Winners of Sustainable building competition, Chalmers
​1st Prize! “LIVING EDGES” from left to right: students: Gabija Zakarauskaite, Ignacio Ramirez Verdyguer, Kaj Norberg and Sandra Moberg + jury: Audun Opdal, Staffan Bolminger, Adelina Lundell and Andrea Hulting Gustavsson.​

Urban Edges - Masthuggskajen

​Sustainable building competition 2018: Winners of 1st Prize! “LIVING EDGES” Gabija Zakarauskaite, Ignacio Ramirez Verdyguer, Kaj Norberg and Sandra Moberg.

The awards


1st Prize! 25.000 SEK
Sandra Moberg, Kaj Norberg, Ignacio Ramirez Verdyguer and Gabija Zakarauskaite


2nd Prize! 10.000 SEK
Josefin Eliasson, Therese Svensson and Cajsa Tingdal


3rd Prize! 5.000 SEK
Karolina Bloch, Sophie Hjertqvist, Emmi Olsson and Malin Persson​

The Competition has been running as a Studio (ARK350) in the Master's Programmes "Design for Sustainable Development" and "Structural Engineering and Building Performance Design". The participants are interdisciplinary teams of students from Chalmers led by representatives of the Copenhagen based architectural studio GXN Innovation.

A site and a client

The goal of the competition has been to generate ideas and design proposals as well as sustainability strategies for an urban block in Masthuggskajen. The City of Gothenburg will undergo huge changes in the coming years as the old industry harbour is redeveloped, including Masthuggskajen. A preliminary plan for Masthuggskaja prioritises sustainability, a dynamic social life and connections to the existing city and infrastructures including Masthuggsterassen, Långgator and Linnaeus city, amongst others.

The western part of this plan is to be developed by Älvstranden Utveckling into a high-density, mixed use development, encompassing housing, early‐years education, a mobility hub and athletics facilities. The goal opf the competition was to investigate how these functions and this site could be transformed into an innovative, truly sustainable and inspiring new quarter for Gothenburg.

Prior to the competition, Älvstranden Utveckling had a volumetric proposal developed for the site, suggesting functions and density. The students where given the freedom to challenge the scheme, and suggest alternative urbanistic, functional and sustainability strategies to achieve the ambition for the site.

The Jury

An external Jury was chosen from the very start in September 2017, consisting of representatives of Älvstranden Utveckling, Gothenburg City Planning Office and of 3XN partner in Copenhagen. The following persons met on January the 14th as members of the Jury:
  • Audun Opdal, Architect, Partner 3XN architects, Copenhagen. (chair of the jury)
  • Staffan Bolminger, Process leader Sustainable Innovation (engineer), co-owner FOG Innovation
  • Adelina Lundell, Process leader, Social sustainability specialist, Älvstranden utveckling, Gothenburg City
  • Andrea Hulting Gustavsson, Architect, Gothenburg City Planning Office

The jury has been meeting, after the presentation of the proposals, on January the 14th to discuss the entries and freely decide on a number of awards to be announced on the same day. The jury has had a total amount of 40.000 SEK at its disposal.​

The jury’s assessment and used criteria for evaluation

The jury was generally impressed with the level of ambition, and the amount of work put forward by the groups. The discussions focused on how the projects in different ways aimed achieving urban qualities via edge zones and thresholds, in a dense urban setting with the demands for a large parking structure, as well as pre-school and residential components. The students presented several different approaches that illustrated how water management, urban nature, spontaneous social meeting spots as well as architectural form could solve the challenging site and contextual difficulties.

The jury tried as much as possible to focus on the ‘Evaluation Criteria’ stated in the Competition brief. These are:
  1. Good collaboration
  2. Good esthetic standard
  3. Integration of holistically sustainable design
  4. Strength of value proposition – especially regarding edge zones
  5. Level of realizability

The entries

The entries generally kept the main intentions from Älvstrandens scheme, with a large parking structure towards north, an open park towards east as well as a mix of preschool, student housing and residential units. The density of the proposals varied greatly. Some groups had changed the volume, and redistributed in order to get more daylight into the courtyard, and to create areas that with informal qualities. A general theme was the work with rainwater management in surface solutions such as rain gardens and wetland areas. This was generally used to create aesthetic and social qualities. A main challenge in the competition was how to activate the urban space by creating inviting and varied edge zone conditions. The winning proposals can generally be said to have solved this in a qualified way.​

1st Prize!

This proposal responds positively to all the challenges given by the Competition. The project shows the result of possible collaborative strategies between the different competencies required. The proposal is convincing in showing in depth technical analysis on how to collect and store water, produce energy and especially disassemble the parking house and introduce residential units in a future scenario. Furthermore, the approach to a varied landscape of edge conditions are inspiring and well conceived. The architectural approach is simple and robust, and stems from a solid analysis of architectural typologies in the area as well as focus on the human scale.

2nd Prize!

The project is well worked out in the urban context and had the strongest concept for connecting the proposed food roof with the urban realm. Furthermore, this project is the only one to properly bridge to the water, and create an interesting concept for how to activate the river front, which is appreciated by the jury. The project was therefore acknowledged for its urbanistic approach and interesting architecture. However the project had shortcomings in convincingly explaining the sustainability approach besides water handling, and proposed to increase the density on the site, which was not conceived as a good idea.

3rd Prize!

This project focus on the concept of activity, as an urban strategy of engaging citizens across ages and interests. The project proposed an alternative approach to the arrival of the site, with an elevated café a top the tram stop and a landscape bridge connecting various levels of the site. The main diagram thus highlighted three axis in the project, which was the main conceptual approach combined with the activities. The project has its strength in the alternative approach to the site, as well as a strong concept for the parking roof. Also the graphic style of the proposal was noted as a positive by the jury. The project had its shortcomings in the clearness of the concept, which was interesting but lacked a convincing story of the qualities behind the large elevated landscape.​

Published: Fri 15 Feb 2019.