Green park fingers allow people to move across the entire Fornebu area. From the cycle path between the Tower Plaza and the Central Pond.
The new Nansen Park was opened in September 2008. The park is part of an extensive transformation of Fornebu, Norway’s former main airport just outside Oslo. Closure of the airport in 1998 freed up an enormous area of land, enabling one of the largest clearance and redevelopment projects in the country. An entirely new community is to be developed, complete with dwellings, services and infrastructure, and in the middle of it a large unifying recreation area, the Nansen Park.
The area is situated on a peninsula with wide open spaces surrounded by the sea and by Oslo’s hilly landscape. Guiding principles for the design of the park have been the experience of tranquillity, beautiful views and harmonious forms, coupled with opportunities for physical recreation. The landscape architects have attempted to restore the soft, organic forms of the original landscape in dynamic interaction with the taut, straight lines of the former airport.
The old airport control tower and the former terminal building to the north constitute “Tower Square”, which forms the entry point to the park. From here, a watercourse runs from north to south throughout the length of the park, receiving the surface water from adjacent housing areas and roads. Open green channels and swales have been established to carry the water down to a central lake, where it is purified by biological sand filters, mechanical strainers and pumps.
Other collection points are the “Festival Plaza” and the “Strip”, with clear reference to the former runway. The Strip has been formed by layering various materials characteristic of Fornebu’s geology. Broad granite steps lead down to the lake, which is flanked by a broad wooden deck, a strip of river pebbles and an area of polished concrete embedded with green runway lights. The Festival Plaza has a floor of large, bevelled granite flagstones. To the south, the floor slopes evenly down into the lake.
A large amphitheatre is available for performances of various kinds, or just as a quiet place to sit. There are plans for a café adjacent to the Festival Plaza.
Seven arms of the park, with widths varying from 30 to 100 metres, reach out in all directions, enabling people to move around all over Fornebu. Various recreational activities have been located in these arms, such as sand volleyball courts, adventure playground, a large climbing net and wooden sitting, running and rolling elements. The various parts of the Nansen Park are connected by a network of walkways/cycleways as well as narrow gravelled paths.
A strong ecological profile forms the foundation for the whole transformational process. Polluted grounds have been cleaned. Asphalt and concrete have been retrieved and reused. New soil for cultivation has been made from masses from the site, with the addition of composted sewer sludge. Large volumes of earth and rock have been moved within the Fornebu area in order to transform the flat airport area into a landscape with different spatial qualities. Importance has been attached to using eco-labelled materials. Future maintenance is also to be carried out in accordance with ecological principles.