Bridging Between Geometry and Narrative
Sophie Grédiac, Louis Lacrocq, Adrien Rouchet & Dimitri Savitchev
A counter-relief interpretation of the city of Copenhagen
Water, in its richness and complexity shapes the cartographic representations of Copenhagen. This work aims at presenting a counter-relief analysis of Copenhagen through water, its currents, flows, limits, to reveal how it shapes the territory, steeps in mental images and everyday life. We take into account the space and time scale to assess how the territory is going to evolve and make future scenarios. The future perspective of the coast is subject to climate data. It faces global warming, a predicted rise of the sea level of an average of one meter fifty in the next hundred years. If climate research continues and adapts to the forecast changes, we should focus on how to invest the coast. The future fluctuation of the coast must be taken into account in any long-term project and compels to make strategic choices. We choose to develop two positions about the rise of the water.
The defensive position on Kystagerparken with a Nautic Center and public facilities :
Kystagerparken, is a 24-hectare park which forms the western boundary of the Bay of Kalveboderne. It is the result of land reclamation, it now has a natural character with a low, dense vegetation.Our posture would be to strengthen the existing structures and to reinforce them with a new defense system, which allows managing water courses while claiming a landscape continuity and enhancing the bay by the development of recreational, sporting and cultural areas. The project is thought as a dumb mass put in balance on various volumes which creates a void beneath it. The upper chamber is made of stained concrete cast on location and tinged in the mass, outside and inside, to make the structure more visible and express itself. The used materials for the ground floor are aluminum and iridescent white ceramic. Those have a dialogue with the close context and the particular light of Scandinavia by reflecting their changeable aspect and by conferring on the space an immaterial and abstract identity. This way, the seemingly floating box, 2.80m from the ground, creates a horizontal window open on the landscape near the harbor and the distant landscape, the sea.
Assimilation & fallback with a Data Center Tower :
The lands of Kalvebod Faelled, on the island of Amager compose the limit of the Bay of Kalveboderne. These are the result of a blocking with sand made during World War II.To anticipate the rise in waters in a mutable territory we imagine a program which corresponds to waiting and watching. The hybridization of two programs (data center, laboratories) gives to the building its physical and digital sanctuary identity. It’s a place where knowledge is shared and transmitted. This tower becomes a retreat for researchers, students and any other person wishing to live a unique experience. The project offers a limited ground grip, so as to distort the least possible the fragile territory in which it is anchored. It occupies a 25 meter square. The building idea meets the simplicity with which the spaces are designed. A concrete base allows anchoring the project in its territory, like a post. In its lower part, it allows to keep the rest of the building out of water. In the rest of the building, it includes in its thickness technical spaces and vertical flows. A light metal structure is stapled on the periphery of the crown and supports digital storage arrays, whose floors’ gratings make free cooling ventilation possible. This thickness is used as an external insulation to regulate the indoor heat of the building. The center of the project is made of a floor box whose loads are distributed on the four sides of the wearer coronation concrete. From these interior spaces, on the different sides of the building, we can contemplate the far and close landscape through large openings.
Who influences you graphically?
The project was born out of a vast collection of references, which acted as precedents to the project but also gave a cultural base for us to assimilate to. We think this work of assimilation allows us to anchor the project in a cultural and historical context. Those influences come from many artistic fields, such as painting, cinema, photography and literature. We were particularly impressed by the composition and the serenity in the photography of Maria Svarbova in the series “Swimming Pool” and “No Diving” and also by the relationship between light and space in Hopper’s paintings. We referenced the early collages of Mies van der Rohe to the more accurate framing of Office KGDVS and OMMX meaning that architectural representation became an important source of inspiration for us.
You explore your proposal through all means of representation, to what extent do you believe that only in this manner is it possible to fully convey a project?
In our opinion architecture should not be defined only by abstract geometry, but something concrete that relates to our bodily experience of space and the world around us. Architecture should be clear and understandable to everyone, which is why we decided to use two differents way of representations. The first one would be an objective representation, starting from geometric drawings and the first tools of an architect. The plans, sections and axonometry are presented in a simple and precise way. This objective representation goes along with a narrative which aims to convey our personal interpretation and imagination. With colourful perspectives we try to convey an atmosphere for the spaces, adding in tension to the architecture and the landscape.
What is the effect and repurpose of the square format for the perspective views?
The square is a perfect shape that accentuates a composition such as frontal, rules of third or even symmetry while focusing on the subject of the image. It does give a feeling of neutrality and balance. This format has also allowed to compose our final presentation as a mosaic scenography of the chosen perspectives.
What is your take on colour? How does the absence and inclusion of this define and alter the way we read an image?
The assertion of two different graphics organizes elements with a rigorous hierarchy, as we mentioned before, following the objective/subjective narration with a double perception of elements.
When we started to think about the situation plans, we try to represent them in Black and White drawings with a CAD program but we were not fully convinced by this kind of representation for this document. We wanted to express the landscape in perpetual motion, and all the elements that compose it, such as water, sand, tall grass and topography… Then we have combined aerial photography and textures in order to have a painting effect rather than a perfect authenticity. The final images are the result of a lot of experimentations and failures. We feel that the final outcome of the renderings is satisfying as we can see a real relationship between the architecture and the landscape.
How does the featuring of a silhouette affect the way a space is perceived? What does the absence of people say?
It was our intention to include much less people contrary to current trend of architectural images. We felt that in this way we can let the viewer enter into the scene and imagine the usage themselves. We also think that the absence of silhouette focuses the viewer’s attention on the spatial qualities, materials and light.