Student Village Prepared for the Future

Stikkord: Klimatilpasning, nedbør, flom, Oslo

Bjølsen Student Village in Oslo is a good example of how to prepare for a wetter future climate. These measures, for example the introduction of water surfaces and green lungs, also improve the local area.

Bjølsen Student Village in Oslo is a good example of how to prepare for a wetter future climate. These measures, for example the introduction of water surfaces and green lungs, also improve the local area.

Extreme weather is becoming more and more common, which means that we need an overall perspective when planning city and housing development. In Bjølsen Student Village solutions that are both functional and contribute to a better urban environment have been introduced. The water caused by heavy rain is being used as a resource instead of a problem.

In nature, water sinks through ground and sand. A great deal of water will also be absorbed by vegetation in green lungs, parks and gardens. But in impervious areas, like on tarmac, the water will flow on the surface and tend to gather in streams and drains.

This can increase the danger of flooding because the capacity in water management facilities is not good enough. In the future it is expected that precipitation in the Oslo region will increase 10–20% as a result of climate change, and that heavy rain showers will be more frequent.

Water Surface, Lilies and Ducks in the Student Village

Bjølsen Student Village has prepared for local handling of surface water through channels and a retention basin. Because of the existing pressure on the drainage system in the area, the student village was developed to ensure that surface water from the covered areas would not create additional pressure on the drainage system.

In the student village rainwater from roofs and squares is gathered and led in open channels to the retention basin. The basin is designed as a long channel, 55 metres long and 3,5 metres wide, are located in the centre of the village. It is designed to store 110 cubic metres of water and will reduce the pressure on the system considerably. Broken bricks are used as a cover, and because the bricks are permeable, they aid in absorbing the water.

In addition to the water handling advantage, this arrangement with water surfaces and green lungs gives the area a pleasant character. The vegetation on the edge of the channel is a mix of Hosta, Gladiolus, Daylily and Siberian Iris. Water insects have settled in the channel, and Koi carps have been introduced both as an attraction and to catch mosquito larvae. Ducks have also visited the channel.

Climate Adaptation for a Better Urban Environment

In general, the introduction of water and vegetation in a sterile urban environment will increase welfare. Therefore, the development of urban areas adjusted to handle the negative effects of climate change will contribute to a better urban environment.

Bjølsen Student Village was designed by Telje–Torp–Aasen Architectural Bureau AS (now LMR Architecture AS) and Snøhetta AS and was awarded «The Building of the Year» prize from Byggeindustriens landsforbund (Building Industry Association).