Monday, December 29, 2014

JVA's Twin House, Oslo

Professor Jarmund Vigsnaes brought the Density in Trondheim Studio to look at progress on his firm's "Twin House".  The house, a cantilevering structure overlooking the fjord, contains a mirrored program for a pair of successful, yet seemingly inseparable identical twins.  While only two units, this type of packaged-program could easily expanded on in a different context.  The architecture, just like the twins, allows for points of deviation that is bounded by a unifying structure.  

A view from inside the western unit's combined living-room/ kitchen. The book shelf to the right follow's the diagonal strut of the structure's wooden truss system.  In this manner, inside living is bound to the tectonic expression of the house's exterior.

 The exposed wooden framing system provides opportunities for uniform, yet nontraditional window shape.  On a whole, the effect creates a type of half-timbered expression defined by the lightness of void rather than compression of masonry.  

Here is the chopping block floor of the house's upper level, a simple but variegated texture almost good enough to eat off of.

JVA Writer's Cabin Outside of Oslo

  A new cabin touches down from the future in suburban Oslo

As our studio came to a close, the class took a tour of some selected projects around the Oslo.  Though small in area and not particularly urban, the first project is an example of a nuanced approach to compact space.  This recently completed writer's cabin offers a retreat from the main residence.  The singular volume of the interior shifts to create a variety of spaces, ranging from a lazy loft to focused study area.  

above: approach and interior of loft window

 a retreat from the quaint, old and new profiles, paces and spaces

above:  window facing the end of the yard with train station beyond

with an fully glazed opening, natural light floods along the angled interior creating.  This view and light source looks out upon a neighboring train station.  The marked difference of the main residence and this cabin in design is further drawn-out by each building's respective orientation.  The red-gabled house possesses a warm and insular quality, while the cabin opens in view to a neighboring train station.  At the desk, the energy of arrival and departure is pulled through the cabin's volume.  This orientation at the very least offers a complementary respite and periodic flash of color to the insular focus of writing.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Back to THE FUTURE, phenomenology i Norge and the many moods of a boot

Then I began, as though  I had never seen my shoes before, to study their expression, their mime-like movements when I moved my toes, their shape, and the worn-out leather they had; and I discovered that their wrinkles and their white seams gave them an expression, provided them with a face.   Something of my own being had gone over into these shoes they struck me as being, a ghost of my “I,” A breathing part of myself.- Knut Hamsun, Hunger 1890....

I am writing a paper on Phenomenology and its role in the 
development of a specific Architectural quality within northern latitudes.  In this work I am also borrowing from my reading of one of the first modern novelists, the Norwegian Knut Hamsun.  This particular passage regarding a resonance between artifact and human nature just NOW reminded me of a drawing I did all the way  back in 2011.  Now I can firmly match the lines and words together.  This passage reaches much farther than the protagonist's impression of his footwear, but then again it is also about shoes. I was drawing these boots over and over again while on the Fishing Vessel Mt. Royal in South East Alaska.  In there various states of rigor its not impossible to read more than rubber seam, and while you may not be able to empathize with them as objects, perhaps their look might be able to smell.

The Coolest Dorm in Trondheim

The second half of October has been going well as I continue my studio work with JVA's Hakon Vigsnaes and the study of vernacular Norwegian architecture with professor Mathilde Simonsen Dahl.  The above schematic drawing of my project depicts a sectional overlapping of the new and old Trondheim.  The project, a high density student dorm, aims to embody the new possibles and efficiency in timber construction, while remaining rooted in the city's sense of place.  The below model is one of three that is being developed as massing tool. AHO the school has a strong Industrial design component and working with the staff I have been using their CNC milling machine to bring my digital models into physical form.  Though of course there is a huge separation in scale and scope, it is fitting that a project which would be realized in components of Milled-timber should also engage with the formal properties of the technology at schematic stage.  I think this is one of the strengths of UW's CBE and the architecture school at AHO, but the integration of new fabrication techniques needs to be pushed further to help realize new possibilities and efficiencies in construction.  From a pedagogical standpoint it seems problematic that the qualities of what could be are often predetermined by the technologies of the much smaller scale of model making. Are purely rectangular solids the best fit for many sites, or is it rather that these built works are a reflection of the ease at which one cuts these shapes by hand in foam?

This week I am beginning  a programmatic push-back on the ordered tectonic model that has been built.  Its all a big ebb and flow!

The following graphic is an exploded tectonic drawing of the scheme seen in the model above with an addition third wing.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Bergen Fish Market by Eder Biesel Arkitekter.

I spent almost two days at this building in August.  It was raining, of course, and it is from underneath this building that I drew a view of Bergen as seen in an earlier post.  This Structure has simple and tight sectional qualities that are perfect for this site's edge conditions.  While the building stoutly holds its volume, it also allows people to pass through and underneath it; moving from street to harbor, transit to statis.  As far as the program is concerned, the messy business of fish and produce is located below on street-level, while an information center sits fully enclosed atop this bustle.  Perched over the eastern-most extent of the harbor, the whole top-tier commands a generous view of historic Bergen.  The area directly towards the north east of the building is a nexus of activity where pedestrians and the modern movement of Rt. 585 pinches the water-bound trade routes of the Hanseatic League.  
Literally and in an extensional sense, this energy moves through the fish market's spaces.  In a cadenced move, Eder Biesel Arkitekter colored the building's  louvers a mustard yellow, rich burgandy and crisp white in an allusion to Bergen's Historic Bryggen.  While this modern building openly engages with the Brygeen buidlings across the harbor's inlet, it also confronts the use of Miesian motif in Bergen's centrally located Grieg Hall.  Along the glass facade of Grieg hall, taught steel members are drawn down in that familiar functional-ornamental fashion.  The Fish market posses a quite similar rhythm and proportions in its facade, however the tempered use of color makes the cold universalism of the modern detail both, present and warm.  Though the louvers are functional, they are also a loaded symbol.  By painting them in their historic colors, these member are made reposed; becoming a symbol upon a symbol in a rich interplay of historicism.