Snøhetta has designed a proposal for the architectural competition to redesign the famous UNESCO World Hertiage Site, Bryggen (the harbor) and Torget (the market), in Bergen, Norway. Given that Bergen Municipality decided that the new light rail, Bybanen, would go through Bryggen and Torget, they launched a competition to create new solutions to accommodate for the change and further improve the experience for its users.
Bryggen and Torget is among Norway’s most well-known and visited areas and is used both by locals and tourists daily. It also hosts one of Bergen’s most iconic memories, its historical foundation of façade-series, property structure, and its link to Vågen and the fjord. An important premise for the redesign includes solutions that provides the best possible incorporation of the new light rail plan, while integrating safety parameters within the cultural urban environment, and ensure an accessible, attractive city-space.
The concept is divided into three “theatrical” levels: The Stage Floor, the Scenography, and the Actors. This represents two separate plans for the sub-areas, Bryggen and Torget, where the actors are the users of Bergen’s city space.
The name of the proposal, “Gå mann!”, is loosely translated to “walk on”, which is a famous saying in Bergen representing the city’s desire to create a great urban space for both locals and visitors. The new design is focused on further improving the conditions for pedestrians and cyclists, while still protecting the city’s unique historical heritage.
Given the size of the area, the design is aimed at creating smaller intimate spaces within a larger sphere, to develop more unique experiences and the sense of a more intimate environment.
Anything from art exhibitions, gardens, cafés, bike-repair-stands and food halls are included to add to Bryggen’s already busy atmosphere.
The overall purpose of the design is to maintain and strengthen Bryggen as a world heritage site, while further enhancing the cultural scene and experiences in the area.
This stimulates and increases the diverse opportunities of the urban spaces, while simultaneously ensuring good communication and traffic safety for everyone. Bybanen is the premier for this design, and the focus on the urban railway’s visibility and its function as a barrier, is essential to the project.
The new design and materiality of the floor of Bryggen creates a distinct self-identity and an aesthetically inviting and user-friendly space for its users. In addition to new elements added to Skur 8 and Skur 11, which is open for public functions, new destinations will be created along the surface of the harbor, focused on a younger audience and supporting local initiatives and industries.
Nikolaikirkeallmenningen, a street which perforates Bryggens dense building structure, is redefined to further emphasize the historical layers of the city and increase its accessibility by creating a new wall and a greener, more open street. This is also part of creating various, more intimate rooms with greener, more inviting outdoor spaces as part of the “new” Bryggen.