of different themes are proposed. A sport/recreation path, a tourism/leisure path and an innovation/research path.
The destinations of the routes are connected with bicycle and pedestrian paths, and links up with destinations outside the central areas.

Slope gradient park
In the slope running from the old town to the river, a park is established. A net of trails are providing numerous ways to move along and up and down the slope. The park works like an extended version of the botanical garden, and forms a inventory of Icelandic plants and flowers, organized by colour. In bloom, the sloped gradient of flowers forms a spectacular façade for the city towards the sea.

A united transport terminal
A transport hub terminal is established at corner Kaupvangstræti / Glerargata
The terminal is an extension of the boardwalk in the harbour, spanning like a bridge over the main road, connecting city to cruise quay and promenade. The terminal serves as central bus station, have facilities for cruisepassengers, tourist info, taxistop, car and bike rental, parking garage etc.

The new seafront
The speedlimit of the highway one should be reduced to 40 km/h along the urban gradient strip, and more pedestrian crossings should be created from the crossing streets.
The whole seafront is upgraded with a boardwalk running from the historical city in the south, and all the way to the port areas to the east of Oddeyri, opening future connection to river Glera. The boardwalk connects all seafront program, and constitutes a new urban space for Akureyri. It performs as new quay for cruiseboats, arrival-departure floor for travelers, a public arena around the new culture house, an extended promenade with outdoor restaurants and bars in summertime, and a outdoor pool with beach and healthhotel/spa. The outdoor geothermally heated pools are maintained by the health hotel, but open to public use. The hotel could be a recreation hotel, with spa and health care, for international tourists and patients on short or long term recovery. The health hotel can have a close relationship with the city hospital, offering a more complete treatment to international patients. To the north of the landmark hotel, the boardwalk curls up in a leisure boat marina, and with departure of whalesafaries and other leisure boat trips. People can stroll this area, bying fresh fish from fishing boats. The boardwalk has a variation of widths all along, making each part suitable for different activities. At the inner edge of the boardwalk is a zone of trees, pebbles and smaller pavilions with restaurants, bars and port facilities.

The river uncovered
Arctic gradients give new importance to the hidden potentials of the river Glera. The access to the river can be improved by establishing promenades and paths along the riverside. New focus is added by recreation and leisure program for inhabitants and tourists. In the eastern parts of the river towards the fjord, a network of research, science and office facilities can form an innovation park, taking advantage of facilites already established in this area like the University and the fish-industry and port facilities by the mouth of the river. Research on marine biology and polar sciences can put Akureyri on the map in a global context. The proximity to international airport with extended service of international flights is here vital. Further up along the river, a family park can be established, with leisure activities and themes from Icelandic history incorporated in a natural way along the river landscape. An elf-park can create excitement about the hidden peoples among children searching along paths with grottoes and forests. In the evenings there can be music, dance and performances, giving glimpses into the secret world of the
hidden people. Along the river can be stables and riding schools for icelandic horses, with tours up into the mountains.

2005 / info[at]
BAD-LIL (active) BAD-MIL (active) BAD-SZG (snoozing) BAD-INN (active) BAD-OSL (active) (affiliated)