Our newest project is a true architectural challenge, one that invovles the actual designing of a structure. The theme here is a Trans-European cycling route, ranging from Nordkapp in Norway all the way to the Mediterranean island of Malta. Along this rather lengthy route, we are to design 24 different shelters (one for each student in our class), all at different locations, climate zones and cultural areas. The shelters are to room sleeping space for four people, space for four bicycles and finally a minor "living" area. The shelters aren't allowed to have any electrical nor sanitational connections, and are only to provide the absolute basic need of a warm and dry space for sleep and rest. Furthermore, being the sustainable specialization group, we are to make use of local weather and temperature conditions, and also local materials in our designs, so that we achieve a comfortable interior weather, while also minding the impacts of our use of construction material.

After a random out-of-the-hat lottery deciding our project locations, I pulled the Amalfi coastal area, located in the southern part of Italy. This area is infamous for its beautiful historic coastal towns, and the beautiful mountainous nature surrounding the coastal area. It is furthermore also well-known for its jetset resort areas. Being such a beautiful area, and me being so lucky to get such a beautiful location, I chose to focus my structure to make it sustainable, and at the same time design it in a way that let's it glaze upon the marvelous view of the coastal area. I envisioned an almost theatrical scene, in which the habitants of the shelter structure were to be exposed to the glorious view at all times, no matter their location in the structure. This theatre-like inspiration inspired me to this first basic conceptual model:

With this model, the concept of my project was born. I was fascinated with the cinema-like interior, which made me design the ramp as seen above. Later I decided to recreate this ramp element into an interactive staircase-like interior, which is designed in a certain way, so that the four habitants can both sleep on the long and wide stairway-beds, as well as use them as benches, which all face the great opening, that majestically reveals the South Italian coastal landscape. As of the sustainable features, I decided to longen the front of the structure in order to create a more tube-like design, allowing the coastal breeze to move through the structure, and thus create a natural ventilation system, which together with a cool rocky interior, create a pleasant and refreshingly cool interior environment, that makes the long, hot South Italian days more bearable to the staying visitors. The final idea of the concept is rendered in the picture below. Do note, that even though the rendering is complete, the project is not yet so, and the final material will be presented in the "Part 2" post, which is yet to come once all the details are completed. And one final comment: The background scene in the picture below does not recreate that of an Italian coastal environment - It is solely used to illustrate the look of the building and its construction, not the location.

- Andy Minchev


The first project we were given at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art's Architectural School, is part of our first themed study - History and Theory of Modern Architecture. We were divided in groups of five and were dealt different project subjects within the main theme of modern architecture. My group was given the subject "Rationalism", which, as the name implies, focuses on rationalistic architecture. The main assignment within the subject, was to make an A0 sized poster, which includes major historic rationalistic architectural works, examples of modern rationalism, and information on the background (and future) of rationalism within architecture. The result of our two week work, is the poster below (The poster is in Danish).

Our poster begins with a short description of the term "Rationalism" and some background information on the architectural and philosophical history on the subject. It then proceeds towards information on our two historical examples - the unbuilt Plan Voisin in Paris and Unit├ę d'Habitation in Marseilles, both by the infamous Swiss-French architect, Le Corbusier. The reason for choosing these two examples, is that they both illustrate Le Corbusiers fascination of order - A feat that is rather common in rationalistic architecture. They furthermore illustrate pre-fabricated architecture on a large scale, and structures of great residential density, which yet again are examples of typical rationalistic architecture.

For our modern-day rationalistic architectural examples, we chose ├śrestad Gymnasium in Copenhagen, designed by Danish 3XN Architects and the Swiss-Re building in London, by Norman Foster and Partners. The first building we chose due to its simple exterior, but mostly due to its interior, which like the two examples of Le Corbusier, is also planned in different zones. The different zones in this high school building separate the different types of educational orientations. Furthermore, the building also uses pre-fabricated components, like various rationalistic buildings. Our final architectural example, Norman Foster's Swiss-Re skyscraper, we mainly chose to illustrate how modern technology and industry affect modern architecture, the same way early rationalist architecture was strongly affected by and even dependent on the technologies of the industrial age.

Finally, our last example, was not architectural, but rather an example of modern sculptural art. Our final example were examples of a Dutch sculpture artist Theo Jansen's fascinating moving life-like sculptural animals. These enormous sculptural creatures move like organic beings, and are driven solely by the strong winds at the coasts of Holland. We have chosen these moving sculptures as one of our examples, because they so well illustrate a successful fusion between art and engineering - Yet another characteristic of rational architecture: A great symbiosis between architecture and engineering.

A quick conclusion we made in my group, is that rationalism in architecture has failed the trials and tribulations of time, but it seems that it is on the road to popularity once again in our modern day society. Take for example the incredible success of Apple. Their products all feature an extremely minimalistic look - One that features only the absolutely basic needs. This tendency of minimal design can be directly linked to rationality, since it features only the absolute minimal. Since Apple's success with their minimal designs, vast numbers of other products of all types have followed this neo-rationalistic minimalistic wave of design, that is growing ever so popular. Another case of growing popularity of rationalism in modern society, is linked to the world's ever-growing awareness of environmental issues. With the new global environmental awareness, the term "rationalism" is everchanging, to adept to the needs of the modern environmentally-friendly society. Architecture is beginning to adept itself to environmental standards, rather than focusing on fine aesthetics, the world of industrial design is changing production to more environmentally-friendly materials and designs that require less resources. One could say that rationalism is alive and thriving once again, this time not to rebuild a world that has been scarred from wars, but rather to heal a world that is suffering from pollution.

- Andy Minchev


Hello world! My name is Andy Minchev, currently a first year student at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art's School of Architecture. This here is a blog, in which I will be posting information and commentary on my works, theories, events and accomplishments within my studies in the School of Architecture, during the next five years. During this humble beginning, this blog will naturally lack content and reading material, but as time passes, I can assure you that it will grow rich on my works and theories. As Lao-Tzu, the ancient Chinese philosopher once said "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" - This is my first step, not just for this blog, but with my studies as well.

- Andy Minchev