Repositioning The Remote
kelly doran, louis hall, ross langdon, ana reis
Vardø is intrinsically linked to the Barentsz Sea. The future of the Arctic waters will drive the development or decline of this isolated urban enclave. Historically an Arctic outpost of exploration, expansion, logistics, militarism and industry, Vardø’s relationship with the Sea has continuously evolved to suit changing economic and political paradigms. Geographically, Vardø’s unique location has constantly been reframed to adapt to these changes; the edge of the Viking expansion, the midpoint of Pomor trade, the end of Norway, a Cold War front, a surveillance centre and now the “Closest Point” to offshore oil production. As this frame shifts further north towards receding ice sheets, Arctic shipping lanes , offshore oil fields and ecological transformation, Vardø is poised to redefine its relationship to the Barentsz once more. Simultaneously at the end, edge and centre, Vardø will reposition itself to inform the future of the Barentsz Sea.
By analyzing Vardø’s horizons and establishing a set of development principles that will adapt themselves to a range of economic possibilities, the Vardø harbour can reposition itself to inform the future of the Barentsz Sea. Immediately, a set of cultural buildings and spaces inserted into the harbour front can serve to regenerate the civic life of the area and attract new users to the community. With the next era of Norwegian energy production set to exploit reserves proximate to Vardø, the harbour will act to service the industry while protecting the fragile ecology of the region. Beyond the oil horizon, Vardø must create new means of production, and utilise the harbour as the centre of a post-carbon economy. By revitalizing existing industrial structures with cultural program, regenerating the water’s edge through marine infrastructures and colonising interstitial spaces with new modes of ecological production, the Vardø habour will again become the centre of public and private life.