How the area around Blindern metro station might look like in the future
Three architect firms have made suggestions as to how the area east of Blindern metro station can be used for housing international researchers and become the best possible gateway to the UiO Blindern Campus. Now the winner has been elected!
– The jury received three very good project proposals. The three teams of architects and landscape architects have all worked very seriously with a demanding plot in an established residential area, and the jury has weighted many considerations and challenges against each other when electing the winner. Our conclusion is that A-lab and Lala-Tøyen have succeeded best. Their project – «Researcher Valley» – is carefully adjusted to the neighborhood settlement even though it has a completely different density and height, and the buildings in the north are placed in a way that valuable vegetation on the plot can be kept. The project also includes an elegant new bridge over the metro line. The old one has been standing there «temporarily» for almost 25 years, and it is about time to give the arrival to Blindern an aesthetical boost. «Researcher Valley» is still only a sketch. We hope the neighbors will welcome it and that it will contribute with qualities that both travelers and residents will appreciate, says the jury leader Inger Stray Lien.
The University of Oslo (UiO) and the Student Welfare Organisation of Oslo and Akershus (SiO) have carried out a limited architectural competition to receive suggestions as to how the area east to Blindern metro station can be used for housing international researchers. The proposals were to include the access to the metro station and the crossing of the metro route for pedestrians and cyclists. The suggestions were to create the basis for a rezoning process for the area with accommodation for a given number of researcher homes. The number is not finally established, and the competitors in the program were to illustrate a housing project with high utilization and somewhere between 130-150 housing units.
The intention was to develop a project that:
- provides a gateway to the University of Oslo for travelers to Blindern
- is characterised by good and thorough architectural design
- contributes to create urban spaces with activity and city life on campus
- exploits the area in a high and expedient fashion and provides varied housing sizes
- connects the existing pedestrian and cycle paths and improves the connection between the metro station and the University campus at Blindern
- establishes a square with meeting places for residents and others
- safeguards a blue-green structure and makes use of the Gaustadbekk valey as an enhancing element
- handles the demanding noise ratio for the residences well
The competitors were the architect firms A-Lab and Lala Tøyen, Asplan Viak and Lund Hagem and AtSite. The winner is A-Lab and Lala Tøyen.
The jury consisted of Inger Stray Lien (leader), Jorun Hovind, Thomas Forslund Johnsen, Kristoffer Listerud Jansen and Trond Bakke.
Connecting the campus and the city
Rector Svein Stølen thinks this project is exciting: – It is crucial for the University of Oslo to be attractive on an international labor market, and that we offer competitive conditions for international researchers. That we can offer enough housing for them, of good quality, is important to our professional circles, says Stølen. He is also keen to develop the Blindern area: – We are very keen on connecting the campus and the city in the best possible way – that our campus is better integrated into the city, and that city life is better integrated into our campus areas. This is part of the campus strategy which is currently being developed together with the Oslo municipality and the rest of the city’s knowledge providers, says the Rector.
Many decisions and clarifications remain
– In UiO’s masterplan from 2015 we point out that the Blindern metro station, which is worn and not very welcoming, doesn't provide a representative access to the University’s main campus, says John Skogen, Director of the Estate Department. – With this project we can take a holistic approach to improve the area and create a nice portal to the campus. We can meet UiO’s need for researcher homes and we can contribute to increased life on campus. These are good and correct intentions in our master plan that can be realized. The project will provide a new meeting space on Campus Blindern, with opportunities for shopping and eating out which will create activity by the station area.
– The project provides the basis for a feasibility study and there are still many clarifications and decisions that need to be made before «the spade can be stuck in the ground». We depend on a cooperating with Oslo municipality regarding the regulation and the clarification around the metro station with Ruter. It is important to develop a project that fits into the townscape and that the neighbors like, too. UiO will also have to make a closer assessment of the organization and need for researcher homes, and to find a replacement for the building we have on the property today. These processes will start this autumn, says Skogen.
Good conditions for student-adapted services and offers
– SiO is, as a collaborator with UiO, committed to supporting strategic focus areas related to good student-adapted services and offers during study time, says SiO's CEO, Lisbeth Dyrberg. – We cooperate closely with UiO’s management about, among other things, good physical conditions for these services. An important area for SiO is to be able to provide good solutions within housing development.
SiO and UiO each own their own plot by Blindern station. The whole area needs revitalization and the availability of housing for international researchers can be strengthened. It was therefore natural for us to cooperate to investigate the possibilities for realizing a project on these sites. We hope to contribute to more researcher homes, improve Blindern station, highlight the main entrance to the University’s campus at Blindern and strengthen UiO’s attractiveness, says Dyrberg.
Take a closer look!
The exhibition model of the winning contribution and the illustrations are currently exhibited on the tenth floor in Lucy Smith’s Building, for those who wish to take a closer look.