1. Home
  2. Award 2016
  3. Housing
  4. The Waterfront

The Waterfront

AART architects

Housing  /  Completed
AART architects

Designed by AART architects (DK) in cooperation with Kraftværk, the Waterfront development is located at Stavanger harbour front. In many ways, it expresses the essence of the city by refining the city’s wooden architectural tradition, while also interpreting the Norwegian landscape. This context (cultural and geographical) was the main structural idea behind the design, as the Waterfront development further develops local building methods. At the same time, it blurs the boundary between the urban space and the dramatic Norwegian landscape by appearing as a mountain range of wood on the edge between the city and the sea.
The Waterfront development is based on a precise analysis of the site and the historical character of Stavanger. For instance, the design is inspired by the traditional 18th- and 19th-century wooden houses at the core of the city. In addition, the design is inspired by the old wooden buildings that wind along the bay and which are characterised by their many alleyways that provide glimpses of the sea. Just like the old characterful buildings, the Waterfront development winds along the harbour front and creates a dynamic and cohesive building structure. Structured as a coherent row of blocks connected by dramatic alleyways, the design takes advantage of the magnificent views of the sea and creates vibrant outdoor areas at the waterfront and facing the city.
Inspired by the diversity of historical wooden buildings along the bay and at the core of the city, the Waterfront development’s irregularity manifests itself in both its volume, and in its shapes and spaces in between. This irregularity brings life to the development by creating a broad spectrum of social meeting points, as well as providing users multiple opportunities to choose their own route through the area. The compelling environment is further enhanced by the persistent irregularity of the lines and volumes, which encapsulate the Waterfront development in a distinctive and dramatic atmosphere reminiscent of the Norwegian landscape. In this way, the dramatic play of lines and volumes creates a rich architectural expression, and helps to reinforce the identity of the local community.


The vibrant and accommodating atmosphere is further supported by the inclusion of freehold flats of varying size, shape and height. For instance, the lower flats are designed as single-storied flats of varying size and shape, while the upper flats are designed as duplexes, offering a compelling spatiality and a magnificent view of the sea. In addition, all of the flats are lit from both sides, in order to provide a comfortable atmosphere and to utilise the captivating view of the sea and the city. In order to maximise the view and daylight, most of the flats have integrated sunrooms.
The Waterfront development offers many types of accommodation and caters for a range of residents, whether you are a young single person, a family with children or an elderly married couple. Thus, the design of the building complex promotes a diversity of lifestyles, enriching everyday life and promoting social interaction between generations, population groups, etc. This social ambition also manifests itself in the large communal room on the first floor in the centre of the building complex, overlooking the community square, the promenade and the sea.

SUSTAINABLE LIVING / the eco-friendly design

The Waterfront was designed using Integrated Energy Design (IED); whereby, the design premises and goals were identified at the very start of the design process. Passive features like form, orientation and awareness concerning the use of materials were thus in focus right from the very start.
The IED approach manifests itself in the irregular volumes that are shaped in relation to the local climate (the wind and the sun), with a view to reducing the demand for energy and creating a dynamic play of light and shadow during the day. In this way, the development uses solar energy to reduce the demand for energy, while the slanting roof surfaces create optimal lighting conditions by bringing sunlight into the flats and the central community square, etc. Inspired by the Norwegian landscape and the local climate with its strong westerlies, the Waterfront development was designed as a robust and coherent residential development, appearing to observers as a mountain range of wood polished by the west coast’s gale-force winds.
The Waterfront development’s sustainable ambition is also manifest in its extensive but careful use of wood. In order to carry on and further refine the local wooden building culture, the construction is based on the Norwegian tradition of timber framing. In addition, the façade and the roof are covered with eco-labelled Moelven ThermoWood. Moelven ThermoWood is a heat-treated wood from Scandinavia's own forests and it is proof of the fact that tradition and innovation can go hand in hand. The wood is processed using the same technique used by the Vikings when they carbonised the outside surface of wooden poles in order to prolong their durability.
The use of Scandinavian wood also has a sustainable side effect, as it reduces the transport and, in consequently, the use of fossil fuels and hence CO2 emissions. By using eco-labelled wood and by avoiding environmentally unfriendly surface coatings, the Waterfront development promotes the good environmental qualities of wood, including wood as a sustainable building material throughout its life cycle.


 Stavanger, Norway
 Kruse Smith
 AART architects + Kraftværk
 Anders Tyrrestup, Anders Strange, Torben Skovbjerg Larsen
 Adam Mørk


Designed as one of the largest wooden residential developments in Europe, the Waterfront (‘Vannkanten’ in Norwegian) transforms Stavanger’s former industrial harbour into a sustainable and recreational part of the city. It pays homage to Stavanger’s proud tradition of building wooden houses and creates new opportunities to draw city life out to the boundary between the city and the captivating Norwegian landscape with its deep blue fjords, alluring mountains and extensive forests.

Inspired by the location, the Waterfront has been designed as clear-cut mountains of wood surrounded by a wealth of public passages, courtyards and a promenade that winds around the buildings and extends all the way to Stavanger’s historical centre. All with a focus on inspiring citizens to engage with the new harbour front as a natural and vibrant part of town. Add to this that all 128 apartments vary in shape and size, and you have socially sustainable housing that caters to a wide group of residents.


Community Wish List Special Prize

Cast your vote

The voting session is closed

#Shortlisted #Europe  #Wood  #Residential complex  #Wood Cladding  #Norway  #Adam Mørk  #The Plan Award  #AART architects  #Stavanger 

© Maggioli SpA • THE PLAN • Via del Pratello 8 • 40122 Bologna, Italy • T +39 051 227634 • P. IVA 02066400405 • ISSN 2499-6602 • E-ISSN 2385-2054