The C.F. Møller-led team with JaJa architects and TØI (Institute of Transport Economics) has been selected by the Norwegian municipality of Vestby to design a new urban centre for Vestby. Vestby is the administrative heart of the municipality, and is strategically located where the railroad meets motorway E6. But the centre of Vestby is currently also dominated by car-based commercial space and its associated large parking spaces, and is perceived by many as a dull place lacking in identity.
There is great potential for densification of the downtown core: In the Oslo and Akershus region, there will according to the forecasts be 1.5 million people in 2030, i.e. more than 400,000 new residents. Oslo’s surrounding areas must take part in that growth, to focus it on existing towns and public transport nodes. The Vestby municipality is the municipality in the Oslo and Akershus that has seen the largest proportionate growth, with a rise of 3.1% in 2012.
Bridge and Loop
Vestby is centred on a railway station, and the new plan takes this as a perfect outset for a future, sustainable city. The goal is to create a coherent urban structure between the station, the Vestby Shopping Centre and an existing IKEA store, and the new Vestby centre will have a clear focal point at the station, with a new and expanded bridge across the tracks.
The bridge is designed as a sunny and green central square with seating spots, views and accessibility friendly ramps to the platforms, to reduce the railway’s barrier effect between the north and south parts of the city. The project also introduces a ‘Vestby loop’ as a ring road primarily for pedestrians and cyclists, defining the central urban core and creating new connections across the railway. Cars will only have limited access to the loop, which is mainly designed for soft road-users, and new parking facilities close to the centre ensure that it will not be dominated by cars in the same way it is now.
The healthy city
Vestby thus becomes one of the first cities where the station area constitutes the city’s ‘main street’ accommodating offices, businesses, shops and services as well as a mix of residential. The current large-scale roads are instead turned into streets, and convenient connections to public transport as well as a clear priority of pedestrian and bicycle traffic are creating the foundation for a healthy city.
Three teams were commissioned to draw up plans for the area, and Vestby municipality’s evaluation report now appoints C.F. Møller’s team to further develop the urban plan including the ‘Vestby loop’ and the new bridge. The other two teams that participated in the parallel commission were headed by Vandkunsten and PIR II Oslo / Everyday Studio.Souerce by C.F. Møller Architects.
Location: Vestby, Akershus, Oslo, Norway
Architects/urbanism: C.F. Møller Architects
Collaboration: JaJa architects
Traffic planning: TØI (Institute of Transport Economics)
Client: Vestby Municipality
Area: 27 ha.
Images: Courtesy of C.F. Møller Architects