Holmestrand Station receives honourable mention for universal design


The Innovation Award for Universal Design aims to promote and honour some of Norway's most inclusive, user-friendly and sustainable innovation projects. Holmestrand Station received an honourable mention at this year’s award ceremony.

Gottlieb Paludan Architects headed the technically demanding task of designing a new high-speed train station deep in the mountain at the Norwegian coastal town of Holmestrand. Universal design and wayfinding were crucial aspects of the design strategy for the station, which is accessed via a pedestrian tunnel in the heart of Holmestrand as well as a lift bringing passengers the 75 metres from the top of the mountain and down into the station.

The new station has enhanced the accessibility and cohesion of Holmestrand, making it attractive to both business developers and people looking for a home that is close to an area of natural beauty, yet still within commuting distance of Oslo. On 19 January 2021, the project received an honourable mention for its beautiful and innovative design.

According to panel member and head of category for transport, Torstein Aa, the motivation for the honour was that “great emphasis was placed on designing the station so that users could feel as safe as possible inside a mountain with high-speed trains rushing through. With clever use of lighting, sound-absorbing acoustics, intelligent choice of materials, undulating shapes and ceilings that break the monotony, the architects have created good accessibility and good experiences.”

The unusual station project, which was developed in collaboration with Bane Nor, Rambøll Norge, Skanska and NorBetong, has received great recognition since its completion in 2016. In 2017, it was awarded the Norwegian concrete award Betongtavlen (‘The Concrete Tablet’) for its exemplary use of concrete. The station was named best outdoor project at the 2018 Norwegian Lighting Award ceremony and was nominated for the Nordic Lighting Design Award in 2020.

For each of the eight categories of the Innovation Award, a winner may be selected as well as a recipient of an honourable mention. This year, a total of six category awards and four honourable mentions were awarded. A panel of judges, consisting of eleven practising architects, designers and other industry professionals, chose to award an honourable mention to Holmestrand Station for the category of transport.

Fotos: Tove Lauluten