Revolutionary urban planning in Økern
Thanks to the AI design and analysis tool, qualities such as wind, sun, daylight, noise, and outdoor areas have been explored in countless variants of the planning approach since 2019, when the decision was made to update the zoning plan. On 22 February, the plan proposal was sent to Oslo Municipality’s Planning and Building Agency for initial review.
Økern Sentrum is one of the largest and most important urban development projects in Oslo, with a plan area of around 90,000 m² in the heart of the Økern public transport hub. Since the start-up meeting in September 2019, there has been a good process with the municipality for establishing an urban structure and creating attractive urban spaces in Økern to turn it into the “capital” of Hovinbyen. Early on, studies were conducted into how the Refstadbekken and Hovinbekken streams could be reopened. At the same time, the project has placed considerable emphasis on optimising the qualities of residential and commercial areas.
A team of architects and landscape architects from A-lab, urban planners and specialists from Sweco, and developers from Økern Sentrum came together in interdisciplinary work meetings to collaborate effectively on a 3D model in the Spacemaker platform. The combination of human evaluations and professional expertise with raw and smart computing power made a powerful contribution to a smooth development process and the improved quality of the project.
“In Spacemaker, we can easily test design hypotheses and produce analysis results in just a few minutes, all visualised in the 3D model. The work meetings in Spacemaker combined human expertise with raw computing power. This contributed to a smooth development process and provided us with a good basis for further work and quality assurance of the plan,” says Peter Fossum
“The conclusions from the work meeting and the results from Spacemaker were important for a series of adjustments made by A-lab to the original algorithm-driven building designs. This emphasised the potential for combining artificial intelligence with interdisciplinary collaboration,” explains Pål Erik Olsen, associate partner at A-lab.
Developing high-quality urban spaces
Spacemaker has been actively used to test, analyse, and optimise the qualities of urban spaces. The tool has been important in the early exploratory phases in order, for instance, to incorporate the high-rise block and the Refstadbekken and Hovinbekken streams into the new urban street structure. The project’s quarters and building volumes have been carefully adapted and analysed to ensure good daylight and noise conditions, for example. The process has explored how the potential of both the site and the area can be utilised while ensuring high-quality housing and urban spaces. With up to 1,500 homes, the project will make a significant contribution to increasing Oslo’s housing stock (half of Oslo’s annual needs) and thus help to ease pressure on Oslo’s housing market.
“Spacemaker is a powerful tool that is especially useful for early investigation phases. It enables you to reach your goal a little faster,” says Fossum.
“Økern Sentrum is an impressive project that is working towards a quality-driven result. The project legitimises Spacemaker’s vision of creating better and more dynamic urban spaces through the efficient use of technology and data. In addition, the project group has been a good partner for our product team and has given us valuable feedback on and insight into how the platform can be used in major development projects in a way that involves the majority of stakeholders,” explains Håvard Haukeland, founder of Spacemaker and senior director of Autodesk, which recently bought the company.