Saltrød Zero-Emission District

Project information

  1. Location Saltrød, Norway

Project details

  1. Year2020 — ongoing
  2. StatusUnder development
  3. Partners edit / atelier
    Sintef
    TØI
  4. Client Arendal municipality
  5. Enquiries Diana Cruz
    Eli Undlien
  6. Scope Masterplanning
    Urban planning
    Residential design
    Visual Group

Arendal municipality in Southern Norway invited us to compete for a parallel assignment for the Saltrød zero-emission district. The purpose was to bring forward ideas and concepts for a zoning plan that incorporates a new health centre, connected to a larger urban environment and town centre. The goal of the plan is to strengthen local business, employment and value creation as well as dynamic housing when the area is developed.

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Climate, health and economy

Nordic – Office of Architecture, together with edit / atelier, Sintef and TØI delivered a vision for a future-oriented and urbanised Saltrød with multiple functions, good outdoor space, a variety of housing and a modern health centre integrated with nature. We proposed a progressive environmental and climate profile with three primary focus areas: mobility, landscape and energy. Short walking and cycling distances, compact building structure and proximity to everyday activities will create a town centre where it is easy to have a climate-friendly lifestyle.

Additionally, the project aims to create a distinct identity for Saltrød that contributes to strengthening Arendal's attractiveness and economy. In this context, we asked how the development of Saltrød can respond to regional needs—for example the establishment of more skilled jobs—so that Arendal can become more competitive and innovative. Health will be a key ingredient in Saltrød’s future, but we explored how other features can strengthen the local business and increase employment, and how the municipality can use development as a management tool. We proposed some trigger projects to inspire further exploration of Saltrød's regional role and increase the attractiveness of private investments and provide housing.

Solutions for everyone

It's great to present an inspiring picture of the future, but we also discussed how to get there. Planning is complex, especially with the need for rapid realisation and with multiple landowners. We therefore focused on a comprehensive plan that, to the greatest possible extent, met the Arendal municipality's desire for a health centre without excessive ties to the surroundings. Concurrently, we saw that further development of Saltrød requires effective dialogue between the municipality, landowners and other key actors. For this, we proposed some process tools that the municipality can consider for further planning work.

The health centre in Saltrød will be an attraction for the entire region and has the potential to be future-oriented and climate-friendly, with comfortable care homes and common functions well integrated into the buildings and natural landscapes. The proposed site utilises the terrain to create an exciting space and different zones. The goal has been to protect as much nature as possible, avoid marsh areas and stay within municipal property.

Green and urban stimulation

The health centre is divided into two parts: the care homes are located south of the main house, well integrated into the rest of the housing structure. This division reduces the volume and height of the main house. At the same time, the split can help to reduce the institutional character of the care homes and allows residents to be active participants in the neighbourhood. Four volumes, each with five to six storeys, will be connected by an efficient central corridor. The two lower floors consist of a health centre, operating and administration areas, and the activity house which is open to the district. The living groups are distributed from the third to the sixth storeys. The health centre faces the district's new square, and thus has an active side to the west and a calmer, green side to the east.

The residential units face and have direct access to a quiet and green area with opportunities for recreation and outdoor activities. The units meet the residents’ needs for privacy and protection whilst offering visual contact with the common areas. Each housing unit consists of approximately 8-10 residences, designed so that living rooms/terraces and common areas have good sun and view conditions.