Located in Norway, Powered by Ulsteinvik by Kaleidoscope Nordic looks like it could be a science fiction movie set. But this is no story. This is what the future of design may look like.

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An illustration of a seaside town.

Over a hundred nominations worldwide were submitted, but this design is the winner of the 2021 Architizer A+Awards. It’s creative, modern and self-sufficient. This project is a strategy for a small Norwegian town. The idea is to work with and harness the natural cycles and energy flow of the area, while still providing a pretty place to live, work and spend time.

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The design will create meeting spaces, open up connections to the water and increase accessibility for pedestrians. The design includes a town center with a multi-purpose square, a cultural heritage building and gathering space for all to use.

A colorful multi-level building with a light green frame.

Autonomous electric buses will keep everyone connected. A smart-grid with plug-in modules will power the town with renewable energy. The grid is fed with the “SmartPergola” system, in which city roofs, businesses and meeting places have photovoltaic modules to help power the energy grid. Everything is interconnected.

This power system is why the project is known as Powered by Ulsteinvik.
If you follow the complex’s blue path, you’ll make your way to a seafront promenade. The inner part of this marina area will become an activity center with autonomous boats and automated fishing rods for digital learning.

An intricate, interconnected wood frame.

Three main concepts will combine to create this amazing space: the central SMARTHUB, the Generation Gardens in Ulshaugen and the Circular Neighborhoods in Holsekerdalen. SMARTHUB includes a town hall, business center, cafe and innovation lab for public use. The exterior is built with photovoltaic panels that provide electricity to feed the grid.

The Generation Gardens have several facilities, including a kindergarten, a young club and health services offices. There are sheltered courtyards here where children can play.

A close-up of the facade of a building with an intricate, interconnected wood frame.

The Circular Neighborhoods in Holsekerdalen are a new housing concept. These buildings harvest rainwater, which is transferred to the balcony plant beds. This allows residents to grow their own food. There’s also a growhouse, a common greenhouse with a kitchen. Here, everyone can cook and eat together after harvesting ingredients for the meal.

+ Kaleidoscope Nordic

Images via Kvant-1