Last Friday, I finally presented my complete work. Our project was to be an independent extension to a restaurant in Hareskoven. Hareskoven is perhaps Greater Copenhagen's largest woodland area, and it is also the location of our project site. The existing larger restaurant building, is one that hardly makes use of its beautiful surrounding forest panorama. Furthermore, it hardly has any direct relation to the forest, rather than its situation, so I decided that my primary goals for the design of my project were to design a building that has closer relations to the forest, and also to be one that makes use of the woodland panorama.

Playing around with different shapes that would enframe a specific view towards the forest, while also making a sort of tunnel-like refuge to the wild forest, I ended up with the above shapes as my first concept. These shapes and their long V-roofs reminded me about the viking longhouses - litterally, long houses where entire viking village communities were housed under one roof. These longhouses (concept illustrated bellow) led to the grand idea of the rest of the project.

Having taken this conceptual twist and making it the focus of the project, I went on to use the sketch-model on the lower right side of the first illustration. I especially like this one, since it lived up to the tunnel-to-the-forest concept, while also following the form language of the longhouse idea. Furthermore, I was very satisfied with having the visitors first go down in a small, discrete entrance, and then having a huge opening on the other end of the tunnel, so they get a somewhat dramatic experience of the look towards the first, already as they enter. Below are the technical drawings:

As you can see, there is a major difference in the roof height from the entry point and by the end of the roof. It is also quite clear, that my design most certainly lives up to the name of longhouse! Following the social structure of the viking longhouse, my building is furnished quite simply, but with a great emphasis on social activity. My concept of this restaurant pavilion, is to have a different dining experience. Instead of having your food directly serve, as at normal restaurants, here the visitors come in groups, and together with a guide they are given food packages, that they, with assistance from the cook, cook together, thus creating a social activity through the cooking process. All this is achieved through a single, simple component, that is placed centrally in the building. This long component consists of a kitchen, a grill pit and finally a long table. Like the viking longhouses, there are no electric appliances whatsoever, just a grill pit, where the meats are grilled. On the kitchen component is a sink, which is the only appliance that requires an external source. Furthermore, guests are seated on two long concrete benches, placed along the long table, once again to bring the guests closer together, as part of the social experience. The smoke from the grilling rises naturally towards the ceiling, where five openings allow it to exit the building. During the cooking, the elevating smoke makes daylight from the ceiling openings (which by the way are covered with windows, which only open when the smoke needs to exit), become quite clear, thus creating a dramatic effect in the indoors. Below are two renderings, one of the exterior and one of the interior:

And a few photos of a 1:50 scale model I made of the project:

As for the criticism I got for the project, it was generally favourable towards my project. The dug-down discrete entrance was criticized, but mostly for the shaping of the staircase, that according to my teachers wasn't completely in harmony with the rest of the structure. I was also questioned about the wooden roof and finally wether the entrance area of the structure was too enclosed and and narrow. I have to agree with all the three mentioned things, that there is space for improvement there, but otherwise, I'm satisfied with the concept and the aesthetic appearance of the result.

P.S. We're now having a 3D Studio Max course, and by the end of next week, I'll have a far more advanced 3D rendering of this project to show!

- Andy Minchev