WEEK FOUR / UGE FIRE

It is only appropriate that the number four in Danish is spelled like fire in English – because things are heating up in the studio quickly!  With all the Scandinavian inspiration I have just experienced I was ready for the task at hand…however, getting started and keeping momentum is a task in itself.  It took a bit of thinking of what to share this week & I decided to share some ‘behind the scenes’ work & process. My Urban Design project revolves around redesigning a site on a lake.  The focus is to ‘Bridge the Gap’ and design an urban recreational space – simple right? Well the challenges include the site being next to a main transportation artery leading to and from the center of the city (city hall, Tivoli Gardens and the main rail station to name a few major sites).  In real estate they say location is everything – Unfortunately the orientation of the lake, and heavily trafficked roads created a very uninviting environment for the inhabitants of the surrounding neighborhoods.

The (5) Lakes
The (5) Lakes
Main site & boundaries
Main site & boundaries
Area of concentrated design
Area of concentrated design

(There are more parameters/obstacles in place for this challenge, but I’m not going to bore you with that list)

To create an inviting space where people would want to stay for more than five minutes it is imperative to understand how people currently interact and use the space.  The 12 of us in Urban Design broke into teams and collected data……a lot of data (e.g. scale comparison to other sites with similar functions, climate, sun orientation throughout the day and seasons, connectivity to other areas in and out of the city center, etc). 

comparing climate data to understand where to place structures for shade depending on time of day.
comparing climate data to understand where to place structures for shade depending on time of day.
My map of Copenhagen, assignment brief & rough ideas
(My desk) map of Copenhagen, assignment brief & rough ideas

In order to put all that data in further context our professor facilitated a board game that we used on site to extract a more in depth understanding of the challenges of the site and how to implement change on the ground – because the problem with design these days is that it is not designed on a human interaction scale but from the aerial birds eye view.  Now armed with more data – we retreated to our own thoughts (or nightmares) in trying to solve this evolving puzzle of creating a site that encourages interaction, use, and pleasure.

My desk when I come in the morning and leave at night
My tidy desk when I come in the morning and leave at night
My desk during studio
My not soo tidy desk during studio

After some discussions with my first iteration of designs my Professor (& Professional Architect) encouraged me to expand beyond the surface of the existing ground and don’t be afraid to get creative.  This was a difficult task considering my mentality is that of a practical & minimal nature.  IMG_1771

sketches looking at various elements on site in context
sketches looking at various elements on site in context (e.g. use of water & hedges as an intervention to minimize visual & noise pollution

So I left the studio jumped into the classroom (the city of Copenhagen itself) to explore and see what works, what doesn’t, what’s been implemented, what hasn’t, etc – i.e. observing & analyzing how other spaces ‘work’ in relation to different levels of human interaction.  First stop, our site.

Runners frequent our site, but only to run through. Still used as a through-way
Runners frequent our site, but only to run through. Still used as a through-way
Man briefly on site while family walks on the outer area of site (minimal to no interaction
Man briefly on site while family walks on the outer area of site (minimal to no interaction

One of the things our Professor mentioned was how to define a successful space.  Essentially, success doesn’t mean having an activated site 24/7 like Times Square and I have seen sites here that accomplish a ‘healthy’ level of activity.  Second stop….all over the place to explore!

(Today alone I biked 22k/13.6ish miles)

IMG_1856

Different water pavilions under a metro line about 6 km outside the city.
Different water pavilions under a metro line about 6 km outside the city.

IMG_1886

Attention to detail of material, construction, and integrated lights on decking & benches
Attention to detail of material, construction, and integrated lights on decking & benches

Perhaps I can utilize the approach of the late architect Sverre Fehn, who designed the museum my group presented on, at the site.  Sometimes the natural environment has the raw materials waiting to be used over the man-made imitations.

Very large rocks and small boulders used to create a spatial environment and natural seating
Very large rocks and small boulders used to create a spatial environment and natural seating
what is this natural wind swept looking thing in a built environment?
what is this natural wind swept looking thing in a built environment?
Time to venture through and investigate this urban garden I happened upon
Time to venture through and investigate this urban garden I happened upon

IMG_1939

View from the inside
View from the inside
Another view from the inside
Another view from the inside
Another view from the inside! This space is larger than it looks from the outside!
Another view from the inside! This space is larger than it looks from the outside!

I can now expand on my concept armed with my new images of practical use/implementation from my travels in Copenhagen, next week I will share more pictures of the areas outside the city center, updates & improvements to my process, and another aspect of Danish design culture.  Have a great week & enjoy the following images of my discoveries and thoughts.

IMG_1971
Perhaps I should make room for a few of these on site!
Small food vendors and food trucks all in one very large warehouse! Over 24 options to choose from! YUM!
Small food vendors and food trucks all in one very large warehouse! Over 24 options to choose from! YUM!

IMG_1980 IMG_1974

transportation pavilion for the water bus.  A good use of shelter from the elements while allowing the light to come through the structure
transportation pavilion for the water bus. A good use of shelter from the elements while allowing the light to come through the structure

IMG_1814IMG_1780

people watching
people watching
Old building on the left, new buildings on the right, but harmonized architecturally in proximity.  Neither overpowers the other.
Old building on the left, new buildings on the right, but harmonized architecturally in proximity. Neither overpowers the other.
Merge of old facade with modern mural.  A welcomed visual break among the traditional beautiful brick work
Merge of old facade with modern mural. A welcomed visual break among the traditional beautiful brick work
Very nice bench (I say to myself as I observe an older woman sitting on one on the other side of the dock by the Opera house
Very nice bench in front of the Opera house (I think to myself as I observe an older woman sitting on one on the other side of the dock)
One cannot just observe how people interact with objects.  One must also interact with the objects themselves to gain a clearer understanding.
One cannot just observe how people interact with objects. One must also interact with the objects themselves to gain a clearer understanding.
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3 thoughts on “WEEK FOUR / UGE FIRE

  1. Wes, Your thought process and approach to create and design is amazing Wes. The ‘classroom’ is certainly keeping you busy, very involved and connected to your environment. Love it.

    Brilliant use of visuals and text. Loved the urban garden.

    Like

  2. Pingback: WEEK FOUR / UGE FIRE – with Wes Chase | globalsoundcheck

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