K64 Keflavík Airport Area Masterplan by KCAP wins the 2023 The Plan Award

Located 50 km away from the capital Reykjavík, the Suðurnes peninsula with Keflavík International Airport is Iceland’s most emblematic gateway. Sitting at the crossroads of Europe and North America, home to the Reykjanes UNESCO Global Geopark, the airport area is exceptionally well suited to become one of the leading developments for sustainable innovation in the aviation, energy and technology sectors.

Codenamed K64 – for it straddles the 64th parallel north – the Keflavik Airport Area Masterplan aims to be a catalyst for innovating the Icelandic economy. It’s a grand project designed to develop the full potential of this unique territory and explore untapped opportunities in relation to the global challenges of the future.

Image © KCAP

Building on its privileged position at the intersection of the northern Atlantic routes and banking on the Icelandic progressive way of thinking, K64 aims to converge influxes of people, assets and technologies toward a forward-looking environment, specifically designed to foster partnership, creativity and knowledge.

K64 proposes an incremental strategy to steer the long-term transformation of the Suðurnes peninsula. To set the path for sustainable growth, focus areas for development are defined that mutually reinforce economic activities and local communities:

Image © KCAP

1. The aptly named Gateway to Iceland traces a welcoming journey starting from the commercial and visitor amenities of the Airport Forecourt all the way up to the Aðalgata area, a nodal point marking the entrance to the city of Reykjanesbær,. Together with the adjacent Diamond Gate logistics hub, Aðalgata is forming a highly dynamic district mixing residential, community and R&D programs.

2. On the southern edge of the airport, Ásbrú is thought to become a campus-like area, fostering aviation activities and R&D, start-up programmes, light industries and most of all an ambitious residential densification, that turns the former NATO settlement into a neighbourhood in its own right, a modern take on the cosy, lively village.

Image © KCAP

3. North of Reykjanesbær, the focus area of Helguvík will do the heavy lifting in terms of eco-industrial development, converting the existing port and manufacturing infrastructures to create a circular-economy environment comprising a construction hub and a Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) facility, with the potential to spearhead energy transition in Iceland and beyond.

To sustain the K64 initiative over time, urban design, landscape and mobility strategies intertwine in an ecosystem that connects, protects, and enhances while supporting activity and population and employment growth. It fosters stronger synergies between the economic and social fabrics of the peninsula.

Image © KCAP

The urban framework is preventing sprawl by proposing compact urban development anchored on the existing build-up context. It establishes a distinct spatial logic for airport related activities around the airport, while it strives for the mixing of uses as a development principle. The vast landscape that currently separates the clusters will grow into a uniting peninsula park.

The landscape strategy takes the concept of afforestation as its basic premise to mitigate the harsh climate conditions and create comfortable conditions that allow for outdoor activities and cycling networks. Increased public transport services – including a peninsula wide DRT offer – and resilient transport networks improve the local connectivity between the urban nodes. A high-speed connection to Reykjavík through a KRL line embeds the archipelago into the capital’s mobility system.

Image © KCAP

The energy strategy strives for diversification and decarbonisation of local energy systems while generating economic development with innovative solutions for the mid to long term. These spatial strategies are underpinned by economic strategies for industries, knowledge and cargo development to create a resilient and diverse industrial base, develop business opportunities for green and hi-tech activities, and ultimately create an international competitive business destination.

The masterplan went through an intense participatory process with a large group of stakeholders, and has political support by the local and national government. Anouk Kuitenbrouwer, partner at KCAP, states that “working on the spatial and economic master plan over the past year has been an incredible journey. We hope that the joy and inspiration we have experienced in collaborating as a team and with the many stakeholders translated into a robust plan for this ambitious long-term endeavour.” Source by KCAP.

Image © KCAP

Location: Keflavík, Iceland

Architect: KCAP

Landscape: Felixx Landscape Architects & Planners

Real estate development: WSP

Mobility and transport planning: MIC-HUB

Consulting economy, mobility and urban planning: VSO Consulting, Reykjavík

Cargo strategy: Buck Consultants International, Nijmegen/The Hague

Climate and aviation mitigation and energy strategy: Buro Happold

Place branding: Base Design

Consulting airport area master planning: Maurits Schaafsma

Consulting urban planning and landscape architect: Kanon Arkitektar

Client: Kadeco (Keflavík Airport Development Company)

Program: Strategic masterplan for the development of the Keflavík Airport Area

Year: 2023

Images: PLOMP, Courtesy of KCAP

Image © KCAP

Master Plan

Site Plan

Landscape Identity

Afforestation sequence


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