Our 4th semester project consists of a site in a Copenhagen suburb, on which a minor residential area is to be planned. The area of the site is called Hareskov By - a Copenhagen suburb that is located in a large forest area within the borders of Greater Copenhagen (as a matter of fact, the largest forest area within the latter).
Our first step in the project, was to write a program for our vision of the site - How dense should the buildings be? How should the area integrate with its surroundings? Who is going to live there? Due to the lovely natural surroundings of the area, I decided that familys with children (ages ranging from babies to teenagers) should be my primary group for the design of the area. Furthermore, the social life of the residential area was of great priority - This planning was strongly inspired by the theories of the Danish architect, Jan Gehl, who is well known for his urban strategies. With social design in mind, it was also a great priority of mine to integrate the new residential area, with the existing suburban area, in a way that the new and existing citizens can live in harmony, and so the new area contributes to making the existing area better, rather than creating problems or being isolated.
I like to work in areas with contextual surroundings, but on this site, I felt that there was a great lack of such. In order to comprise for the lack of context, I decided to design my houses as abstractions of the surrounding suburban sprawl. With different brick colors and patterns on the exterior, I decided to make my project a sort of village - a city within a city, if you will. Also, in order to make a more interesting and less linear site plan, I distorted the houses so that small spaces a created between the houses, as illustrated below:
Usually I keep writing vast amounts of text explaining the further details of my projects, but due to the great scale of this one, I'll keep it short this time, and let my illustrations speak for themselves.
As for the crit of the project, the comments were generally positive. The plan of the residential area (especially the focus on the social structuring and the integration with the existing neighbourhood) received very positive comments. So did the interior planning of the houses (which I haven't been too detailed about in this post). As for the negative commentary, the professors were in doubt about whether the placement of my windows in the houses were right, and also whether the triple differences in both house shapes (there were three different house types) and the three different exterior patterns were a bit too much. All in all, the project received the second highest grade possible, and considering my effort (I often had times in the process where I felt stuck - this especially due to the lack of context in the area), I am all in all satisfied with the result.
That is all for now. With my bachelor year beginning tomorrow, there will be lots more to write about here in the blog. As a matter of fact, we're going to an exhibition in Louisiana Museum of Modern Art as soon as Tuesday (4th September), so a new blog update might be expected as soon as that.
- Andy Minchev