Friday, September 7, 2012

European Village in Bo01

I can't even tell you how awesome yesterday afternoon was.  I don't even think I can put it into words.  but since this is a blog I guess I have to try (but I will use pictures too).  and, I must warn you in advance, there is so much to say that this story will need to be broken into several parts.  the first part is the European Village in Bo01 in Vastra Hamnen.
european village in Bo01 in Vastra Hamnen, Malmo looking north along the canal
european village in Bo01 in Vastra Hamnen, Malmo looking north along the canal
I must start my story by first thanking Roland Zinkernagel, EU Coordinator and Sustainability Strategist who works for the city of Malmo on Urban Development and Climate issues in the Envrionment Department.  Roland was my tireless tour guide and walked me through Bo01, Bo02, Bo03, and Bo04 which is most of Vastra Hamnen.  he showed me what has been done over the last decade and what is ongoing now.  he explained every little detail and answered all of my questions.  he did all of this in perfect english and with a smile for three hours!  he was an excellent tour guide and a great guy to talk with about the past, the present, and the future of Malmo and of sustainable cities and neighborhoods.
european village in Bo01 in Vastra Hamnen, Malmo looking south along the canal
European Village looking south along the canal
Bo01 was dubbed "the city of tomorrow" by Malmo planners at the tail end of the 1990's as they prepared to showcase their new masterplan for Vastra Hamnen (the western harbor) and a tiny piece of it (called Bo01) developed as housing.  with it's narrow carfree streets twisting and turning like a medieval maze, water features cleaning rainwater and depositing it calmly back into the sea, and beautifully crafted houses of all shapes, sizes, and colors, Bo01 is a truly unique experiment.
european village in Bo01 in Vastra Hamnen, Malmo looking east along the canal
European Village looking east
the goal of this neighborhood, sponsored in part by the European Union, in part by the country of Sweden, and in part by the city of Malmo, was to showcase how neighborhoods could be in the city of tomorrow, how comfort and convenience and healthy living could be primary and how sustainable design, practices, and systems could make it all possible.  the place was based on ideals and built with more unknowns than ever before.  the goal was to make this showcase a permanent fixture in the brownfield Vastra Hamnen, a windy, desolate, crumbling shipyard and industrial neighborhood more than 20 years past its dying days.
european village in Bo01 in Vastra Hamnen, Malmo looking west along the canal
European Village looking west
this neighborhood, of course, had many unique features making it, as is always the case, different than many others interested in applying identical strategies.  first, and most importantly, the city had slowly bought back the land of Vastra Hamnen from the industrial and shipbuilding companies as they retreated or simply vanished.  so the land was mostly owned by the city.  because of this land ownership, the city had the opportunity to create a masterplan and develop the requirements for the request for proposals to be as they wanted, as strict and cutting edge as anything that had been done before anywhere in the world.  they created the masterplan and the RFPs with direct involvement of myriad of experts across many disciplines, including architects, planners, developers, land use specialists, engineers of all kinds, and landscape architects (just to name a few).
Norwegian House.  one of the 15 show houses of the original European Village
norwegian (?) house on the corner at the southeast end of the European Village.  inside there are moveable walls that can be adjusted by hand, dividing the house plan into a grid of four sectors.  the south wall is completely transparent.
what emerged was a grand vision, a new idea about how a city neighborhood could be, unique in style, in strategy, and in statement.  the statements were clear and strong.  this was to be a place of limited car access, an experimental neighborhood rich with untested ideas and methods.  it would be more holistic, integrated, and more energy conscious than anything that had ever been done in Malmo and beyond.  and they would sell these apartments at market rate to consumers looking to be part of something different, better.  looking for a chance to live in an undeveloped place, wanting to be part of the future instead of part of the past.
garden shed for each of the European Village houses
garden shed for each of the European Village houses.  people store bikes and gardening supplies in these little huts.  I was hoping that they were saunas!
the first piece in the heart of Vastra Hamnen and on the edge of Bo01, is the European Village.  in this area a famous or well known architect was selected from each of 15 countries to design a house/ apartment that showcased style, aesthetic, and architecture of his/ her country of origin.  the architects reflected regional characteristics from their homeland while adapting the buildings to the climate and conditions of the site and showcasing sustainable techniques and strategies.  each house was to have access to a view of the water and because this area was not on the ocean, a canal was built running through the village.
a more typical "filler" house in between the 15 show houses of the original European Village
one of the "filler" houses (not one of the original 15 show houses)
because there were only 15 showcase houses built in the European Village, the empty plots in between were filled after the 2001 European Housing Exposition with series houses adjoining each other and connecting to the show houses.  finally, the north end of the Village was capped with a larger, more typical apartment building.  besides the houses themselves, each plot of land has a little yard facing the canal, a garden shed, and some outdoor amenities such as furniture, flowers, and in one case, a deck that sits out on the canal itself.
climbing vines along a more newly built "filler" building at the north end of the European Village
climbing vines along a more newly built "filler" building at the north end of the European Village
that's all the time I have now.  I will write more about other parts of Bo01 and the rest of Vastra Hamnen when I can.  oh, and just in case you were wondering what I think of this little area.  yes, I think it is awesome.

1 comment:

  1. looks amazing! can't wait to see it all for myself!