Revitalising life at the docks

by Christian Solbakken
Skoltegrunnen, Bergen, Norway

– An urban vision for a publicly available seafront

Bergen City has about 20 km of seafront where only 30% of it is publicly available. The 30% or 6km of publicly available seafront is quite fragmented and it is in many places impossible to navigate along the seafront for longer stretches. A lot of the available seafront are basically just gaps between buildings. The gaps can be quite nice to walk by and look through out on the ocean, but the majority of them are not facilitated for longer stays and public life.

The main reason for challenging this area in particular is that i think it a bit wrong that approximately 1,4 km of city centrum near seafront is fenced off and dedicated to activities that give little to nothing back to the cities inhabitants. I also believe that there is a need for Bergen to expand its heavily populated city centrum to avoid Venetian circumstances in the tourist high season.

The core goal for this project is to give the city near seafront back to the inhabitants of Bergen and enable for urban activities along the seafront, without neglecting the importance of cruise tourism and offshore activity.

Cruise terminal and public space merged together so everyone can enjoy Bergens seafront

How: Dealing with international regulations.
Due to international regulations(ISPS) all quays with international traffic must be fenced off for security reasons. So first step to making the area publicly available was to figure out a way to organise and place the international quays in a way so they have as little impact as possible on its surroundings. I made it a precondition to sustain the capacity of the current harbour, since there are no indication that cruise traffic will decrease in the near future. My first thought was that i needed to relocate the international traffic out of the city, to a more remote place. I tried out some different options where i relocated the maritime activity to more remote places. The problem with relocating to a new place was that the logistics of transporting passengers and crew from the ship to their desired destinations would demand huge investments in new infrastructure that would have limited use. Secondly, relocating the international quay would most likely demand huge interventions on untouched coastline.

Negotiating space with giants: How do you hide a giant? It turns out it is impossible to hide a giant completely, but you can make a giant look a bit smaller viewed from the right angels.

Creating a 24/7-365 place: To enable for the urban life intended the programs and different actors on site consists of a mix of both regular daily activities and more leisurely/special occasion activities. Also to ensure for a steady turnover of people passing through and making the area a part of daily life i have planned for a “blue light rail” stop at the tip of Skoltegunnen.

Proposed programs on site:
Black box theatre, restaurants, cafe, public sauna, ocean swimming pools, office space, food court, playground, guest harbour, short term apartment rental, artist galley, promenade etc.