White Arkitekter has been selected to design a new beach park and sea bath in Bergen, Norway. The proposal, 'True Blue,' is based on water, which is the most tangible element in Bergen to create a new meeting place where residents can experience water throughout the year.
In connection with the extension of a new tram route, Lungegårdsparken will be expanded and upgraded. In the competition brief, the municipality of Bergen asked for an identity-creating public space that will become the best park in Bergen for 100 years, offering a wide range of activities and recreation areas, while providing innovative solutions for environmental and climate adaptation.
"Water is Bergen's elixir of life; from the estuaries, fjords and ocean as well as from the sky," commented Niels de Bruin, Lead Architect at White Arkitekter. "It, therefore, characterizes our entire proposal. The vision is to create an attractive and inclusive meeting place for movement, recreation and events of various kinds all year round."
The beach park stretches over one kilometer and three bays are created with the help of existing creeks. Each bay is programmed differently and establishes itself in a gradient-based on how the urban and natural components are experienced. The first zone, which will also be the largest meeting place, begins in the city center with a city beach, a floating sea bath and space for sports activities and events. Further on, the park shifts to nature and recreation, eventually focusing on life under and above the water. Both fixed and floating structures are established, such as islands, bridges and bathing jetties enabling people to go out on and into the water.
"We are pleased to have been able to interlace a concept of design excellence, sustainability and local engagement," Niels added. "Already at this stage, we have involved local collaborators in order to succeed in the identity creation, including an art association, a high school, Bergen's Aquarium and an environmental organization. Their input has been an important aspect of the design of the park."
Another important aspect was to create something that is both socially and ecologically sustainable over a long period of time. Amongst other things, this is realized by creating a robust base that can withstand all kinds of weather conditions and by focusing on improving the water quality in the area. White Arkitekter has developed a system for natural purification of supply water and measures to increase life and biodiversity in the underwater environment.
Images: Courtesy of White Arkitekter