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