Heima_Iceland Trekking Cabins
Heima is a series of trekking cabins, designed to be built in remote locations across Iceland. Iceland is defined by its diverse landscapes and unique weather phenomena. It is a place that is constantly shifting, both in the skies and underfoot.
This design celebrates Iceland’s precious geography and extraordinary natural beauty. It touches the landscape with lightness and sensitivity.
Our design approach is inspired by traditional Japanese houses, which are formed by the repeatable unit of a tatami mat. In our cabins, a consistently sized module forms bunk units, kitchens, bathrooms, entry zones and window openings. These lightweight units can be joined and assembled to form a series of small to large cabins.
In essence, each trekking cabin is a single, communal room, much like a traditional yurt or Nordic longhouse. There is a simple gradient of public to private spaces, which radiates from the centre of the room outwards. A table is placed in the heart of the cabin, allowing it to become a place of shared meals and conversation.
Heima appears as an object within a vast landscape. Its tilted roof lifts up to welcome visitors, and folds down to capture water. The cabin is topped by a polycarbonate lantern, which glows at night.
Each facade is inspired by Iceland’s ethereal, ever-changing weather patterns, abstracting colours from its immediate environment. The panels are formed from polycarbonate, a material that clouds and obscures the building. This affect references Iceland’s steaming geysers and fog-streaked skies.
Heima was awarded third place in the international Iceland Trekking Cabins competition.
MAUA_Museum of Architecture
The renowned Danish architect, Jørn Utzon, has left an undeniable mark on architectural culture, and his legacy is particularly pronounced in Australia. In 1957, Utzon was selected to design what would become Australia’s most iconic building, the Sydney Opera House. It is a building that has come to define Australia’s culture and creative ideals.
Yet, despite this building’s status, there is no localised home for Utzon’s work, and no place to display and interrogate his legacy. Instead, Jørn Utzon’s archive is buried in boxes and basements across Sydney. This rich body of knowledge – of original drawings, prototypes, photographs and models – is a valuable public resource, alive with thoughts and experiments. Yet, it remains inaccessible and intangible to most.
The MA|UA (Museum of Architecture | Utzon Archive) forms a permanent home for Jørn Utzon’s archive in Sydney. It makes this archive public, tactile and richly experiential.
The building consolidates and catalogues Utzon’s archive in a single place. At its core, the design employs a series of elevated Wunderkammer to store and display the content, making it accessible to a curious public.
The archive is the backbone and basis upon which this new museum produces, curates and exhibits work. Three archival pillars sit at the building’s core, with public programs and contemporary exhibits taking place in between. Archive and museum co-exist in a constant dialogue between past and present, old and new. Likewise, the architecture of the MA|UA mediates between the scale required of a public building, and the human scale of the objects on display.
The building is sited on a slender wedge adjacent to Sydney’s ‘Goods Line,’ a long, linear public space which transforms a disused railway line into an urban park. In order to compliment these uses, the MA|UA is open and permeable, drawing visitors inside.
The architecture is comprised of three key elements: protective pillars which store and display archival content, a viewing sequence which provides opportunities for architectural encounter, and a clouded facade that obscures and envelopes, creating intrigue.
The MA|UA is a meandering path that alters its pace, proportions and spatial character to create rich, layered experiences. Expanding on Utzon’s ideals of counterpoint, the spaces pulse between solid and void, dark and light. They compress to create intimacy, and open to provide respite and clarity. Ascent is used to intensify experience, and relationships are constantly maintained with the scale of the body and the hand..
The architectural approach of the MA|UA merges the two, often competing, trajectories of archive and museum: to preserve past knowledge and human creation, and to encourage contemporary thought. Instead, it uses the past to enrich the present, and positions history as a cornerstone upon which new ideas evolve.
This project was the recipient of the 2015 NSW Design Medal and 2017 Archiprix International Award.
Who influences you graphically?
We are influenced by architecture, and by other fields. Within architecture, we are inspired by people who tell stories with their renders – so studios like MIR, Forbes Massie and Peter Guthrie strongly influence our work. We love the softness of their images, which look more like paintings than crisp architectural renders. We are also inspired by the work of architectural photographers like Hélène Binet, Thomas Struth and Ezra Stoller. Their photographs are so atmospheric, and balance drama with stillness.
We also draw a lot of inspiration from outside of architecture. In particular, we admire the work of the Dutch Masters and other painters, like Edward Hopper, who employ depth, tone and light to great affect. We also look to graphic designers for inspiration on composition.
Our drawing language is inspired by the work of contemporary Japanese architects. We love the way that many Japanese studios draw their architecture, and fill it with people and life. These drawings remind us that architecture is ultimately about human experience and the interactions between people.
What defines the graphic language through which you reveal your proposals?
Our imagery is defined by the nature and location of each project. It is inspired by the places and sites that we work with – their stories and histories, natural features, material textures and so on.
Although our studio is based in Australia, we work all around the world and are fascinated by other cities, cultures and landscapes. We revel in their otherness and try and see them afresh, as only outsiders can.
This quality can be seen in our Heima imagery, which works in strong dialogue with its place. Our proposal was inspired by Iceland’s natural phenomena – the volcanic earth, the mists and snow, and spectacles like the Northern Lights. These weather patterns and landscapes are so foreign to us, so we wanted to play this up within our representation.
As designers, we are also very materially driven, so our images often celebrate a particular texture or material. For example, our Slate Cabin in Wales is really about two things – a material, and the landscape that generates that material. Our imagery reflects this, and becomes part of telling that story.
The images lie at the intersection between hyper realistic render and surrealist speculation, what is your take on this?
We would prefer to describe our images as something like ‘romantic realism’ – we feel like they sit somewhere between the hyper-real and the surreal. They are grounded in the realities of the world around us – its light, colour, texture, material and so on – but compose these things with an artistic sentiment.
Our images are a reaction to the hyper-real renders that many studios produce. There are no bright colours, no solar flares or fireworks. Our colours and compositions are calm and controlled. We think carefully about weather and time of day, and create painterly light and atmosphere. We aim to make things clear and simple, not to obfuscate or confuse.
In many ways, our images are like pages from a storybook. They are structured around a single character, or a single moment, within a greater experiential narrative. We often only include one or two people in our images, but that’s enough immerse someone in the story. We always aim to be emotive – to capture a feeling and draw people in.
What defines the selection of views for each project, are there specific parameters you respect?
Our images tend to be one of two types. The first type are expansive and panoramic, and position the architecture in its setting. These aren’t ‘hero shots’ – they are more about placing the building within a landscape. The second type tend to be cropped, more personal views. These images are composed around a particular moment in time, and focus on the architecture being used and enjoyed.
We do have some rules we use when composing our images. We don’t use wide angles, low frames or birds-eyes views, and we always take images around eye-level. We find this is more immersive and inclusive – it brings people into the spaces or settings. We also try not to tell the whole story at once, and work with close crops and framed views. This is because we like to imbue our imagery with a sense of what lies ‘beyond the frame.’
We also think carefully about colour, proportion and balance. Our compositions are very deliberate and restrained. We work a lot with straight angles, symmetry and flattened perspectives as these make our imagery feel calm, centred and composed.
What is your work process in terms of programs used?
We work almost exclusively in Rhino, and use V-Ray for Rhino for our renders. We tend to model quite precisely, and use rendering to test composition and control the quality of light. We then use Photoshop to perform colour corrections, and to add life and landscape to our buildings. All of our drawings come directly out of Rhino.
TRIAS is an emerging architecture studio based in Sydney, Australia. Since its establishment in 2016, TRIAS has quickly developed a reputation for thoughtful and thorough design work.
The studio is founded on three principles: to create buildings that are solid, simple and beautiful. These ideals tie our work to the origins of architecture, which Vitruvius defined as firmness, commodity and delight.
TRIAS is currently completing projects across Australia and the UK, and has received recognition in numerous local and international competitions.
Our studio has a strong design ethic and process. Our work is rhythmic, rigorous and materially expressive. We craft spaces with light, scale and volume, and produce architecture that is sculptural and calm.
TRIAS seeks simplicity and integrity within the built environment. We work closely with our clients to make buildings that reflect our shared values.
We are passionate designers who firmly believe that well designed spaces enrich people’s lives. We believe in quality over quantity, and advocate for less but better in all that we do.
Our work aims to inspire its occupants, and to quietly provoke change in our cities, suburbs and landscapes.