Diploma 2014: "My Name is Dokken" by Pia Grung and Mateusz Perich

Lifting the fences of a container harbour in Bergen, Norway

Dokken is an enclosed cargo container harbour in Bergen, Norway. The site is the subject of a current political discussion on relocation, leaving behind 100 000 m2 of prime central waterfront land.

This project is an outline of an alternative approach to maximized or privatized development. The main focus is on how gradients of publicness can be used to constitute a common ground of circulation, connectivity and urban life on which further development can grow. The establishment of public spaces fuel the transition of the restricted site into an urban commonplace.

The history brings character to a place.The project makes a selective recollection for the site, as chosen elements from the past and present are given importance to the future. The transition phase is an opportunity to transform and integrate existing structures. Several public structures are added where inspirations are taken from present and historical conditions.

There could be an ensurance of public ownership to counter gentrification and commercialization. Furthermore mixity and industrial remains can give Dokken the non-generic character to greet the city as a place of its own.

The project has a variety of insertions in different scales. They are inspired by the past or present state of the site, playing with surroundings and/or functions. This is part of an exploration into how publicness can mediate the transition from industrial abandonment to urban life.

Insertion type 1: Landscape features
Dokken is an artificial landscape stretching over three islets, the fjord and a rural sail ship wharf with colonial gardens. The project alters the water edge, making cut-ins and floodable gradients to restore the water to a human scale.  The islands reemerge as floating structures, and elevated allotment gardens inspired by the green past. A heap of left behind landfilling transforms into a hollow mountain.

Insertion type 2: Industrial artifacts
Gassverket – an early industry factory building – kept by regulations rather than appreciation is exhibited and becomes a gateway to the site. An iconic railed cargo crane becomes a mobile beacon, a massive staircase is added. The colossal scale of incoming cruise ships is met by a three story public bath.

The project is somewhat influenced by the restricted nature of the site, resulting in other means of investigation, such as reading of maps, interviews, boat trips, bird eye views, peeking through fences and treasure hunting in old municipal files. “My name is Dokken” can be seen as a long distance relationship with all its  means of idealizations, longings and struggles. A short encounter has given life to a series of dreams for the future.

All photos: Pia Grung and Mateusz Perich 


Collage of final exhibition


4 historical images utilized as reference/ influence for public space sites.
Top Left: Gassvekket as it used to exist and create prominence over the site. The original water edge came in much closer and has since been land filled.
Top Right: The Dokken area was once dominated by these crane giants, and one crane continues to serve as an identity marker for the place.
Bottom Left: A U.S. Army ship engulfs the scale of the port in a post war time. Today the steel whales take the form of cruise ships- continuing to dwarf the site.
Bottom Right: An old photo shows the differentiation in landscape which once existed. Hills such as this have since been flattened to make the current flat port. Today the site bears a hill made of rubble- frozen in an argument over the continuation of landfilling and expansion of the port.


A large stair is introduced to the site of Dokken. Creating access to one of the most prominent identity markers (the crane), it also creates a dialogue with the mountains in the distance.


Overall image of final model. The model includes all selected public sites and new proposed volumes. New volumes are represented in wood. Public sites in various materials. Existing buildings in grey card.


A close up/ aerial photo of the final model.


4 images of 4 main selected public space sites.
Top Left: Traces of Decay. Gassvekket and Alottment Gardens
Top Right: Watergate. Staircase to the existing crane on site and small bay for small boats.
Bottom Left: With the Giants. A three level bath engaging with docking cruise ships.
Bottom Right: Owner's Hill. An existing pile of rubble forming a hill. To be preserved- new programs can be inserted.


Larger scale models for selected public sites.
Top Left: Owner's Hill at 1:500. Exploration model. Made of found objects.
Top Right: Owner's Hill at 1:500. Plaster cast showing voids which can be used for new programs.
Bottom Left: Gassvekket. 1:200 Model showing the addition of new level surfaces to experience the existing abandoned building.
Bottom Right: Watergate. 1:100 Model Showing existing crane and new proposed staircase to gain access to its main level.


Traces of Decay
Caught between the containers and the highway are the remnants of a turn of the century gasworks. The construction occurs as three connected buildings on the edge of the site. Unlike many other old towns, Bergen has few of these early industrial memories. These brick buildings are in a state of decay, kept by regulations rather than appreciations.
The buildings are re-appropriated and their position as a possible gate to the site is strengthened. Horizontal slabs are added to facilitate new functions without direct interference with the vertical structures.



With the Giants
The steel whales of the cruise and cargo industries own the waters of Dokken. There must be an effort to reconnect to the water edge, and overcome the temporal giantism of the ships. Openness to the sea can also help connect the site to the city, as the people could come to swim at Dokken as they do in the neighboring coasts of Sydnes and Nordnes. An on-land outdoor pool is stacked in a three stage tower, to reach the changing heights of the seafront. As the ships leave the dock the pools serves as a reminiscence of the giant scale. A false horizon gives the illusion of being in the sea. The different levels will give degrees of publicness, each connecting to a different layer of circulation. The tower is built by scaffold modules.


The fjord is one of the main edges of the site and a main attraction. The flat dock provides no overview of the sea. A public coastline should invite vessels of different scales to enter from the sea, and disallow developers to privatize the waterfront.
A large staircase engages the mobile crane, and creates sheltered public situations with a waterfront view. The carrying structure constitutes a gate with water cut outs to make a port for small boats and kayaks. It is also an obstructing element, framing the future development from sprawling into the water edge. The over-scaled element works as a landmark and plays along with the larger typography of surrounding mountains.


Owner's Hill
A conflict of ownership between the municipality and the harbor administration has manifested in a hill – a coincidental beacon in the land of leveled asphalt. Historical photos shows that in 1916 the landscape had a similar elevation inadvertently reestablished by the quarrel hill. The hill is highlighted and enhanced to form a distinctive public space.


Final Masterplan at 1:1000. The overall plan shows the location of all public space sites in relation to the city and sea. A yellow band runs along the entire edge of the site signifying an unobstructed path accessible to the public. New proposed plot sizes are shown in turquoise.