My masters’ project took place over the final two years of my academic studies (5th year and 6th year).
Each year is split into two semesters. In 5th year the first semester consisted of group work, a continuation of the previous masters’ students’ work, where we were required to design a floating masterplan in the fjord of Bergen, Norway. Semester 2 requires you to develop your own architecture scheme within the group masterplan and this continues into 6th year. The final semester is your thesis project which presents a unique opportunity to be creative, experimental and personal. You can take an element of your design project and delve deep into the research of it.
I feel we are currently in a society becoming steadily more obsessed with privacy. With private homes, cars, computers, offices & shopping centres; the public component of our lives is disappearing. It is more important to make this proposed settlement inviting, so we can meet our fellow citizens face to face & experience directly through our senses. It was my intention to design a mixed-use residential complex to satisfy their requirements.
My ambition is to accommodate the office workers of the settlement as many of my peers are designing facilities related to maritime industry. The complex, located on the settlement’s edge, will aim to take shapes inspired by the Norwegian mountains while paying homage to Bergen’s wooden architectural tradition. Its irregular forms will aspire to create a dynamic play of light & shadow throughout the day as well as create opportunities for engagement.
This large wooden residential development is fitting for this area as Bergen has one of the highest concentrations of wooden buildings in Northern Europe. The development is timber frame construction on a grid of 7 x 10m with SIP panels. Flats are featured on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floor levels via the courtyard on level 1 and will feature different shapes and sizes due to its irregular forms so no flat is the same. This will create a strong, diverse community which will be able to accommodate a diverse range of people.
The courtyard on level 1 was a main element in creating a successful architecture. The way I see it, it should really be a garden for everyone to give the feeling of a private yard. The main problem here is that they have confined areas between the units. Everyone is looking into each other’s flat but also requires their own space. Above all is the idea that this is a communal area that everyone can use the yard without disturbing others. So that families with children can enjoy and interact with the other children without collecting in front of one house. That was the first thought behind my idea of zoning the garden into smaller areas. I have introduced a few sandpits to allow the children to spread amongst a few areas. The concept of the yard is to allow and encourage changes through the years. For example that the children’s play areas don’t have to stay there permanently. If in 15 or 20 years there aren’t so many kids living here anymore then the yard can easily change to allow for other functions. I think it’s important that there will always be a small joke, the paths meander continuously with no end point, so that children can run around endlessly. Also to establish a dimension of height that can otherwise not be achieved in an open space. And in the wake of the general desire for gardens that have re-emerged into society.
On the ground level, the promenade creates a clear line and a natural flow between the recreational atmosphere at the waterfront and the more urban atmosphere in the settlement centre. I feel that people can be socially animated by architecture that creates interesting and conversational forms. As my designs form are partially inspired by the dramatic Norwegian landscape, I aim for the waterfront to become a place of shared space and engagement.
The waterfront promenade is designed to tie a closer link between the settlement and the sea. The thematic pier and diving area give room for everyone: toddlers, children and young people can go wild while others enjoy the view of Eidsvag Fjord. The waterfront invites one to take a bath, go on a kayak-tour, go for a walk or just sit in the sun or simply enjoy an exciting and active public space. My intention was not to over-program this element of the project in advance, but to create a frame for an unknown content, a place for public life to unfold, the unexpected to happen, in other words a place that people can adapt in their own ways.