Landscape Healing

Since the early 2000s, 3RW arkitekter has used architecture skills to structure the process of restoring vast areas of land, owned by the Norwegian Defense Estates Agency (NDEA), who have used these for military training.  Within a team of historians, archaeologists, scientists, engineers, politicians and soldiers, 3RW arkitekter play a central role in using architectural methods for the re-imagining of these spaces for restored nature and other societal uses.

Landscape Healing is awarded the DOGA Mark for excellent design, and the DOGA Honorary Award. This is the highest recognition of design in Norway.

‘Landscape Healing’ is part of a body of work 3RW arkitekter has been engaged with since the early 2000s. It consists in the restoration of huge areas of land across Norway owned by the NDEA, containing polluted soil and water, unexploded ordnance, and abandoned buildings, after decades of military training activities. The purpose of the project has been to restore these areas back to a state that they can be accessible to the public. When completed, this national undertaking will constitute one of the biggest environmental restoration initiatives in Norwegian history, and will free up more than 20.000 hectares of nature.

The NDEA has for a long time been the largest real estate owner in Norway. Since the end of the cold war however, structural changes to its organization were made following a series of political decisions to reshape the military institutions to a much smaller, highly mobile and specialized capacity.

In the early 2000s, the Defence Sector’s real estate portfolio included 1,4 million decares of land—many of them former military training areas, that had suffered significant ecological damage due to the type of activities being carried out on the landscape. As part of the turnaround process, a large number of these would be restored as safe nature areas to be sold or given back to landowners such as municipalities and farmers.

This endeavor was only possible by mobilizing a diverse group of professions for the first time working together. 3RW arkitekter has since been strategic consultant and formulated visions for what the different areas can be in the future, carried out architectural investigations, and gathered knowledge to provide new kinds of evidence for the safe management and re-use of former military sites. 3RW arkitekter’s key role has been to bring input from different disciplines together. Since then, they have worked on 27 sites to be restored.

Projects such as ‘Landscape Healing’ are imperative to preserve habitats and species, increase the environment’s ability to adapt to climate change, provide opportunities for humans to enjoy nature, safeguard natural heritage and contribute with spatial qualities for future generations.

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