Jan 2012 | R&D Projects

Ulstein Bridge Concept

This research project is financed by the owner Ulstein Power and Control, (Ulstein Group), the partner Kwant Controls and 50% by the Norwegian Research Council. The Oslo School of Architecture and Design was the leading institutional partner. The University College of Ålesund was also a partner in the project.

The project had a four-year life span and financed a PhD by Sigrun Lurås.

The goal of the project was to develop a concept for the ship bridge of the future. The bridge on a ship is the control center where all navigation is carried out.


ocean mistral

The main partner in this project was the Ulstein shipyard, an innovative actor in the shipbuilding industry. Ulstein is a family-owned shipbuilder with long traditions as well as innovation capability and willingness. To the left you see “OCEAN MISTRAL” an offshor supply-ship. The Ship bridge is seen at the top.

A successful design pilot, Ulstein Bridge Vision (UBV), financed by the Norwegian Design Council prepared the ground for a full R&D application to the MAROFF program of the Norwegian Research Council. The project started in April 2011. In UBC we were focussing on vessels for complex offshore operations, like supply vessels, anchor handling vessels and ships for subsea operations. These ships have in common that they have special needs for operation and the bridge hence is more complex than in other types of ships.

An early gigamapping workshop at Ulstein Power and Control. The workshop mapped out the innovation process of the company.

Systems Oriented Design is the main theoretical framework for addressing the super complexity involving the design of such control centers. This involves bringing together many technological systems on board, integrating products from a large number of sub-contractors, adapting to complex production processes, looking into safety regulations and ship class definitions etc.

But most central is the user-centred approach where information-design and the design of input systems is crucial for user comfort and experience but ultimately most important to increase safe operation.

The project also initiated the build-up of the Ocean Industries Concept Lab at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design.

Publications in the project relevant to SOD

Lurås, S. A different Systems Approach to Designing for Sensemaking on the Vessel Bridge. in Systems Engineering in Ship and Offshore Design Conference. 2012. London: Royal Institute of Naval Architects.

Sevaldson B., Paulsen A., Stokke M., Magnus K., Strømsnes J. Systems Oriented Design in Maritime Design. In Systems Engineering in Ship and Offshore Design Conference. 2012. London: Royal Institute of Naval

Lurås, S., & Nordby, K. (2013). Radical design processes for systemic change. Relating Systems Thinking and Design 2013 (RSD2). Oslo, Norway.

Kristiansen, H. (2014). Conceptual design as a driver for innovation in offshore ship bridge development. Maritime Transport VI, 386–398.Architects.

Lurås, S. (2016). Systems Intertwined: A Systemic View on the Design Situation. Design Issues, 32(3), 30–41.

SOD master projects done in the context of UBV pilot.

Maritime sector Projects in the wake of UBC

The main staff in the UBC project at AHO was:

Dr. Kjetil Nordby, Project Leader, Director of the Maritime Design Lab

Sigurd Winningstad, Designer

Sigrun Lurås, PhD candidate

Prof dr. Birger Sevaldson,