Nordhavn (viii): some miscellany

Nordhavn definitely appealed to me more than Orestad.

A big part of that is scale. Another part is that it seemed less out to impress me with “oh wow” buildings. Especially when those buildings are set apart (“big buildings in a park”) at the cost of any sense of local. Nordhavn buildings are tight together, with some interspersed starchitecture that seemed to shout look at me while also managing to integrate into the fabric.

Here are some miscellaneous observations that didn’t make it into the previous stories.

That buildings can be designed for purposes of other than pedestrian comfort, I get that. But this heavy, oppressive entry …

The road curves to the right. Trucks and vehicles will tend to crowd the curb. A nailed down metal barrier helps keep vehicles and cycles separated to the safety and social comfort of both. Thoughtful:

The Metro is arriving, albeit after many people have moved in. Better late than never. Ottawa is fortunate to have TWO metro stations on the Flats, a museum, two monuments, two parks, historic buildings … but still the development stalls …

Many of the apartments seem to be made of precast concrete panels. The floors are also panelized, leaving conspicuous seams across ceilings.

Balconies are bolted on, avoiding a break in the insulated skin of the building:

Little segments of wire are set into the concrete (enlarge the picture). These will be used to hold insulation batts / bricks in place:

Although this peek at an end wall wasn’t inspiring. I hope these batts are tidied up, and gaps filled, as the insulation turns the corner. But still, all the joints line up allowing lots of air infiltration. Uninspiring:

As in Clichy Batignolles, cement is made on site, with materials trucked to the site, rather than from a remote plant and brought onsite by a cement mixing truck:

A different type of balcony supports:

Throughout the new development, coffee shops appear quickly. Often with outdoor tables and wind breaks. They add instant atmosphere and character. I regret that Ottawa’s LeBreton project included only a single storefront that remains empty. Is the rent too high? Maybe it should be considered a marketing feature rather than a profit centre, at least until there is sufficient mass to support a real business.

Vines on walls really soften hard surfaces and pavements:

This waterfront is bound to attract people as a destination, not just residents. The City of Ottawa collects park fees from LeBreton but what has it provided? In contrast, residents of Zibi will find an island park already planted and established before the first apartments are finished. Go see it. In May.

Orestad had “checklist” urbanism. Pathways – Check. Parks – Check. Transit in the middle – Check. Pedestrian spaces – Check. But somehow it just didn’t come together the way it does at Nordhavn, where for the most part the resultant spaces look and feel inviting.




Thank you for reading. So what do you think?