The K64 Keflavík Airport Area Master Plan, developed by a multidisciplinary team led by KCAP, has been officially announced. The master plan outlines a step-by-step strategy for transforming the peninsula on which Iceland's main airport is located into a growth location for sustainable innovations.
The master plan is of national importance to Iceland, KCAP's team argues. As a result, the team is proud of the official status of "K64," KCAP and Felixx (which is also part of the team) reveal. In late 2021, the multidisciplinary team won the competition to create the master plan. The international competition was organized by Keflavík Airport Development Company (Kadeco) with a view to developing the area around the airport.
Space for innovation
Keflavík International Airport is located on the Suðurnes peninsula, 50 km from the capital Reykjavík. The airport area, some 55 m2 in size, is strategically located between Europe and North America and includes the Reykjanes UNESCO Global Geopark. This makes the area ideally suited as a key growth location for sustainable innovation in the aviation, energy and technology sectors, according to the KCAP team.
The master plan named K64 - named after its location at the 64th northern latitude - is intended to be a catalyst for innovation in Iceland's economy, the team reports. "It is a grand project designed to develop this unique area to its full potential."
K64 outlines a step-by-step strategy that guides the transformation of the Suðurnes Peninsula over a longer period of time. With sustainable growth in mind, the master plan identifies three focus areas where economic activities and local communities can mutually reinforce each other.
Three focus areas
First, the plan proposes the Gateway to Iceland, an "inviting route" for visitors from the commercial and public Airport Forecourt to Aðalgata. The Aðalgata hub marks the entrance to the municipality of Reykjanesbær and, together with the adjacent logistics hub Diamond Gate, forms a dynamic district combining housing, community functions and R&D programs.
A second focus area the team sees on the southern edge of the airport. Here lies Ásbrú, which, as a campus-like area, will accommodate aviation activities and R&D, startups, light industry and, above all, an ambitious densification of the already existing residential function. The former NATO settlement will thus become a modern version of a lively village, according to the design team.
The third focus will be Helguvík, situated north of Reykjanesbær, as a hub for eco-industrial development. The existing port and manufacturing infrastructure will be transformed into a zone with a circular economy. This includes space for a construction hub and research facilities for sustainable jet fuel. Helguvík can play a pioneering role in the energy transition, for Iceland and beyond.
To ensure continuation of the initiative in the longer term, the plan provides for a single ecosystem, interweaving urban, landscape and mobility strategies. This connects, protects and enriches, according to the design team; moreover, it supports both the increase of business activities in the area and the growth of employment and population. Also, the plan strengthens the interaction between economic and social structures on the peninsula.
The urban framework prevents sprawl by keeping urban development compact and anchored in the existing building structure. By concentrating the airport-related activities around the airport, K64 has a clear spatial logic; at the same time, mixing functions is an important development principle.
Connection, energy, economy
Currently the various clusters are separated by a vast landscape; this will develop into a connecting 'peninsula park'. The starting point for the landscape strategy is reforestation. According to the KCAP team, this will create more comfortable (climatic) conditions for outdoor activities and bicycle networks.
More extensive ov connections for the entire peninsula and resilient transportation networks should improve local accessibility to urban nodes. Construction of a high-speed connection to Reykjavík will also connect the peninsula to the capital's mobility system.
The energy strategy aims to create locally diversified, carbon-neutral energy systems. At the same time, the strategy also focuses on innovative solutions as a basis for economic development in the medium to long term.
These spatial strategies are supported by economic strategies with industry, knowledge and cargo as cornerstones. Thus, a resilient and diverse industrial base can be established, business opportunities for green and high-tech activities can develop, and - according to the team with KCAP - an internationally attractive business destination for companies can emerge.
Master Plan K64 is the result of an intensive participatory process with a large group of stakeholders and has the political support of the local and national government. The multidisciplinary team led by KCAP further includes Felixx, WSP, MIC-HUB, VSO Consulting, Buck Consultants International, Buro Happold, Base Design, Maurits Schaafsma and Kanon Arkitektar.
The master plan will be presented at the upcoming Passenger Terminal Conference in Amsterdam and the MIPIM in Cannes.