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Dwelling Typologies

“Dwelling Typologies� This publication is a collective outcome of the second task in the Advanced Architectural Design master studio at Lund School of Architecture in the 2014 Autumn semester. In the spirit of architectural research this assignment relies on theory and case studies, argumentation, analysis, discussions and conclusions. Working in groups of 4-5 the students of the AAD studio were assigned specific topics within the overall theme. Besides investigating the more obvious aspects of dwellings the task also took on a challenge of defining and describing the various QUALITIES of dwellings, both within their boundaries but also in relation to the immediate urban tissue.

The Topics




Narrow Dwellings Authors: Sanna Haagen Alexander Herzog Hwee Ting Tan K채bi Noodapera Ramel Matias Sander Thomsen

Narrow dwellings as a typology

The narrow house typology have been used all over the world, typically as a mean of densifying urban areas of a city and to create maximum amount of dwellings with controlled orientation.This way of building is still used when designing in dense cities, as a mean of utilizing a plot area with a controlled accessibility or orientation, but also as a mean of densifying different areas. These kinds of houses have a big significance in many cultures and are often seen as a part of their heritage and way of living. To understand the potential and limitations of this sort of typology, different aspects have to be considered. By dividing the typology into 5 different categories, each category can then be analysed and a deeper understanding of the subject can be gained. We have divided the interesting aspects into; Light, flexibility, the social aspect, faรงade and communication to the outside but also as a mean of urban densification. Each of these aspects is then researched with a case study as a starting point. This casestudy is then compared to related cases where a comparison can be drawn. The goal of our research is to give the reader a better understanding of what parameters are important when using the narrow house typology and how other architects have solved similar problems.

Methodology Our approach to this research paper can be explained through the diagram seen above. Using the Narrow house as a starting point, we defined 5 different aspects of the typology, in which we hope to shine new light on. This gives us the possibility to investigate the possibilities and limitations to this form of building. We use a case study on the different aspect to gain a deeper understanding of how the typology have been used and how this could be beneficial from a designer’s point of view. Each case study is then compared to relating cases so a comparison can be made and a deeper understanding can be gained.
























01 LIGHT What happens when a building becomes so narrow, deep and high that it does no longer allow for windows or openings on more than two sides; when the function of the construction is dependent on the contrast between light and dark; when it becomes impossible to paint the shadows away; when you are forced to learn to see the beauty in the dark; when you realize that only through the shadows one can appreciate darkness; when light, placed alongside sound, water, wind and rain, has to fight for every ounce of attention? What happens when light no longer comes naturally? In his book “In Praise of Shadows” from 1933 Jun’ichirō Tanizaki describes the constant interplay between light and darkness. Tanzaki does not see light and darkness as opposites but rather as two sides of the same coin. In between these sides, there is an entire spectra of nuances that each help to bring out their respective characteristics. The beauty of darkness is illustared by Tanizaki by describing Japanese Laquareware, with their deep black colour and decorated flecks of silver and gold that modestly glow in the light of a lantern or a candle. Too much light and the glow in the lackerware becomes glaring, too little light on the other hand nothing would be reflected in its shiny surafce. ¹

The Milkmaid c. 1658 Painting by Vermeer van Delft

Tanizaki’s work also highlights the difference between the Western and Oriental thoughts and attitude towards light and darkness. Tanizaki argues that the Orientals have a stronger “propensity to seek beauty in darkness” whereas the Westerns’ “strive to better its lot” –mentality makes sure “his quest for a brighter light never ceases…” In Europe this spatial relation between light and darkness became relevant in the 17th century when people started living in more densely populated areas where space was not as readily available as before. This is in particular true in Amsterdam where thin but deep plots were divided along the canals and houses had to grow vertically. The two images on the right demonstrate how well light was embraced in this kind of buildings. The scarce light conditions enabled a new kind of architecture with large windows in the narrow facades in order for the light to penetrate the deep building. The way the painter, Vermeer van Delft, has managed to capture the daylight in the rooms on a canvas, but perhaps even more the architect of the very houses they represent. ²

Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window Painting by Vermeer van Delft

Photograph by Hayward Luke

Section of Azuma house, illustrating light 4

Interior of Azuma house 5

Bed room Void

Deck Bed room

The central uncovered area is the only source of natural light, but it’s big enough and placed in such a way that it provides the whole interior of building with a bright clear light. Ando has in contrary to the beliefs of Tanizaki put light and darkness in a great contrast to each other. The material with its grey tone and mattness, allow both for reflections of light and for a play of shadows. The shadows are deeply dark and the light is bright with a sharp edge separating the both. In this way the light becomes controlled and changes over the day to reach all rooms of the building. Tanizaki says, “the beauty of a Japanese room depends on a variation of shadows, heavy shadows against light shadows - it has nothing else.”


In a dense urban core, crowded with Osaka row houses, Tadao Ando has inserted a simple, narrow and rectangular concrete residence. With spaces flanking an interior courtyard, the house is an attempt to return the contact with light, air, rain and other natural elements of the Japanese lifestyle. In addition to providing light and serving as the focal point of family house, the small court is also a spatial entity that attempts to compensate for the reduced physical space. It is in a way an attempt to reinstate a traditional model using a modern vocabulary.

Living room


ITAMI HOUSE The illustated examples above range from Tanizakis dark ideals from Azuma Row House where the interplay and balance between darkness and light is essential for the architecture. In order to place these references on a scale ranging from darkness to light, a third example is needed. Itami House in Tami, Japan, by Tato Architects, symbolize the opposite to Tanizakis ideals. The white walls of Itami House is constantly filld with dazzling light from its numerous windows in all directions. Bringing in as much light as possible, all the way to it’s deepest spaces and darkest corners, has been the driving force when designing the building.


Itami house by Tato Architects 6 Photographs by Koichi Torimura



DISCUSSIONS/ CONCLUSION When studying the above mentioned examples, one could ask the question wheter Tanizaki was right when saying that Westerners contantly strive for more and brighter light. As techincal development has brought electical light and advanced glazing constructions, we have been able to fullfill our greediness after a constant flow of light. But is this hunger for light a mare trend or is it a human behavoir tracing back to the beginning of human existence? However, it is only now, when we have the possibility to create these white, light-bathing architecture, that we can take a step back and ask ourselves if this is what we really are striving for. Is light equivalent to beauty? Or does light need a counterpart in order for the light to be perceived and appreciated? In the Ando refenrece, the light entering the building is accompanied by its contarsting friend: the shadow. In the case of Azuma House, the architect has let light play a central role in the layout of the building. However beautiful, this is a space consuming way of bringing in light. Using an introvert atrium as its only light source is applicable only in very specific cases. If this was to be used as a general method for bringing in light, it would be problematic as soon as the geometry of the building changed, vertically and horisontally. The traditional window differ from the light atrium in the sense that it allow for views and contact with the sorroundings, which normally is seen as a great quality. Nevertheless, Azuma House’s clear concept of dealing with light has been what gave the house its identity. Light has in this case been a generator of interesting architecture. This reference thereby show that light can be used as a point of departure when creating architecture and take an active part in the design process. Since light conditions differ from case to case, this working method could be a way of generating site specific and unique architecture.

“the failure is the fault of excessive lighting” “i have written all this because i have thought that there might still be somewhere, possibly in litterature or the arts, where something could be saved. i would call back at least for litterature this world of shadows we are losing. in the mansion called litterature i would have the eaves deep and the walls dark, i would push into the shadows the things that come forward too clearly, i would strip away the useless decoration. i do not ask that this be done everywhere, but perhaps we may be allowed at least one mansion where we can turn off the electric lights and see what it is like without them.” “the quality that we call beauty, however, must always grow from the realities of life, and our ancestors, forced to live in dark rooms, presently came to discover beauty in shadows” ¹

¹ In Praise of shadows, Jun’ichirō Tanizaki ² Europas arkitektur före 1800, Olle Svedberg ᶾ Building Amsterdam, Herman Janse 4 azuma: http://www.archidose.org/Blog/azuma.jpg 5 http://www.ananasamiami.com/2011/01/row-house-azuma-house-by-tadao-ando.html 6 http://www.archdaily.com/423671/house-in-itami-tato-architects/ 7 https://www.flickr.com/photos/58031880@N06/5335406666/in/set-72157625773929798 8 http://www.ananasamiami.com/2011/01/row-house-azuma-house-by-tadao-ando.html

02 Flexibility in Narrow Dwelling Flexibility is a matter of sustainability. It is important to face the aspect of flexibility in the design process. Flexibility gives the dwellers the chance to stay for a long periode, maybe for a lifetime in the same building even if their needs change over a period of time. Adaptivity is a big influence on the flexibility of a dwelling. In narrow dwellings it seems that it is really difficult to create flexible houses because of the limited amount of space. Most examples in narrow dwellings are really well planned and every square metre is designed to get the most out of it, but this fact also means that the dwelling becomes inflexible in a way. But there are also examples to make narrow dewellings flexible to a certain degree. There are mainly two points for flexibility. ‘The first is the flexibilty over a lifetime of a building. How can a dwelling be adapted to the needs of their inhabitants and also to the needs of future generations. The other point is to have a look at flexibility in their social use.’1 It’s important to create dwellings which can be modified for every social classes. To see it from an urban scale it is good to have mixed social classes in the same living area not to create some kind of “gated communities”. “Flexible housing can be defined as housing that is designed for choice at the design stage, both in terms of social use and construction, or designed for change over its lifetime.”2

Flexible Floor Plan 13

Flexible Floor Plan 24

Flexible Floor Plan 35

Black Pearl: Zecc Architecten6

Black Pearl: Zecc Architecten7

Method: To investigate the felixibility in narrow dwelling we have choosen three examples. The main example is the “Black Pearl” from Zecc Architecten and it’s a dwelling in Rotterdam. This example is somewhere in the middle of flexibility. The other two projects are the “Keret House” in Warsaw which is a well planned and non-flexible residence and the other one is the Azuma House from Tadao Ando which is our example for most flexible narrow dwellings. We discussed what are the qualities of those dwellings and how they can be improved. At the following we like to describe every example and compare it together to show the aspects of flexibility. Black Pearl: Zecc Architecten8

What is flexibility? As already mentioned before, there is the flexibility over a lifetime of a building and the social use. Flexibility is the way how you can adapt a building easily for different uses without a lot of effort. If you design flexible dwellings it is easier for the landlords to adapt it for different residents and this factor makes the dwelling also more attractive for the current market. Flexibility also means that you can have different social inhabitants which have different needs in terms of investable money and also their cultural background. Another factor is the day and night use of a space. A good example for that is the Rietveld-Schröder House in Utrecht (1924) where you can transform three sleeping areas in one large room. This is possible with sliding walls which devide the floor plan in a very clever way. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Tatjana Schneider and Jeremy Till (2005). Flexible housing: opportunities and limits. Architectural Research Quarterly, 9, p. 157. ibid., p. 157. ibid., p. 163. ibid., p. 163. ibid., p. 163. ”Black Pearl / Studio Rolf.fr + Zecc Architecten” 29 Feb 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=211680> ibid. ibid. ibid.

Black Pearl: Zecc Architecten9

The Black Pearl: The Black Pearl is an old townhouse in the south of Rotterdam. The building has a long history and is about over hundred years old and was mostly used as a craftsman house. Now these areas of Rotterdam are disadvantaged and the municipality decided a programme to support those disadvantaged areas. The programm is about that the townhouses should be sold to private persons which have to renovate the house in a specific time frame and make a one unit dwelling out of it. This excatly happend at the Black Pearl. In former times the building inhabited many aparmants, usually one per every layer. So the decission from the municipality was now to make one dwelling unit out of many appartments to attract people to come back to those areas and revitalise them again. So the aspect that they decided to make only one dwelling unit out of it had also a big influence on the flexibility of the building. By selling the house to one person they made it possible for the buyer to make a more flexible house out of it. One point for flexibility over a lifetime and for social uses is that you have at least a certain amount of space with which you can work. If there is to less space and everything has to be well planned and organized you don’t really have a chance to create spaces which are not dedicated to a particular function and can be used individually. “The Black Pearl was renovated from 2008 until 2010 and they just kept the surrounding walls and the roof and they teared out everything from the inside. So they created a huge space which was 5 metres wide, 10 metres long and has a heigth of 11 metres.”18 This space allowed them to built in a structure which is quite flexible where you don’t feel like being in a box. All the rooms/spaces are connected togehter and create some exciting view axes. The ground floor has a split level and is used as a studio and workshop which is orientated to the garden. The height of this space is about 5 metres and the use of the space can be easily changed. For example it would be possible to adapt the space into a extra appartment or into a bedroom for children or even you can rent it out as a shop. So in a way this space is highly flexible and can be easily adapted

Black Pearl: Zecc Architecten11

Black Pearl: Zecc Architecten12

Black Pearl: Zecc Architecten10

Black Pearl: Zecc Architecten13

Black Pearl: Zecc Architecten14

Black Pearl: Zecc Architecten15

10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

”Black Pearl / Studio Rolf.fr + Zecc Architecten” 29 Feb 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=211680> ibid. ibid. ibid. ibid. ibid. ibid. ibid. ibid.

Floor Plans: Black Pearl, Zecc Architecten17

Black Pearl: Zecc Architecten16

Site Plan: Black Pearl, Zecc Architecten21

to many different uses without investing a huge amount of money. What’s also an important factor for flexibility is how you arrange certain functions like the bathrooms and kitchen which are not flexible in the change of their use. At this example the bathrooms and toiletts are kept very small and they are arranged very clever to consume only very little space. The concept of the design is also the more levels you get up, the more private the building becomes. The ground floor and the first floor can be seen very semiprivate and the second floor and the rooftop are the most private parts of the building. Also the flexibilty of the building changes with the levels. The first two levels are quite flexible and their uses can be changed in an easy way. But if it comes to the second floor, the one with the master bedroom and the bathroom, it becomes in a way impossible to change these uses or adapt it to other needs. This is in the end the effect of how the staircases are arranged. If you would change one staircase you could make it possible to have also a flexible use of the second floor but probably you would loose some architectural qualities. So it is always a fine line between how you treat non dedicated spaces to dedicated spaces. The rooftop is used as a rooftop garden and there is a white glashouse installed with a bathtube with an amazing view over Rotterdam.

Section 122

Section 223

can inhabit the dwelling? Can only wealthy people afford to buy such a home or how can it be adapted to make it affordable for people with a lower income. If you look at it from an urban scale you don’t really want to generate areas just for rich people and than other areas for people with less money. It is important to stir it up and make it possible that people interact with each other. This factor aslo has the same influence on migration. “The least researched area of flexible housing is the financial side. Sense tells us that flexibility is more economic in the long term because obsolescence of housing stock is limited, but there is little quantitative data to substantiate this argument.”20

‘The flexibilty over a lifetime of a building is another factor. It’s quite important to think about longer time periods and not only for short term periods or how you can make a buliding highly profitable.’19 It is about sustainability and adaptivity over it’s lifetime without investing a lot of money and energy. What is quite interessting at the example of the “Black Pearl” is how the use over such a long lifetime can change. Nearly about hundred years the building was divided into many stories with an appartment on each story. Now they totally changed the concept of the building with a lot of effort, but now it is probably easier to adapt it and change it for future generations and future inhabitants. Another point is the social use of a building. Which kind of people Tatjana Schneider and Jeremy Till (2005). Flexible housing: opportunities and limits. Architectural Research Quarterly, 9, p. 157. Tatjana Schneider and Jeremy Till (2005). Flexible housing: opportunities and limits. Architectural Research Quarterly, 9, p. 162. ”Black Pearl / Studio Rolf.fr + Zecc Architecten” 29 Feb 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=211680> 22. ibid. 23. ibid. 24. ibid. 19.

20. 21.

Dedicated Space: Floor Plan “Black Pearl”24

Azuma House: Tadao Ando27

Illustration Azuma House28

Keret House29

Table and Bathroom: Keret House30

3D Model Keret House31

Compared to other projects: If you compare the “Black Pearl to other projects it turns out that this projects lies somewhere inbetween flexible and non-flexible. ‘The Keret house is a small project in Warsaw and this dwelling has about 15 square metre size.’25 It is really well planned and every space has it’s use that leads to the reason that this dwelling is absolutley not flexible. The main factor that you just can’t make it flexible is the extreme narrow plot size and the minimal space which doesn’t allow to change the use of spaces. The other example is the Azuma House from Tadao Ando. This narrow dwelling is a modern example of being really flexible. There are mainly four rooms and a courtyard and those four rooms are not really dedicated to a function except the kitchen and bathroom. It is really orientated on the traditional japanese houses which have no furniture, only the tatami where you can sit and sleep on it. The main room is served by different rooms which can be connected by sliding walls. At the Azuma House the courtyard is the main space and is served by the surrounding rooms which are very flexible in their function. “While describing the origin of his architecture in the Japanese tea room, Ando wrote: ‘a person sitting silent and contemplative in such a space has the feeling of experiencing limitless size within the interplay of light and dark’ (Ando, 1990).”26 Conclusion: So our opinion is that there are many factors how flexibility can be generated, but it does always depend on the current situation of a dwelling and how you could adapt it. The biggest factor for flexibility is propably the amount of space you can use. The more space you have the easier it is to make it flexible. Flexibility means to create space which is not dedicated to a special use and to create such spaces in narrow dwellings is often very hard because of the limited amount ouf space. If you compare very flexible dwellings like the Rietveld-Schröder house or the Farnsworth house from Mies van der Rohe with a narrow dwelling than you can figure out that in these buildings only the bathrooms and the kitchen are dedicated to a use. The diagramm to the left shows how much space is dedicated and non-dedicated in the Black Pearl. So in a way the conclusion can be if you have less than one quater of dedicated space in percantage you can make the design of the dwelling very flexible. Other design options can be to install contemporary walls (sliding walls) or curtains which generate spaces which can be easily adapted.

Rooftop: Black Pearl32 Bedroom: Black Pearl33 Bathroom: Black Pearl34 Rosenfield, Karissa. “Inside The Keret House – the World’s Skinniest House – by Jakub Szczesny” 03 Nov 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=289630> Jin Baek (2004). The sublime and the Azuma House by Tadao Ando. Architectural Research Quarterly, 8, p. 149. 27. Jen-Ho Cheng, flickr.com [website], 30. Sep 2014, <https://www.flickr.com/photos/7423622@N04/3890107884> 28. ibid. 29. Rosenfield, Karissa. “Inside The Keret House – the World’s Skinniest House – by Jakub Szczesny” 03 Nov 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=289630> 30. ibid. 31. ibid. 32. ”Black Pearl / Studio Rolf.fr + Zecc Architecten” 29 Feb 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=211680> 33. ibid. 34. ibid. 35. ibid. 36. ibid. 25.


Dining Area: Black Pearl35

Living Area: Black Pearl36

03 Social/Sharing Aspects

Borneo and Sporenburg, were two former harbour peninsulas of Amsterdam and has been converted to a residential area with about 2500 dwellings built on them. The area was covered with a carpet of low-rise/high-density back-to-back patio houses, interrupted by 3 large landmark buildings. The main challenge was to develop a typology in which a small patio provides daylight and private outdoor space for the inhabitants. The plan for one of the new residential areas of Borneo-Sporenburg in Amsterdam consists of a row of houses and two linear buildings extending to the sea. A row of houses lines both the canal and the interior street. There are two other linear buildings, one of which lines two waterfront streets and the other sits along one of the waterfront streets and an interior street. The two buildings are subdivided into individual houses having the same form. A row is not simply subdivided into houses, but each house has its individual character within the row. Each house seems to be designed elegantly and independently by a different architect with apparent harmonious coordination between the architects. The facades are roughly uniform in line, height and width. Fifty percent of spatial capacity is left void in each house. The overall appearance of a row in which each house was independently designed is more vivid than the rows where all the dwellings are the work of one and the same architect. Each house has its unique physiognomy and collectively they are complementary. The townscape consists primarily of rows of town houses, each with its intrinsic properties. ยน

Facade of Houses

Site Map of Borneo and Sporenburg

The average width of the narrow row houses of Borneo and Sporenburg are roughly 3-4 metres. Most of them are about 3-4 storeys high. The deep and long plans of the houses have led to certain qualities which are unique to narrow houses. One such quality is the need for light penetration which often results in have void or courtyard spaces within the dwelling unit. In the specific case of borneo and sporenburg, half of the total floor area of the dwelling unit must be kept void or open to sky, for natural daylighting and ventilation purposes. Another quality would be the facades being excessively adorned with fenestration to allow lots of natural daylighting into the spaces inside. This would allow daylight to enter in from the front, back and the top of the dwelling unit. to ensure that the living spaces inside do not became damp and dark, and it still becomes an enjoyable and pleasant living space. Following this, a further analysis of the gathering areas or social aspects will be demostrated with a case study of a dwelling unit, and its relation to an urban scale or context.

Case Study: Borneo 18 Architect: MVRDV

Borneo 18, third house from left or right of image

Interior Images

The private house on plot 18 features a 4.2 x 16 meter plot, with a 4-meter deep garden on the waterfront. It consists of three floors. On the second floor, an extra bathroom and bedroom block protrudes at the rear facing the water, creating a spacious long cross-section within two closed elements. The remaining irregular space houses the kitchendiner, sitting room and study, all spatially connected to one another. A series of rooms have been created differing in height and degree of privacy. Each are connected with the exterior in their own individual way, ranging from a twostorey veranda facing the water, to a balcony with French windows to the living room, a glass bay window to the bedroom and a roof garden to the studio in the attic. ²

Section 1 ¹ Hoppenbrouwer, E , Hoppenbrouwer Mixed-use development Theory and practice in Amsterdam’s Eastern Docklands.. 7 ed , Vol . Vol. 13 . 2005 European Planning Studies . p-975 – 978 ² ‘Borneo 12/18: Irregular Narrow Spaces’ ;http://www.busyboo.com/2011/11/06/narrow-house-borneo/ (accessed September 2014 )

Plans highlighting spaces which facilitate interaction Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Social Analysis

Level 4

With the unit area being minimally 50 percent void for air and ventilation purposes, it also results and encourages internal interaction among the floor levels, whether it be physically and visually. The blue dots in diagram 2 indicates the common area for social interactions and gatherings in the house of Borneo 18. Most houses in borneo sporenburg achieve internal and intimate social interaction areas among dwellers of each narrow house. In the specific case of Borneo 18, the house has 2 voids which are connected by a central stairs, creating overlooking spaces as well as focal meeting points in the house (see section 1). Examining the dwelling unit in relation to the urban fabric, other forms of internal and external social gathering spaces and interaction may occur. The front of borneo sporenburg houses are facing the canal and the entrance to the house is often at the back, facing a pedestrian pathway and vehicular road access (see diagram 3).

Diagram 1 Jan Gehlâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sketch shoes that when cars are parked at the curb, people as well as cars will be found in the street, Greater opportunities for neighbor contacts will materialize.

Diagram 2 Borneo 18’s internal and External Social Opportunities

Diagram 3 Borneo Sporenburg Site plan of External Social Opportunities

External Social Opportunities for Gatherings and Interactions Internal Social Opportunities for Gatherings and Interactions

According to Jan gehl, when cars are parked at the curb, people as well as cars will be found in the street, increasing chances for neighbourly contact and gathering opportunities. ᶾ The red dots on diagram 3 show the social gathering aspects which may take place along the entrances of the houses and in front of the parked cars. However as the front area of the houses faces the canal, there is few or no chances for social interaction and gathering spots among residents of borneo sporenbug. While the streets adjacent to the entrance are not fully pedestrian streets, the addition of vehicular access impedes the amount of social interactions and gathering occurrences to take place. When streets are converted from vehicular access streets to purely pedestrian access only, social activities such as walking, sitting, playing music, drawing and talking increase. ⁴ ᶾ Gehl, J , Life between buildings Using public space. ; ed , Vol . ; . 1980 Van Nostrand Reinhold Company. p-128 - 129 ⁴ Gehl, J , Life between buildings Using public space. ; ed , Vol . ; . 1980 Van Nostrand Reinhold Company. p-38 - 39


Due to the site challenges and demand for high density residential provision for the population of Borneo Sporenburg, the houses of Borneo Sporenburg took on a narrow, back to back architecture typology. However, after an analysis of the narrow house of Borneo Sporenburg, certain social qualities specific to this projects arose. For instance, half of the floor area in the unit has to be kept void and open. While this is primarily for light and ventilation purposes, it has also allowed for social gatherings and interaction spaces in a narrow, long house. Similarly, the streets of Borneo Sporenburg allow for some social gathering opportunities due to the arrangement of vehicular street, pedestrian street and the entrances of the houses (see diagram 3). Though a narrow house would often imply difficulty in access and social opportunities, the narrow houses of Borneo Sporenburg have shown that unique social qualities may arise in such cases.

04 Facing the facade Within narrow dwellings, especially the ones in high-dense urban contexts, you’ll find examples of dwellings where private space and urban space end up very close to each other. Compared to housing blocks with a common entrance and private apartments on the upper floors, the border between a crowded shopping street and the most private rooms in pet-housing could be defined by a single door at the same level. The aim to keep the home private but get as much light into the building as possible, define boundaries and choose openings within the strictly limited facade, are other challenges. So, how do we handle the narrow facade? And what challenges do the narrow facade has to face?

Illustration of facades. fig. 1


Japanese sliding walls creaing a framed image, fig. 2

Moriyama House by Sanaa, example of framed views, fig. 3

In Housing+ the architect and author Julius Klaffke explains that a facade is ”the main side from which a building is viewed”. The facade is shaped by its surroundings, and it helps to determine the atmosphere in the interior through its form and nature. Klaffke claims that the facade is part of a spatial sequence, that starts from the outside and ends with the viewer observing from inside through the openings. The facade consists therefore of an interaction between outside and inside and the quality of this connection is defined by openings, as doors and windows. The door is the connection to the outer world but also a threshold that for uninvited not easily can be passed. The window is a medium that transport images between inside and outside, and for example in Japanese architecture the surroundings often gets brought into the interior as a framed image. The italian architect Gio Ponti used the idea of framed windows and made the view to a ”furnished window”, where elements from the interior got integrated with the exterior view. These well studied window situations created complex visual connections between interior and exterior, but also within the dwelling.1

1 Wietzorrek, Ulrike. Housing+. Basel: Biskhäuser Verlag GmbH, 2014, 353, 354. fig. 1. http://marrens.com/excellent-sliding-room-dividers/japanese-home-interior-design-featured-unique-floor-seat-also-wooden-table-orwindow-armchair-with-framed-divider-for-room/ (Accessed 2014-10-02). fig. 2. Building Design webpage. http://www.bdonline.co.uk/how-ahmm-delivered-housing-with-real-value-at-adelaide-wharf/3127796. (Accessed 2014-10-02). fig. 3. http://archinect.com/forum/thread/97994340/ryue-nishizawa-moriyama-house-and-his-design-approach (Accessed 2014-0-02). fig. 4. Blog by Zoe. http://georgewithears.blogspot.se/2013/10/a-sneak-peak-at-what-is-up-for-grabs.html. (Accessed 2014-10-02).

“Furnished window” by Gio Ponti, fig. 4

LOOKING FOR QUALITIES Is it possible to create such qualities between outside and inside, the openings and the views within the limits of the narrow facade, or is it’s limits too defined? To discuss this and examine the qualities of the narrow facade we went to Landskrona and the narrow dwelling ”Town House”, made by the architects Jonas Elding and Johan Oscarsson. The building was completed in 2009 and have since then been both loved and hated by the critics. The dwelling measures 125 square meters with its three floors and a small inner backyard separates the home with a private office. The plot is 5 meters wide and 15 meters long and it’s situated in the old neighborhood of the small town Landskrona, in the southern part of Sweden.2 ARRIVING TO THE SITE Crossing the central square you turn right into a narrow street, and suddenly the white box-like building, sandwiched between old row houses, approaches in front of you. Because of its contrasting facade it’s easy to imagine that the building has been discussed, and that it has to live with comments as ”a Scandinavian version of a Japanese town house” or ”a white shoe box destroying the old neighborhood”.3 But do we find the qualities that Klaffke is describing in this example? How is the narrow facade dealing with outside and inside, openings and boundaries? To claim that the Town House isn’t corresponding in a respectful way with it’s surroundings is hard when the height of the building is the same as the neighbors, the proportions are well balanced and the smallscale size fits well in the rhythm of low and tall buildings along the street. The architects themselves explain that their aim was to ”create a sharp contrast, to express inherent clarity, but more importantly to highlight the beauty of the surroundings”.4 location, section and floor plans, fig. 5

Town House, front. fig. 6

2.Elding Oscarson Townhouse Landskrona. A+U. 10 no. 06 (2010): 90-95 3. Byggnadsvårdsnytt. http://byggnadsvardsnytt.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/en-fyrkantig-vit-lada-arkitekt-dundrar-mot-karensbristande-intresse-for-byggnadstradition-och-stadsmiljo/ (Accessed 2014-10-02). 4. Elding Oscarson Townhouse Landskrona. A+U. 10 no. 06 (2010): 90-95 fig. 5. Elding Oscarson website. http://www.eldingoscarson.com/projects/townhouse/ (Accessed 2014-10-02). fig. 6. ibid fig. 7. ibid

streetview, fig. 7

sight lines from exterior, fig. 8

view from terrace, fig. 9

entrance, fig. 10

view from living room, fig. 11

view from backyard, fig. 12



But what about the openings and the privacy of the facade? Compared to the neighbors, the Town House’s glassed front door situated at the same hight level as the street, undoubtedly makes the facade of the dwelling more open. The neighboring houses are more closed, placed on a different height with stairs to the entrances and small windows, but still bringing a tactile, human atmosphere to the street. The windows in the facade of the Town House are placed so the viewer from the street can see through the building, through the inner rooms, to the sky and garden at the other side. In a playful way the private space and the public street allows to take part of each other’s lives, through the spatial sequence of the narrow facade. This openness could be compared to Japanese housing traditions, where the boundaries between private and urban, inside and outside often are more blurred than in Western architecture. In contemporary Japanese architecture there’s a tendency to make the exterior walls as thin as possible, so there won’t be a difference between inner and outer walls in thickness and in its elements (as doors and windows). A literal example of blurring borders between outside and inside could be seen in the Japanese infill project ”Garden & House” by Saana, where the walls are made of glass supplemented with curtains.5

The fact that the Town House is standing in an urban context, makes it interesting to look into the social qualities of a narrow facade. What does the row house typology give to the street, with this close relationship between private and urban space? The danish architect Jan Gehl talks about the importance of visual contact between inside and outside to create contact opportunities. In residential housing for example flowerbeds, front gardens or different level heights, could be used to preserve the views from the buildings but keep a distance to the private sphere.6 Gehl explains that it’s important that it’s easy to go in and out from dwellings, to generate the ”come and going” traffic and encourage outdoor activities. For example with low narrow dwellings put together forming row housing, the direct access to the outdoor creates opportunities for spontaneous meetings and maintains a good ”flow” from in and out.7 Garden & House by Sanaa, fig. 13

Town House entrance from outside, fig. 14 5. Wietzorrek, Ulrike. Housing+. Basel: Biskhäuser Verlag GmbH, 2014, 360. 6. Gehl, Jan. Cities for people. London: Island press, 2009, 150. 7. Gehl, Jan. Life between buildings. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1987, 186. 8. ibid 187. fig. 8. Elding Oscarson Townhouse Landskrona. A+U. 10 no. 06 (2010): 90-95 fig. 9. photograph by author, (2014-09-26) fig. 10. Elding Oscarson Townhouse Landskrona. A+U. 10 no. 06 (2010): 90-95 fig. 11. photograph by author, (2014-09-26) fig. 12. ibid fig. 13. Dezeen webpage. http://www.dezeen.com/2013/01/23/garden-and-house-by-ryue-nishizawa/ (Accessed 2014-10-02). fig. 14. photograph by author, (2014-09-26) fig. 15. ibid

Town House entrance from inside, fig. 15

One of the primarily rules that Gehl states is that indoors and outdoors should be on the same level, like it is in our Town House example. He describes continuously the quality of dwellings that have a small porch and front yard, but also a private outdoor backyard, that provides valuable freedom to choose between staying on the public side of the house or in the private.8

DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION Is it then possible to create a facade with carefully created views, a controlled entrance situation and a wanted spatial sequence, in the case of narrow dwellings? In the example of the Town House it seems possible to find all these qualities within the facade, aware of that the Town House is not the most extreme example of a narrow dwelling. It could still though be a good example of how to handle the entrance situation in narrow row housing and also how an infill facade could relate to its neighbors in a concious way. According to Gehl the fact that the entrance is close to the urban street is more of a quality than a challenge and along with the openings and the lack of foundation, the flow between private and social space is strengthen even more. But what about the similarities to the Japanese town house, is the dwelling by Elding Oscarson a Scandinavian version of it? To the right theres a section (fig. 16) of the Town House and below it three photos (fig. 17-19) of Moriyama House by Sanaa. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no doubt that similarities to a Japanese dwelling could de found in the Town House when is comes to plan and the use of light, but the shape of the building, with itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s form of a box and white color, has less to do with Japanese traditions than the critics wants to claim. The blurred border between private and public space, that though inspired from the Japanese housing, is created from the well chosen openings found even within the limits of the narrow facade.

section through Town House by Elding Oscarson, fig. 16

Moriyama House by Sanaa, fig. 17

fig. 16. Elding Oscarson website. http://www.eldingoscarson.com/projects/townhouse/content/eo-townhouse-li-19/ (Access 2014-10-02) fig. 17. Amassing Design. http://amassingdesign.blogspot.se/2010/03/moriyama-house-sanaa-kazuyo-sejima-ryue.html (Access 2014-10-02) fig. 18. ibid fig. 19. ibid

Moriyama House by Sanaa, fig. 18

Moriyama House by Sanaa, fig. 19

05 U rban Interventions Keret House as a tool for densification Between two housing blocs in the centre of Warsaw, Polen, lies Keret house designed by Jakub Szczesny. The house consists of 14,5 m2 living space and serves as a temporary dwelling for Jewish writer Etgar Keret as part of a temporary art installation meant to be “a symbol of modern Warsaw ingrained in its complicated history” 1 . Keret house was originally intended as a something more long lasting, but because of the unique circumstances surrounding the plot, regular building permission was not granted and the house had to be classified as an art installation and therefore scheduled to be demolished in 2016. The House is located on a plot measuring 92 centimeters in its narrowest point and 152 centimeters in its widest point 2 . At first glance the idea of construction of living space within such premise seem impossible, but “Keret House is to contradict that false image, simultaneously broadening the concept of impossible architecture”, says the architect Jakub Szczesny 3 . The structure of the house consists of a lightweight steel frame, builds off site and mounted between two housing blocks, lifted above the street level with a secluded access staircase. With the steel frame, metal cladding and only one window towards the street make the building a so called “nonmatching” in the city’s urban fabric emphasizing the idea of not blending in but as something completely different from the rest of its context. This way of using temporary urban dwellings to densify cities is fairly common in other parts of the world, especially in countries like Japan and the Netherlands. We will now look into how this is done in other cultures to get a better understanding of the nature of this sort of typology. ill. 01 - Keret House

ill. 02 - Keret House interior 01

ill. 03 - Keret House interior 02

1 Inside The Keret House – the World’s Skinniest House – by Jakub Szczesny, Archdaily, 03 Nov 2012, http://www.archdaily.com/289630/inside-the-keret-house-the-worlds-skinniest-house-by-jakub-szczesny/, accessed 23 Sep 2014 2 ibid. 3 A Tight Squeeze: Warsaw’s Keret House [video], 4 nov. 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=259ZyGZruaA, viewed 23 September 2014.

ill. 04 - Keret House interior 03

ill. 05 - Keret House interior 04

ill. 06 - Keret House interior 05

V oid Metabolism Densification in contemporary Tokyo, Japan In Japanese culture, building narrow houses on plots with limited space is fairly common. Architecture firms like Atelier Bow-wow have specialized in designing narrow houses for the particularly dense parts of Tokyo. These narrow plots are the bi-product of what Yoshiharu Tsukamoto, founder of Atelier Bowwow, describes as “Void Metabolism” - an inevitable result of Japanese constant renewal of Tokyo’s urban fabric4. In Tokyo in the 1960’ties an average property plot consisted of 250 m2, but due to an economic bubble in the 1980’ties, these plots where subdivided and sold resulting in a plot today consisting of 80 m2 in average5. The common typology used for subdividing these plots was the narrow house, trying to give most houses as possible access to the roads. Due to the building traditions in Japan, the average lifespan of a family house is down to 28 years in average, compared to England with 130 years in avarage6.The result is a city constantly changing its metabolism7, constantly rebuilding itself and leaving valuable space in its cracks. This makes it extremely difficult for architects and urban planners to stop this unstoppable nature of the city. Almost 1.8 million properties are owned by private landowners8 and can’t therefore be controlled easily. The challenge for architects in Japan is not so much how to change the city, but how to intervene. This gives Japanese architects like Atelier bow-wow a chance to challenge the narrow row-house typology and to create new forms of living in the centre of Tokyo. Inspired by what Atelier Bow-wow calls “pet architecture” new forms of typologies can be created in the leftover gaps in the urban fabric9. Pet architecture is described as buildings existing in the most unexpected places within Tokyo city limit10, as a way to exploit the forgotten space in the city. This form of architecture is often not designed by architects but by the people living inTokyo.These buildings have been built on challenging plots defined by the surrounding buildings, often with limited funds available. This form of radical architecture can be seen as extreme manifestation of the Japanese fascination with smallness and void-phobia11 and often as an effective way of densifying an already dense city. By building these narrow houses within these limited plots a new kind of architecture is created, one that doesn’t conform to any other architectural style, unexpecting by nature and therefore free from prejudice and pretentions.

ill. 08 - Pet Architecture - Tokyo

ill. 09 - Pet Architecture - Tokyo

ill. 07 - Pet Architecture - Tokyo

ill. 10 - Pet Architecture - Tokyo

ill. 11 - Pet Architecture - Tokyo

4 Tsukamoto, Y 2012, ‘Void metabolism’, Architectural Design, 82, 5, pp. 88-93, Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, EBSCOhost, viewed 23 September 2014.

9 Atelier Bow-wow, Behaviorology, 1st edn, Rizzoli, New York NY 2010, p 13

5 Architecture Behaviorology, Youtube, 11 Mar. 13, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AJ9wWZIop0, Accessed 23. Mar. 2014

10 Atelier Bow-wow, Pet Architecture, 1st edn, World Photo Press, Tokyo Japan, 2002, p 01

6 ibid.

11 Architecture Behaviorology, Youtube, 11 Mar. 13, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AJ9wWZIop0, Accessed 23. Mar. 2014

7 ibid. 8 ibid.

ill. 12 - Pet Architecture - Tokyo

Urban Densification Contemporary Dutch approach

Similar alternative ways of densification can be found in Groningen, a student city in northern Netherlands. The Dutch narrow house typology is a product of government taxation done in 152812. Due to the soft Dutch soil, the Government had to supervise piling for foundation when building new houses. The taxation of having piles driven for foundation was determined by the width of the house, resulting in the narrow house typology, which is now a big part of Dutch heritage. Dense cities like Groningen consists therefore of this sort of narrow house typology as a part of their heritage. Contemporary densification of the cities often results in growth spreading the city further outwards. This creates new parts of the city and makes it polynuclear13, moving focus away from the old centre. Here architects are challenged with the question; how can you retain current qualities found the in the city centre while adding more dwellings? In Groningen, Netherlands, Dutch architects DAAD Architecten created Light House, a way of densifying urban areas without demolishing existing buildings. Their Light House consists of four prefabricated wooden houses mounted onto columns, punched through the existing house below. These houses made of lightweight wooden structure and cladding are created off site and then transported to the site where they are to be assembled. Due to city codes and zoning regulations in Groningen, a lot of buildable space is available above the roof of the existing buildings, but because of the cost of demolishing or renovation, few people are willing to use this available space14. By prefabricating dwellings, the cost of demolishing the existing house is saved and with already accessible sewer and electricity further price reductions can be made 15. Using the roof gives the possibility to create collective spaces, terraces and roof gardens while the character of the old city centre at street level remains intact by literally adding another layer to the city.

ill. 14 - Construction of Light House, 01

ill. 15 - Construction of Light House, 02

12 Janse, H 1994, Building Amsterdam / Written And Illustrated By Herman Janse, n.p.: Amsterdam : De Brink, cop. , Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1994 p 35 13 Winy Mass, Jacob van Rijs, 3rd edn, nai010 publishers, Rotterdam The Netherlands. 2013, p 122 14 LIGHTHOUSE - WONENOPHET TWEEDE MAAIVELD, Daad Architecten,Groningen, februari 2005, http://www.daad.nl/media/2005PDF_Cahier-2-01.pdf, accessed 23 Sep 2014 15 ibid.

ill. 16 - Construction of Light House, 03

ill. 13 - Light House in Groningen, The Netherlands

ill. 17 - Construction of Light House, 04

ill. 18 - Construction of Light House, 05

Urban Interventions

The Narrow House as a tool for densification The two ways of using the narrow house typology as a way of densifying a city, as seen in Japanese and Dutch culture, have a lot of similarities. The reason for using the narrow house as a typology in both buildingtraditionsisaresultofeconomyasthemainfactor,butalsoasameantocreateasmanydwellings in the city as possible. In relation to using the typology when it comes to“urban intervention”the main difference lies in the lifespan of buildings in the different countries. When speaking of pet architecture in Japan, the typology is used as a way of repairing the urban fabric or as a mean of stitching the city togetherafterthevoidmetabolismwhereinDutchculturetheurbaninterventionsisusedasameanof keeping a high density near the city center and to avoid sprawl. The idea of fabricating Keret house off site is fairly similar to the one used by DAAD architects in their LightHouseprojects–prefabricatingdwellingsfor“forgotten”orunexploitedplacesinthecity,densifying while retaining the existing qualities of the city. Because of the difficulties when building on rooftops or betweentwobuildingsinanarrowplot,thissortofapproachisnecessaryforloweringbuildingtime,cost and general accessibility when working. WheredensificationinTokyo-Japan,seemstoberepairingthecityduetotheeffectofvoidmetabolism, Dutch cities tend to strive for densifying the existing urban fabric. The temporary nature of the Keret house makes it strongly relate to Pet architecture as presented by Atelier Bow-wow.The facade of Keret housedoesnottrytoblendinbutstandsoutasanindependentbuildinggivingitastrongpresenceeven foritssize.KeretHousealsosharesthequalityoftheunexpectinglikewithpetarchitecture,possiblyused by the architect as a mean of drawing attention to his work and to promote the concept of impossible architecture.

ill. 20 - Atelier Bow-wow - Split Machiya

ill. 19 - Keret House Sections

ill. 21 - Daad Architecten - Light House





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 ŚŽƵƐĞ ŝƐ Ă ŵĂĐŚŝŶĞ ĨŽƌ ůŝǀŝŶŐ͘ (Le Corbusier . 1923)

It’s now nearly one hundred years ago when Le Corbusier tried to industrialize the ƉƌŽĚƵĐƟŽŶ ŽĨ ĚǁĞůůŝŶŐƐ ǁŝƚŚ his work. With his Unité Ě͛,ĂďŝƚĂƟŽŶ ŚĞ ƚƌŝĞĚ ƚŽ ƌĞĂĐŚ ƚŚĞ ƐĂŵĞ ƉƌŽĚƵĐƟǀŝƚLJ ŝŶ ĐŽŶƐƚƌƵĐƟŶŐ Ă ďƵŝůĚŝŶŐ ĂƐ ŝƚ ǁĂƐ ĂůƌĞĂĚLJ ƐƚĂƚĞ ŽĨ ƚŚĞ Ăƌƚ ŝŶ the machine industry. Reaching Ă ŚŝŐŚĞƌ ƉƌŽĮƚĂďŝůŝƚLJ ďLJ ƵƐŝŶŐ ĐŽŶƚƌŽůůĞĚ ĨĂĐƚŽƌLJ ĞŶǀŝƌŽŶŵĞŶƚ with precise, autonomous ŵĂĐŚŝŶĞƌLJ ƚŽ ĂƐƐĞŵďůĞ ĞǀĞƌLJ component. The idea was ƚŽ ŐŝǀĞ Ă ǁŝĚĞƌ ƌĂŶŐĞ ŽĨ ƚŚĞ ƉŽƉƵůĂƟŽŶ Ă ŚŝŐŚĞƌ ĐŽŵĨŽƌƚ ŽĨ ůŝǀŝŶŐ͘ dŚĞ ƚŽƉŝĐ ďĞĐĂŵĞ ĞǀĞŶ ŵŽƌĞ ĂĐƵƚĞ ĂŌĞƌ ƚŚĞ ƚǁŽ World Wars when an incredible ĂŵŽƵŶƚŽĨĂīŽƌĚĂďůĞĚǁĞůůŝŶŐƐ ǁĂƐƌĞƋƵŝƌĞĚĂƐĨĂƐƚĂƐƉŽƐƐŝďůĞ͘ So to speak, dwellings had to be ĞĸĐŝĞŶƚŝŶƌĞůĂƟŽŶƚŽĞĐŽŶŽŵLJ ĂŶĚ ƟŵĞ͘ dƌŝĞĚ ƚŽ ƐŽůǀĞ ƚŚĞ ƉƌŽďůĞŵďLJƵƐŝŶŐƉƌĞĨĂďƌŝĐĂƚĞĚ͕ modular building systems. EŽǁĂĚĂLJƐ ƚŚĞ ŝĚĞĂƐ ŽĨ ƚŚĞ ŵŽĚĞƌŶŝƐƚƐ ŚĂǀĞ ďĞĐŽŵĞ ĞǀĞŶ ŵŽƌĞ ƚŽƉŝĐĂů ƚŚĂŶ ĞǀĞƌ͘ DŽƌĞ and more people want to ůŝǀĞ Ăƚ ƚŚĞ ƐĂŵĞ ƉůĂĐĞ͕ ƐŽ ƚŚĞ

consequence is that a shortage ŝŶŚŽƵƐŝŶŐŝƐǀĞƌLJĐŽŵŵŽŶ͘KƵƌ ĐŝƟĞƐ ŚĂǀĞ ƚŽ ŐĞƚ ĚĞŶƐĞƌ ŝŶ Ă ǀĞƌLJƐŚŽƌƚƐƉĂĐĞŽĨƟŵĞ͘ƚƚŚĞ ƐĂŵĞ ƟŵĞ ĞĐŽŶŽŵŝĐ ƉƌŽďůĞŵƐ are growing and that leads to a ĐŚĞĂƉĞƌĂǀĂŝůĂďŝůŝƚLJŽĨŚŽƵƐŝŶŐ͘ In a world where buildings must be cheaper, quicker, cleaner and more ĞŶǀŝƌŽŶŵĞŶƚĂůůLJ ĨƌŝĞŶĚůLJ ƚŚĂŶ ĞǀĞƌ͕ ĚĞǀĞůŽƉĞƌƐ ĂƌĞ looking to other industries to build ŽƵƌĨƵƚƵƌĞŚŽƵƐŝŶŐ͘ Can we really build houses in ĨĂĐƚŽƌŝĞƐ͍1 ĂŶ ƚŚĞ ƐŽůƵƟŽŶ ďĞ Ă standardised, controlled way ŽĨ ƉƌĞĨĂďƌŝĐĂƟŶŐ ĚǁĞůůŝŶŐƐ ĂƐ modules to counteract these ƉƌŽďůĞŵƐ͍ Kƌ ŝŶ ŽƚŚĞƌ ǁŽƌĚƐ͕ ĐĂŶ ŵŽĚƵůĂƌŝƚLJ ďĞ ĂŶ ĞĸĐŝĞŶƚ ƚŽŽů ŝŶ ďƵŝůĚŝŶŐ ŽƵƌ ĨƵƚƵƌĞ ŚŽŵĞƐ͍

'ƌŽŐĂŶ͕ ďŝ͘ ͞&>dW< /d/^͘͟ ŶŐŝŶĞĞƌŝŶŐ Θ dĞĐŚŶŽůŽŐLJ ;ϭϳϱϬϵϲϯϳͿ ϵ͕ ŶŽ͘ ϯ ;ƉƌŝůϮϬϭϰͿ͗ϱϰͲϱϳ͘;ĂĐĐĞƐƐĞĚKĐƚŽďĞƌϮ͕ϮϬϭϰͿ͕ϱϰ͘


>KZh^/ZǀƐ͘'ZKW/h^ Let’s go back to the beginning when Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius tried to standardize the building process. >Ğ ŽƌďƵƐŝĞƌ designed in the ϭϵϮϬƐ Ă ŶĞǁ ƚLJƉĞ ŽĨ ďƵŝůĚŝŶŐ͕ combining his three basic ƉƌŽƚŽƚLJƉĞƐ ;ŽŵŝŶŽ͕ DŽŶŽů and Citrohan), called the DĂŝƐŽŶ ŝƚƌŽŚĂŶ͘  ŚŽƵƐĞ͕ ƚŚĂƚƐŚŽƵůĚďĞĂƐĞĸĐŝĞŶƚĂƐĂ car (the name Citröhan should ƌĞĨĞƌ ƚŽ ƚŚĞ ĐĂƌ ŵĂŶƵĨĂĐƚŽƌLJ Citroen). Built in series in a ĨĂĐƚŽƌLJ ũƵƐƚ ůŝŬĞ ƚŚĞ ĐŽŶĐĞƉƚ ŽĨ ĂƐƐĞŵďůLJůŝŶĞŵĂŶƵĨĂĐƚƵƌŝŶŐŽĨ cars, ships or plans. With this he ƚLJƉŝĮĞĚĂǁŚŽůĞďƵŝůĚŝŶŐǁŝƚŚĂ ƐŵĂůůĂŵŽƵŶƚŽĨƉŽƐƐŝďŝůŝƟĞƐƚŽ ĂĚĞƉƚŽƌŝŶĚŝǀŝĚƵĂůŝnjĞŝƚ͘2

Walter Gropius on the other hand did not try to standardize a whole building, but only single components. His basic idea applied to combine the greatest ƉŽƐƐŝďůĞ ƚLJƉŝĮĐĂƟŽŶ ǁŝƚŚ ƚŚĞ ŐƌĞĂƚĞƐƉŽƐƐŝďůĞǀĂƌŝĂďŝůŝƚLJ͘ hŶŝƚLJŝŶWůƵƌĂůŝƚLJ It’s all about combining ƐƚĂŶĚĂƌĚŝnjĞĚ ĂŶĚ ŵĂƐƐͲ ƉƌŽĚƵĐĞĚĞůĞŵĞŶƚƐƚŽĂǀĂƌŝĞƚLJ ŽĨĚŝīĞƌĞŶƚďƵŝůĚŝŶŐƚLJƉŽůŽŐŝĞƐ͕ the so called Baukasten im Großen.3


the site can be reduced to only ĂĨĞǁǁĞĞŬƐ͘ϲ

D Ž Ě Ƶ ů Ă ƌ construction ƉƌŽǀŝĚĞƐ ĐŽŶĐŝƐĞ ĐŽŶƚƌŽů ŽǀĞƌ ƚŚĞƐĞ ĐŽŶĐĞƌŶƐ͗ ĞĂĐŚ ŇŽŽƌŽĨƚŚĞŝƌĨƵƚƵƌĞ property can be moderated in sterile, controlled ĐŽŶĚŝƟŽŶƐ͘ϱ

There is a tendency ŽĨ ƉĞŽƉůĞ ǁŚŽ ƉƌĞĨĞƌƚŽůŝǀĞĐůŽƐĞ to the city centre.



ĨƵƌƚŚĞƌĂƐƉĞĐƚŽĨŵŽǀŝŶŐƚŚĞ ďƵŝůĚŝŶŐ ƉƌŽĐĞƐƐ ĂǁĂLJ ĨƌŽŵ the building site is to spare the ŶĞŝŐŚďŽƵƌƐ ŽĨ ŶŽŝƐĞ ƉŽůůƵƟŽŶ͕ ďƌŝĐŬĚƵƐƚ͕ŚĞĂǀLJŵĂĐŚŝŶĞƌLJĂŶĚ all the other things that are part ŽĨĐŽŶƐƚƌƵĐƟŶŐĂŶĞǁďƵŝůĚŝŶŐ͘ The actual building process at

ĐĂƐĞ͘Ă modules in a big scale low adaptability ŐŽŽĚǀĂůƵĞ

module scale

ŝĚĞĂůŝnjĞĚĞĸĐĞŶĐLJ modules in a big scale high adaptability ďĞƐƚͲǀĂůƵĞ

module scale

module scale

FROM THE SITE INTO THE FACTORY dĂŬŝŶŐ ƚŚĞ ƉƌŽĐĞƐƐ ŽĨ ĐŽŶƐƚƌƵĐƟŶŐ Ă ďƵŝůĚŝŶŐ ĂǁĂLJ ĨƌŽŵƚŚĞĂĐƚƵĂůƐŝƚĞĂŶĚƉƵƫŶŐ ŝƚ ŝŶƚŽ Ă ĐŽŶƚƌŽůůĞĚ ĨĂĐƚŽƌLJ ĞŶǀŝƌŽŶŵĞŶƚĂůůŽǁƐĞǀĞŶŵŽƌĞ ĞĐŽŶŽŵŝĐĂĚǀĂŶƚĂŐĞƐ͘ ĂĐŚ ĐŽŵƉŽŶĞŶƚ ŽĨ Ă building can be specialised ƵŶƟů ŝƚ ƌĞĂĐŚĞƐ ŝƚƐ ŽƉƟŵƵŵ͘ WĞƌŵĂŶĞŶƚ ƋƵĂůŝƚLJͲĐŚĞĐŬƐ ĂŶĚ ƚŚĞ ƉŽƐƐŝďŝůŝƚLJ ƚŽ ƚƌĂĐŬ ĞǀĞƌLJ ƉŝĞĐĞďĂĐŬƚŽƚŚĞŵĂŶƵĨĂĐƚƵƌŝŶŐ ĐĞůů ĨƌŽŵ ǁŚŝĐŚ ŝƚ ǁĂƐ ĐƌĞĂƚĞĚ ĂƌĞƐƵƉƉŽƌƟŶŐƚŚŝƐƉƌŽĐĞƐƐ͘KŶ ƚŚĞďĂƐŝƐŽĨƚŚŝƐƐƉĞĐŝĂůŝnjĂƟŽŶĂ ƌĞĚƵĐƟŽŶ ŽĨ ƚŚĞ ĞŶĞƌŐLJ ƚŚĂƚ͛Ɛ ƵƐĞĚĨŽƌĂďƵŝůĚŝŶŐŝƐƚŚĞƌĞƐƵůƚ͘ Currently buildings consume ĂďŽƵƚϰϬƉĞƌĐĞŶƚŽĨƚŚĞǁŽƌůĚ͛Ɛ ĞŶĞƌŐLJ ĐŽŶƐƵŵƉƟŽŶ͕ ƐŽ ƚŚĞƌĞ is an enormous opportunity to reduce it by making buildings and the process behind more sustainable.ϰ

ĐĂƐĞ͘ď modules in a small scale high adaptability ĞdžƉĞŶƐŝǀĞ



ĐĨ͘'ƌŽŐĂŶϮϬϭϰ͕ϱϱ͘ /ďŝĚ͕ϱϱ͘



t cos

ada pta bili ty

t cos

ada pta bili ty

It would no longer be necessary ƚŽ ŝŶĐƌĞĂƐĞ ƚŚĞ ĐŝƟĞƐ ŽŶůLJ Ăƚ ƚŚĞŝƌ ĞĚŐĞƐ͘ dŚĞƌĞ ŝƐ ĞǀĞŶ ĂŶ example in New York City, ǁŚĞƌĞ Ă ƉƌŽũĞĐƚ ĐĂůůĞĚ ͞ĂĚĂƉƚ Ez ŵŝĐƌŽͲŚŽƵƐŝŶŐ͟ ǁŝůů ďĞ realised soon. ^Ž&ůĂƚƉĂĐŬĐŝƟĞƐ͕ŵƵĐŚůŝŬĞĂŶ /<ŇĂƚƉĂĐŬ͕ǁŝůůŐĞƚŝŵƉŽƌƚĂŶƚ when we try to think about our ĨƵƚƵƌĞĐŝƟĞƐ͘8



ada pta bili ty

DŽĚƵůĂƌŝƚLJ͕ ĐŽŵďŝŶĞĚ ǁŝƚŚ ƉƌĞĨĂďƌŝĐĂƟŽŶ ĂůůŽǁƐ ŝƚ ƚŽ construct new dwellings at spaces where it wouldn’t be possible, or at least ǀĞƌLJ ĐŽŵƉůŝĐĂƚĞĚ͕ ďLJ ƵƐŝŶŐ ĐŽŶǀĞŶƟŽŶĂů ŵĞƚŚŽĚƐ͘ dŚŝƐ means that inside a city that struggles with housing shortage, Ă ĚĞŶƐŝĮĐĂƟŽŶ͕ ďLJ ĂĚĚŝŶŐ ŶĞǁ ĚǁĞůůŝŶŐƐ ďĞƚǁĞĞŶ ĞdžŝƐƟŶŐ ones, is absolutely imaginable. ŶĚǁŽƵůĚĂůƐŽďĞƉŽƐƐŝďůĞŝŶĂ ǀĞƌLJĞĂƐLJĂŶĚĐŽƐƚͲĞĸĐŝĞŶƚǁĂLJ͘



t cos

D Ž Ě Ƶ ů Ă ƌ construction ŚĞůƉƐ ŵŽǀĞ ƚŚĞ ĚŝƐƌƵƉƟǀĞ ƐŝĚĞ ŽĨ ĐŽŶƐƚƌƵĐƟŽŶ ĂǁĂLJ ĨƌŽŵ ƚŚĞ ŚƵƐƚůĞ ŽĨ ƌĞƐŝĚĞŶƟĂů Žƌ commercial areas.ϳ







ŬŽƵǀŽůĂ͘ĮŶůĂŶĚ ϭϱ͘ϬϬϬŵ2 . housing ƉƌĞĨĂďƌŝĐĂƚĞĚǁŽŽĚĐŽŶƐƚƌ͘

copenhagen . denmark ϯϲ͘ϬϬϬŵ2 . mixed use ƉƌĞĨĂďƌŝĐĂƚĞĚƐƚĞĞůĐŽŶƐƚƌ͘

KŶĞĞdžĂŵƉůĞŝƐƚŚĞĞŶƚƌLJŽĨ/' ĂƌĐŚŝƚĞĐƚƐ ĨŽƌ ƚŚĞ Ϯ ;ĞĐŽůŽŐLJ н ĞĐŽŶŽŵLJͿ ĐŽŵƉĞƟƟŽŶ͘  ĐŽŵƉĞƟƟŽŶ͕ ƚŚĂƚ ĂŝŵƐ ƚŽ ƉƌŽƚŽƚLJƉĞĂůĂƌŐĞͲƐĐĂůĞǁŽŽĚĞŶ ĐŽŶƐƚƌƵĐƟŽŶ ƚŚĂƚ ĐĂŶ ďĞ replicated worldwide. /'ƌĞƚŚŽƵŐŚƚƚŚĞƐLJƐƚĞŵŽĨ>Ğ Corbusier’s Domino and tried ƚŽ ƉƵƚ ŝƚ ŽŶƚŽ Ă ĨƵƌƚŚĞƌ ůĞǀĞů͘ WhhͲK ŝƐ Ă ĐŽŵƉƌĞŚĞŶƐŝǀĞ ƉƌĞĨĂďƌŝĐĂƚĞĚƐŽůƵƟŽŶƚŚĂƚƚƌŝĞƐ ƚŽ ďĞ ŵŽƌĞ ŇĞdžŝďůĞ ƚŚĂŶ ĂŶLJ ŽƚŚĞƌƐLJƐƚĞŵďĞĨŽƌĞ͘9 It’s a system based ŶŽƚŽŶƉƌĞĚĞĮŶĞĚ͕ standard elements ďƵƚ ďĞƐƚ ƉƌĂĐƟĐĞƐ͘ Ɛ ƐƵĐŚ͕ ŝƚ ŝƐ ĚĞƐŝŐŶĞĚ ĨŽƌ ĞǀŽůƵƟŽŶ͘ϭϬ



KƵƚ ŽĨ ƚŚĞƐĞ ͞ŵŽĚƵůĞƐ ŵĂĚĞ ŽĨ ŵŽĚƵůĞƐ͟ Ă ƌĂŐĞ ŽĨ typologies and building uses are ĐŽŶĐĞŝǀĂďůĞ͘11 With this system it is possible to look also at the surroundings ŽĨ Ă ďƵŝůĚŝŶŐ ĂŶĚ ƚŚĞ ƐƉĂĐĞƐ in between. It’s not a system ĐŽŵƉůĞƚĞĚ ŝŶ ŝƚƐĞůĨ͘ /ƚ ĐĂŶ ďĞ ƉůĂĐĞĚ ĂŶLJǁŚĞƌĞ ĨƌŽŵ ƚŚĞ ĐŽƵŶƚƌLJƐŝĚĞ ƚŽ ƚŚĞ ĐĞŶƚƌĞ ŽĨ Ă dense city.

dŚĞ ǀĞƌLJ ƐĂŵĞ elements could be used in both a ϮͲƐƚŽƌĞLJƌĞƐŝĚĞŶƟĂů house and a skyscraper with no loss in material ĞĸĐŝĞŶĐLJ͘12

Ŷ ĞƋƵŝǀĂůĞŶƚ ƵŶƐƚĂďůĞ ĂŶĚ unclear economy led to this new ďƵŝůĚŝŶŐ ĐŽŶĐĞƉƚ͘  ŵŽĚƵůĂƌ ĐŽŶĐĞƉƚ ǁŝƚŚ ŚŝŐŚ ŇĞdžŝďŝůŝƚLJ͕ ƚŚĂƚ ŽĸĐĞƐ ĐĂŶ ďĞ ĞĂƐŝůLJ ƚƌĂŶƐĨŽƌŵĞĚ ŝŶƚŽ ĚǁĞůůŝŶŐƐ Žƌ small apartments into bigger ŽŶĞƐ ĂŶĚ ǀŝĐĞ ǀĞƌƐĂ͘ dŚĞ ĐŽŶƐƚĞůůĂƟŽŶ ŽĨ ƚŚĞ ŝŶĚŝǀŝĚƵĂů modular cubes allows a high ĂĚĂƉƚĂďŝůŝƚLJ ŝŶ ŝƚƐ ĨƵŶĐƟŽŶƐ͕ specially concerning market ĨŽƌĐĞƐ͘13 &ůĞdžŝďŝůŝƚLJ ĨŽƌ ĂĚĂƉƚĂƟŽŶ ŝƐ ŽŶĞ ŽĨ ƚŚĞ ďĞƐƚ sustainable ĐŚĂƌĂĐƚĞƌŝƐƟĐƐŽĨĂ building.ϭϰ


In this case modularity ŝƐ ĞĸĐŝĞŶƚ ďĞĐĂƵƐĞ ŽĨ ŝƚƐ ƉŽƐƐŝďŝůŝƚLJƚŽďĞƚƌĂŶƐĨŽƌŵĂďůĞ͘ ǀĞƌLJŵŽĚƵůĞŝƐŝŶĨĂĐƚƚŚĞƐĂŵĞ and there will be no problems ďLJ ĐŚĂŶŐŝŶŐ ƚŚĞŝƌ ƉƵƌƉŽƐĞƐ͘  ŶĞǁ ĚĞǀĞůŽƉŵĞŶƚ ƚŚĂƚ ƐƵŝƚƐ Ă ǁŝĚĞ ǀĂƌŝĞƚLJ ŽĨ ƉĞŽƉůĞͬ ĨƵŶĐƟŽŶƐ͘ &ƵƌƚŚĞƌŵŽƌĞ ƚŚŝƐ module allows a structure to ƉƌĞƐĞƌǀĞ ƚŚĞ ƋƵĂůŝƟĞƐ ŽĨ ƚŚĞ ĞdžŝƐƟŶŐ ƐŝƚĞ ĂŶĚ ďƵŝůĚ Ă ŶĞǁ ĚĞŶƐĞĚĞǀĞůŽƉŵĞŶƚĂƚƚŚĞƐĂŵĞ ƟŵĞ͘  ƐŝƚĞ ƐƉĞĐŝĮĐ ƐƚƌĂƚĞŐLJ ƚŚĂƚĮƚƐƚŽƚŚĞĐŽŶƚĞdžƚĂŶĚĞǀĞŶ ŝŵƉƌŽǀĞƐƚŚĞĞŶǀŝƌŽŶŵĞŶƚ͘ŶĚ that at any random place, don’t ďŽƚŚĞƌ ŝĨ ĐŽƵŶƚƌLJƐŝĚĞ Žƌ ĚĞŶƐĞ city.ϭϱ













 ĐĨ͘ DsZs͘ ZƆĚŽǀƌĞ ^ŬLJǀŝůůĂŐĞ͘ ;ϮϬϬϴͿ͘ ŚƩƉ͗ͬͬǁǁǁ͘ŵǀƌĚǀ͘ŶůͬƉƌŽũĞĐƚƐͬϰϭϱͺ











SO IS MODULARITY THE ANSWER FOR “HOW WE SHOULD BUILD OUR FUTURE DWELLINGS”? DŽĚƵůĂƌŝƚLJ ĂƐ ƉĂƌƚ ŽĨ ƚŚĞ ďƵŝůĚŝŶŐƉƌŽĐĞƐƐǁŝůůĚĞĮŶŝƟǀĞůLJ become more and more ŝŵƉŽƌƚĂŶƚ ŝŶ ƚŚĞ ĨƵƚƵƌĞ͘ /Ŷ ĂůŵŽƐƚ ĞǀĞƌLJ ŽƚŚĞƌ ŝŶĚƵƐƚƌLJ ĂŶ ĞĸĐŝĞŶĐLJ ŝŶĐƌĞĂƐĞ ďLJ ĐŽŶƚƌŽůůŝŶŐ ĞǀĞƌLJ ƐŝŶŐůĞ ƉĂƌƚ ŽĨ ƚŚĞ ƉƌŽĐĞƐƐ ŝƐ ĂůƌĞĂĚLJ ƐƚĂƚĞ ŽĨ the art. That’s why the building ŝŶĚƵƐƚƌLJǁŝůůĂůƐŽĚĞǀĞůŽƉŝŶƚŚŝƐ ĚŝƌĞĐƟŽŶ ŝŶ ƚŚĞ ŶĞĂƌ ĨƵƚƵƌĞ͘ ĐŽŶŽŵŝĐ ĂƐƉĞĐƚƐ ďĞĐŽŵĞ more and more important and ƚŚĞƌĞĨŽƌĞ ŵŽĚƵůĂƌŝƚLJ ǁŽƵůĚ ďĞ ĂƌĞĂƐŽŶĂďůĞƌĞĂĐƟŽŶ͘ dŚĞ ƚĂƐŬ ĨŽƌ ƚŚĞ ĂƌĐŚŝƚĞĐƚƐ ǁŝůů ďĞ ƚŽ ĮŶĚ ƚŚĞ ƌŝŐŚƚ ďĂůĂŶĐĞ ĐŽŶĐĞƌŶŝŶŐ ƚŚĞ ƐŝnjĞ ŽĨ Ă ƐŝŶŐůĞ module, the adaptability and the expenditure. That a ĚǁĞůůŝŶŐ͕ ŵĂĚĞ ŝŶ Ă ĨĂĐƚŽƌLJ͕ ŚĂƐ ƐƟůů ƚŚĞ ƋƵĂůŝƟĞƐ ŽĨ ĂŶ ŝŶĚŝǀŝĚƵĂů͕ ůŝǀĂďůĞ ŚŽŵĞ͘ ŶĚ

it’s not to deny that modular ďƵŝůĚŝŶŐƐ ƐĂǀĞ Ă ůŽƚ ŽĨ ƟŵĞ ŝŶ their building process because ŵŽƐƚ ŽĨ ƚŚĞ ǁŽƌŬ ĐĂŶ ďĞ ĚŽŶĞ ŝŶ Ă ĨĂĐƚŽƌLJ ĂŶĚ ƐŽ ŝƚ ďĞĐŽŵĞƐ ĂůƐŽ ŵŽƌĞ ŝŶĚĞƉĞŶĚĞŶƚ ŽĨ ƚŚĞ ǁĞĂƚŚĞƌƐŝƚƵĂƟŽŶ͘&ƵƌƚŚĞƌŵŽƌĞ LJŽƵƐĂǀĞĂůŽƚŽĨŵŽŶĞLJďĞĐĂƵƐĞ ŽĨ ƚŚĞ ƐƚĂŶĚĂƌĚŝƐĂƟŽŶ ĂŶĚ ĐĂƚĂůŽŐƵŝŶŐŽĨƚŚĞĐŽŵƉŽŶĞŶƚƐ͘ You can say that modularity is ĚĞĮŶŝƟǀĞůLJĞĸĐŝĞŶƚĨŽƌďƵŝůĚŝŶŐ ŽƵƌĨƵƚƵƌĞŚŽŵĞƐ͘ ŶĚ ǁŚŽ ŬŶŽǁƐ͕ ŵĂLJďĞ ŝŶ some years we can order our ĚǁĞůůŝŶŐƐ ŽŶ ŵĂnjŽŶ ĂŶĚ ƚŚĞLJ ǁŝůů ďĞ ĚĞůŝǀĞƌĞĚ ďLJ ƚŚĞŝƌ ŶĞǁ ƐŚŝƉƉŝŶŐŵĞƚŚŽĚ͗,ĞůŝĐŽƉƚĞƌ͘

08 Changeability


1. The Cuschicle and Suitaloon2




Liv ab ilit y

st Co












4. Flexible compact living in Hong Kong by Gary Chang4




Liv ab ility

st Co






džĂŵƉůĞƉƌŽũĞĐƚŝŶĨŽ ƌĐŚŝƚĞĐƚ͗ƌĐŚŝŐƌĂŵǀŝĂ DŝĐŚĂĞůtĞďď dLJƉĞ͗ŽŶĐĞƉƚƵĂůĚĞƐŝŐŶ WƵďůŝƐŚĞĚ͗ƌĐŚŝŐƌĂŵϳΘϴ͕ džŚŝďŝƚĞĚ͗DŝůĂŶƚƌŝŶŶĂůĞ zĞĂƌ͗ϭϵϲϰΘϭϵϲϲ9

7. The Cuschicle 7

8. The Suitaloon 8














Liv ab ility

st Co











14. Total Furnishing Unit 18


ϭϲ ͘>ĞƵƉĞŶ͕,͘DŽŽŝũ͘͞,ŽƵƐŝŶŐĞƐŝŐŶͲĂŵĂŶƵĂů͘͟ZŽƩĞƌĚĂŵ͗EŝWƵďůŝƐŚĞƌƐ͕ ϮϬϭϭ͘Ɖ͘ϲϴ 17 ͘>ĞƵƉĞŶ͕,͘DŽŽŝũ͘͞,ŽƵƐŝŶŐĞƐŝŐŶͲĂŵĂŶƵĂů͘͟ZŽƩĞƌĚĂŵ͗EŝWƵďůŝƐŚĞƌƐ͕ 2011. p.28 ϭϴ WƌŽũĞĐƚŽŽ͘͞ƚŽƚĂůĨƵƌŶŝƐŚŝŶŐƵŶŝƚͬũŽĞĐŽůŽŵďŽ͘͟фŚƩƉ͗ͬͬǁǁǁ͘ƚƵŵďůƌ͘ĐŽŵͬ ƐĞĂƌĐŚͬƚŽƚĂůйϮϬĨƵƌŶŝƐŚŝŶŐйϮϬƵŶŝƚх͘ĐĐĞƐƐĞĚϭϱ^ĞƉϮϬϭϰ͘ ϭϵ


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09 Affordable housing AFFORDABLE - PUBLIC - SOCIAL How can we achieve qualities to a low cost? “(…) housing is an expensive necessity with a social value” (Whitehead 2003, 50)1 When we think about cost efficiency we are led to the idea of affordable housing, that can be understood as accessible to those in need, economically disadvantaged and refugees (social housing) or, by the Swedish universal public housing concept, as ‘useful for everybody’ (“allmännytta”)2 . Even with sundry definitions of affordability it is indisputable that housing is a basic need, a right according to the article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights3. Several studies and formulas were developed to reach affordability in many contexts but it is not a general rule that an affordable dwell is always functional and has good quality. Affordability or low cost can be reached in numerous ways, from public housing companies, public policies and government subsidies to the choice of a streamlined execution and industrialized building system (use of prefabricated elements), but it does not necessarily mean high quality space. But then how can we get minimum cost and obtain space quality? Concerned about this issue and investigating some projects, we concluded that the achievement of efficient affordable housing is related to the balance between quality, function and cost/ economy.

Whitehead, Christine M. E. Restructuring social housing systems In Housing and social change: East–West perspectives Forrest, Ray and Lee, James (eds.), London: Routledge, 2003. <http://books.google.se/>, accessed 24 September 2014. 1

SHARE - Social Housing Action to Reduce Energy Consumption (SHARE); ‘Social Housing in Sweden = Public housing’; <http://www.socialhousingaction.com/ social_housing_in_sweden.htm>, accessed 23 September 2014.


UN, Universal Declaration of Human Rights. <http://www.un.org/en/ documents/udhr/>, accessed 26 September 2014.


In the study case of the project ‘Quinta Monroy’, designed by ELEMENTAL (a company in partnership with the Chilean Oil Company (COPEC) and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), we find out affordability by the efficient use of the land. They were asked by the Chilean government to settle the 100 families of the Quinta Monroy in the same 5.000m² site that they have illegally occupied for the last 30 years which is located in the very center of Iquique, a city in the Chilean desert. The problem was that the land cost three times more than the value a social housing can afford, but the families did not want to be displaced to the periphery, far away from their jobs and social networks. Elemental aimed to maximize the built footprint on the site and also allow for the eventual expansion of the dwellings. They believe social housing should be seen as an investment, not as an expense, that’s why they wanted to make that the initial subsidy could add value over time4. Alejandro Aravena, ELEMENTAL’s Partner Architect and Executive Director, explains that the problem with isolated houses is that they are very inefficient in terms of land use, that is why social housing tends to look for land that costs as little as possible. Thus, Elemental had to achieve enough density, without overcrowding, in order to be able to pay for the site, which because of its location was very expensive. To keep the site, meant to maintain the network of opportunities that the city offered and therefore to strengthen the family economy; on the other hand, good location is the key to increase a property value5.

Then, the design team came up with an intermediate layout solution between the vertical building and the relationship of the house and the street. They developed a variation on the traditional row house: one house on the ground floor and another duplex house occupying the second and the third floors, in which each unit consists of one built segment flanked by an empty area of equal size - a building type that can be inhabited immediately and also incorporate significant change over time. The initial building provided a supporting framework in order to avoid any negative effects of self-construction on the urban environment over time and allowed the family expansion process. It was given to the Quinta Monroy’s population just half of a middle-income house equipped with the barest of basics: plumbing but no fittings for kitchen and bathroom, an access stair, and openings for doorways. From this, residents were able to expand their homes using the architects’ carefully determined openings and plans as guides. Elemental sized the framework for use with standard-size construction materials, such as plywood and sheetrock. By spending roughly $750 in expansion materials, each family could increase the value of their house to around $20,0006.

View of exterior7

This project showed that an efficient use of land and strategic use of the building’s design can provide the opportunity of occupying a better and more expensive territory. The building system and organization also provided a platform for the families to expand without leaving the place and the possibility to create identity and favored better maintenance, increasing building value over time.






Before and after occupation9

“Quinta Monroy / ELEMENTAL”, ArchDaily [website], 31 Dec 2008, <http://www. archdaily.com/?p=10775>, accessed 22 Sep 2014. ELEMENTAL website, <http://www.elementalchile.cl/>, acessed 15 September 2014


Construction phases7

Image credit: ELEMENTAL S.A. Image credit: Tadeuz Jalocha 9 Image credit: ELEMENTAL S.A. and Cristóbal Palma 7 8

‘Palestra de Alejandro Aravena - Arq.Futuro São Paulo 2012’ [video], ArqFuturo Brasil, 20 Dec 2012, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jo3yvGVbp9A>, acessed 22 Sep 2014.


Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), 2011, ‘Small scale Big change Exhibition – Quinta Monroy Housing’, <http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2010/ smallscalebigchange/projects/quinta_monroy_housing>, accessed 26 Sep 2014. 6

View of exterior8

If we think about social housing in Europe, the Jean Nouvel’s Nemausus, localized in Nimes, France is a good, innovative and efficient example. It showed us that an industrialized building system can provide bigger spaces at a low building cost. The project attempted to revive the ideas of identity in opposition to the standardization of space and user. The aim was building an apartment 30% or 40% bigger than usual for the same price. Nouvel defined “a good dwelling is a large dwelling”. A good apartment is flexible, able to convert. A good cheap apartment in a democratic sense. Applied to publicly subsidized housing this meant: efficient and cost-effective building10. Maximum apartment size was provided for by placing communal spaces such as stairways and halls outside the building. Flexibility was created by dividing seventeen different modules for apartment layouts - that range in size from onebedroom flats, duplex to three bedroom triplexes - mixed into the 114 apartments contained in the two blocks. The low cost requirement was met by using prefabricated industrial elements for interior and exterior fittings (mass-produced façades, stairways and galleries) that are items of easy replication and assembly11.

Nouvel designed the apartments from the inside out to prolong the interior and provide more living space. The balconies provide outdoor living to the full: folding doors allow the balcony to be completely integrated with the main living space, expanding the boundaries of each dwelling façade to façade. He also rationalized the use of the land locating the garage floor half-buried in the building’s footprint. The total habitable area is 10.400m², so the average of each dwelling is 91m², far beyond the traditional social housing area, and it only was possible by the cheap and efficient building system and the use of prefabricated.

View of exterior11

Even they had different goals, both projects broke with the social housing pattern of low quality space with innovative planning and construction solutions, providing bigger and better social spaces and avoiding the monotony of the traditional housing complexes, allowing personalization of each dwelling against standardization.

Folding doors10

Possibility of apartment’s boundaries expansion

Section of the different apartments12


‘Jean Nouvel - Nemausus 1’, Architectures (Baukunst) [documentary series], Series 1 Episode 04, ARTE, 20 Aug 1998, <https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=gYcroTb2Jms#t=697>, accessed 15 Sep 2014.


Ateliers Jean Nouvel’s website, Nemausus housing project <http://www. jeannouvel.com/>, accessed 15 September 2014 11

‘Pongsatorn’s case study: ‘Domestic’ reflected by ‘Objects’ /site: ‘Nemausus’ by Jean Nouvel’, Indayear2 Studio, <http://indayear2studio-1314s1.blogspot. se/2013/09/pongsatorns-case-study-domestic_14.html>, accessed 15 Sep 2014. 12

Inside view10

AFFORDABILITY Efficiency Not to only mention social housing, we can bring up the project of the Nothern Gotland summerhouse designed by Love Arbén Arkitektkontor as a great example of how to build cheap but spacious and luxious architecture with a rigid building system that need little human effort to assembly. The system uses prefabricated elements in a strict grid of 2,40x2,40m as standard measurement, in which simple meetings and shapes are repeated and was built in less than a year. In this case, just like Nemausus, the industrialization of the construction process and materials lower the construction costs, although the summerhouse is not cheap as a ‘social’ housing.





> Prefabricated elements > Efficient use of land > Standard measures > Flexible space > Easy assembly >Smart building design

Plan and grid13

IDENTITY Prefabricated modules14

The examples above showed us that tools as an industrialized building system and rational use of space, like innovative land planning, can lead to the efficiency in affordable housing, understood as the equilibrium between cost (affordability), space quality (non-overcrowding and no narrow spaces) and function. 13

Lauri, Tomas, ‘Effektivt rutnät’. Arkitektur; no.3 (2013): 40 – 45.

Åke E:son Lindman, ‘Summerhouse, Gotland. Love Arbén arkitekter’, <http:// www.lindmanphotography.com/?attachment_id=2652>, accessed 24 Sep 2014. 14





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Vertical Dwellings Authors: Alexander CarlÊn Magnus Gyllensten Karin Ingemarsson Josephine Larère Sanna Westin

Vertical Dwellings

Vertical architecture has often been associated with height. In ideological contexts, vertical and high architecture have been a way to represent the power and wealth of a state. In the XIXth century, with the development of new techniques of construction, vertical architecture becomes a way of proudly showing discoveries and progress. Vertical architecture became object, acting like an aesthetic symbol or urban landmark. From the industrial revolution in Europe, when waves of people were moving from rural life to the cities, and until the height of the modern movement, architects started to propose solutions to house the working class population: vertical habitation units started to â&#x20AC;&#x153;growâ&#x20AC;? as answers to the lack of place and maximization of space. Since then, skyscrapers and high-rise buildings got often conceived and designed on a common typology which treats verticality as a succession of horizontal plans connected to each others with only one vertical axis: the elevator. Far from being adapted to human scale, the indispensable use of the elevator makes vertical high-rise architecture restricting its usersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; behavior. But what does verticality in architecture mean? Is height a dependent factor to verticality?

Is verticality a typology, a circulation, a repetition, a restricted footprint area? And what relations does vertical architecture have with the city, or its environment? Today, there are mainly three reasons why to build a skyscraper; in order to construct an icon or landmark, because of high plot prices or because of social or ecological densification ideas. In a way to make the construction process more efficient high-rises tend to be a repetition of one single storey. This way of thinking forfeit the opportunities that the spaces in a vertical, tall building may offer to the city. With increases in urban population, cities have to densify in a sustainable and humane way. People tend to associate high-rise residential areas with noise, pollution, crime, loss of privacy and an increased demand on infrastructure. In order to prevent those negative associations, the vertical building must be designed in relation to social demands. How can the design of tall and dense buildings create communities and promote social life qualities?

By looking at a wide range of buildings connected to verticality and density, we found five different topics that might shed some light upon the issues previously stated. Instead of choosing just five different projects, we chose to study several projects connected to a specific theme. The subjects we chose to discuss are the following; Parasitic architecture Dense self-contained vertical dwelling Social life in tall buildings Vertical connections Modular construction The research was made mainly through reading and discussing literature within the group. We found several theses that we could relate to different theories and historical aspects and then connect them to certain projects. The research has resulted in five texts that all deals with verticality and density in urban situations.

11 Parasitic architecture In this part, vertical architecture is defined as parasitic spaces that find unusual places in the city. It includes leftover places, abandoned spaces or buildings, infrastructures and natural elements. This reflexion goes beyond a preconceived definition of vertical architecture. Does vertical relates to a form or to a context? Is it a space, or a position? If so, does vertical mean a static position? Is vertical architecture necessarily a “building”? According to the oxford Dictionaries, a parasite is “an organism which lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the other’s expense”. We can then suppose that parasitic architecture is an element or space that plugs or get attached to existing structures. To illustrate and complete this approximated definition, we will use paper architecture examples such as Lebbeus Woods drawings, especially from its reflexion on the Bosnian war, an unbuilt competition, and some built projects such as the 1m2 House in Paris by Didier Faustino, and the Keret house in Warsaw... Those examples treat in a direct or conceptual way the topic of parasitic architecture and verticality in different ways.

Lebbeus Woods1

1 Mavis Monroe, ‘Lebbeus Woods’, The Last Project, 9 November 2010, http://itsthelastproject.blogspot.se/2010/11/ lebbeus-woods-work-of-lebbeus-woods.html . 2 Ibid.

Lebbeus Woods2


LEBBEUS WOODS Different projects especially his work on Sarajevo





KERET HOUSE Warsaw Jakub Szczesny



VERTICAL ARCHITECTURE Those different projects have qualities that are not only interesting internal spatial features, but that treat also urban thematics. The following discussion is based on four qualitative aspects of parasitic architecture that become a basis for a more critical vision of contemporary cities and architecture: a new dynamic of the city, a re-dynamic of existing (old, or abandoned) buildings and infrastructues, the creation of new types of spaces and uses, and a multiplication of new urban experiences and sensations.

1m2 HOUSE paris Didier Faustino

These different projects have the power to revitalize abandoned, empty spaces and blind spots in a city. The 1m2 house and the Keret house are vertical housing prototypes that could fit anywhere in the city, without disturbing any urban regulation. This leads to the following question: why should architecture be located on a precise and defined plot that has formal access when it can fit in unusual places that are denied by the inhabitants? This parasitic architecture is also an answer to the cities that are nowadays in a phase of densification and where the easiest and common answer by western architects and communes or governments is the construction of high-rise buildings or skyscrapers. Here, it breaks the preconceived idea or image in which high-density cities must be composed of architectures that host the biggest number of people in a smallest footprint area. It can revitalize the interior image of a city without changing its skyline. This new dynamic acts moreover on existing architecture. Lebbeus Woods’ drawings in which these forms/machines attach to the ruins resulting from the Bosnian war answers to an important debate: what should we do with ruins: renovate them or destroy them to rebuild a new building from scratch? His answer is none of those. For him it is important to keep the building its way, but adding these structures revitalize them without erasing a part of the collective memory. If we translate his theory in a traditional urban context we can conclude that parasitic architecture can be valuable for old abandoned, or any uncompleted or unsatisfied architecture. Parasitic architecture can be defined “as an adaptable, transient and exploitive form of architecture that forces relationships with host buildings in order to complete themselves.”1 But this definition is approaching the subject in one way only, which is how existing architecture completes parasitic architecture, while here we can demonstrate that the opposite is also true: parasitic structures can positively transform an existing one. “A parasitic construction redefines and reconfigures a built structure and provides a new perspective or orientation to the public and potentially offer a new space.”2 The existing structures don’t have to be buildings, in the example of the Bridge city, the parasitic modules forming a vertical architecture, are attached to an abandoned infrastructure. The city and the existing built environment is revitalized by this parasitic architecture because this latter has no rules, it adapts where it can, according to its needs. If now we analyze those projects in term of the spaces and uses they provide, we realize that they activate an interesting and critical debate on architectural conventions. Since this kind of architecture doesn’t result from an usual process of conception, it ends creating unusual and unconventional spaces. In fact, the form here results from the leftover space of a site or a building where the parasite attaches. In the case of Lebbeus Woods’ drawings, verticality is not a typology anymore. It is not a form or an axis but a position, a context: the verticality is created and so is dependent to the existing building to which the parasite plugs. The unpredictable forms leads to the creation of unpredictable new uses and programs. According to Lebbeus Woods, “architecture, as a social and primarily constructive act, could heal the wounds, by creating entirely new types of space in the city. These would be what I had called ‘freespaces,’ spaces without predetermined programs of use, but whose strong forms demanded the invention of new programs

corresponding to the new, post-war conditions.”3 In these study cases, vertical architecture doesn’t relate anymore to the image of stable high-rise constructions in which the structural part becomes more important than architectural and spatial innovations. Here, vertical architecture can be, on the opposite, flexible and temporary. In the case of the 1m2 house and the Keret house, verticality remains a typology because of its narrowness and height, but verticality still results from the lack of space and the context created by existing buildings. The constraints of the site provide also new ways of living to maximize space: minimum shelter at its more extreme sense, imposing a restricted behavior to the human body. “The edge is a limit, in the first place of our knowledge. We have to push ourselves to get to it. (...)Architects rarely work anywhere near the edge. They usually operate well within the boundaries of what they comfortably know and what others know, too.” 4 Lebbeus Woods’ text called “The Edge” is about “the necessity of architects to work as tight rope walkers instead of working “within the boundaries of what they comfortably know and what others know, too“.5 In this last part, we decided to talk about urban and architectural experiences and sensations. Nowadays, the standardization of space and life in western cities engender a lack of experiences in our life. What we define here as parasitic architecture creates, by their randomness, a variety of interpretation or absence of clear definition, new experiences that break with the routine and universal model of urban life, avoiding therefore architectural repetitions and going beyond standardized models of comfort.

CONCLUSION Vertical architecture is a large subject that can be understood in many different ways. The purpose of this chapter on parasitic architecture is to interpret vertical more as a context than a form, a height or a typology. Verticality doesn’t depend necessarily on the object itself, but on where the object is implanted: abandoned narrow spaces, buildings, and infrastructures. But if we define vertical architecture in this way, what is the limit of this definition? Can this kind of vertical architecture exist without an existing built environment? 1 Sara, ‘Parasitic Architecture’, Citymovement, [web blog], 29 March 2012, http://citymovement.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/ parasitic-architecture/. 2 Ibid. 3 Lebbeus Woods, ‘The Reality of Theory’, Lebbeus Woods, [web blog], 6 February 2008, http://lebbeuswoods.wordpress. com/2008/02/06/the-reality-of-theory/. 4 Lebbeus Woods, ‘The Edge’, Lebbeus Woods, [web blog], 21 February 2010, http://lebbeuswoods.wordpress. com/2010/02/21/the-edge/. 5 Léopold Lambert, ‘(UN)Wall ///The Edge - Lebbeus Wodds / Philippe Petit’, The Funambulist, [web blog], 23 December 2010, http://thefunambulist.net/2010/12/23/unwall-the-edgelebbeus-woods-philippe-petit/. 6 Shags, ‘A Perilous Hobby: Vertical Camping - All That Is Vertical shelter6

Interesting’, Imgfave, 2011, http://imgfave.com/view/1425200

12 Dense self-contained vertical dwelling Today, when the population of our planet increases drastically, the requirements of our cities get critical. The density of people intensifies in the urban structure and the need for housing and human dwelling grows with it. This is a complicated case for the cityplanners, yet it is not said that density never comes with qualities. In the book “Livet mellem husene”, the Danish architect and author Jan Gehl points out the positive effects that can occur from a high density urban structure. He writes that if activities and people are gathered, these may encourage each other. In this way participants in one situation might get the opportunity to experience and participate in other situations. Gehl describes this as a selfreinforcing process that gets an opportunity to start. He means that it is not the houses, but the events that need to be gathered. Terms like utilization and settlement density does not crucial show the concentration of events . The critical thing is the structural design in relation to relevant human scale. The important question is; “ Is it possible to walk from one point to another, and how much is possible to see and experience?”.1

as respectful to the urban context, but at the same time honest to our own time.3 There are numerous buildings and dwelling areas in the world that combines density with verticality. In the following examples we look into the quality of a high frequency of every day events or social activity. These examples work almost as self-contained, despite their relation to the surrounding city.

Even though Jan Gehl is positive about a certain density of activities in the city, he is also clear about the demands that must be put on a high-rise building to avoid a negative urban climate. He talks about the importance of human scale when it comes to the building that touches the street line. Also, he sees the importance of light and how high-rise apartment buildings must not shade their neighbors and the street. Light must reach down to the places where humans reside. The microclimate is significant for human enjoyment and outdoor socializing.2 With these requirements considered, a high-rise urban structure does not have to be an encumbrance to the city. Vancouver is one of many cities with a vertical urban structure that is ranked as one of the best cities to live in. The city consists of a a system with blocks in combination with skyscrapers and human scale. The system is seen The quality of gathering activities in a certain area.

1 Gehl, Jan; Livet mellem husene; Copenhagen: Arkitektens Forlag, 1971, p. 77. 2 Gerhardsson Maini, Kiran; People oriented planning; kirans blogg; 2013-03-03; http://kiransblogg.com/2013/03/03/people-oriented-planning/ (Accessed 2014-09-29). 3 Larsson, Stefan; Bäst i väst; Arkitekten. 2013-08-28.


The Tower of David In the capital of Venezuela the Tower of David stands as the third tallest building in the country.4 The building was supposed to be part of a financial district in the late 1980’s, but due to the banking crisis in 1994 the building never got finished and works today as an informal community of 2 500 homeless people.5 Some call it Venezuela’s ”vertical slum” or a skeleton. Others see it as physical example of the greatest problems faced by the country’s society.6 The tower has 45 floors but only 28 of them are inhabited. Motorcycles and other vehicles go up to the 10th floor and apart from dwelling spaces there are warehouses, clothing stores, beauty parlors and day care centers inside the building. You could practically live your whole life in the tower without ever having to go outside.7

In the Tower of David there is a wide range of activities and functions.

Exterior of the Tower of David.8

4 Silva, Jorge; The Tower of David – Venezuela’s ”vertical slum”; Photographers’ blog; 2014-04-02; http://blogs.reuters.com/photographers-blog/2014/04/02/the-tower-of-david-venezuelas-vertical-slum/ (Accessed 2014-09-29). 5 Fuenmayor, Jesús; The Tower of David; Domus; 2011-04-28; http://www.domusweb.it/en/architecture/2011/04/28/the-tower-of-david.html (Accessed 2014-09-29). 6 Silva, Jorge; The Tower of David – Venezuela’s ”vertical slum”; Photographers’ blog; 2014-04-02; http://blogs.reuters.com/photographers-blog/2014/04/02/the-tower-of-david-venezuelas-vertical-slum/ (Accessed 2014-09-29). 7 Silva, Jorge; The Tower of David – Venezuela’s ”vertical slum”; Photographers’ blog; 2014-04-02; http://blogs.reuters.com/photographers-blog/2014/04/02/the-tower-of-david-venezuelas-vertical-slum/ (Accessed 2014-09-29). 8 http://blog.ted.com/2013/10/16/communities-in-unexpected-places-from-iwan-baan/comment-page-3/

Despite the lack of control from the government the tower works as a city within the city. A set of written rules have been established collectively, that residents must comply with.9 In this way the building has a strong sense of community.10 Some people, that have visited the tower, claims that the rough and deserted impression you get from the outside disappears when entering the inside community. Instead you feel the presence of a group of people trying to survive. The tower is reality11 and it’s inhabitants have made themselves what the government failed them. Instead of a symbol of wealth, the building became a landscape where people build up their lives from nothing.

The Tower of David features a strong sense of community.

Common space inside the Tower of David.12

9 Fuenmayor, Jesús; The Tower of David; Domus; 2011-04-28; http://www.domusweb.it/en/architecture/2011/04/28/the-tower-of-david.html (Accessed 2014-09-29). 10 Silva, Jorge; The Tower of David – Venezuela’s ”vertical slum”; Photographers’ blog; 2014-04-02; http://blogs.reuters.com/photographers-blog/2014/04/02/the-tower-of-david-venezuelas-vertical-slum/ (Accessed 2014-09-29). 11 Fuenmayor, Jesús; The Tower of David; Domus; 2011-04-28; http://www.domusweb.it/en/architecture/2011/04/28/the-tower-of-david.html (Accessed 2014-09-29). 12 http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1766574.1398344928!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/gallery_1200/caracas-tower-david.jpg

The Garbage City On the outskirts of Cairo there are 60 000 people living in a slum settlement where every space is covered in garbage.13 The inhabitants of this district call themselves ”Zabbaleens” and are mainly working with collecting, sorting and reselling the waste of the entire city.14 For some reason Cairo’s metropolitan area never established an efficient garbage collecting system, despite a population of 20 million people.15 Instead, the Zabbaleens have been recycling 80 percent of the city’s waste for a hundred years.16 The inhabitants of “the Garbage City” plan their lives around garbage. They seem to see it as a subsistence and a certain lifestyle, with the conception that it is their destiny. But what is it like to live in the repercussions of others consumption?

80% The people of the “Garbage City” recycles 80 % of Cairo’s waste.

The “Garbage City” on the outskirts of Cairo.17

13 Tawsam; Cairo’s garbage city; Atlas Obscura; 2014; http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/garbage-city (Accessed 2014-09-29). 14 Beitiks, Moe; Incredible ‘Garbage City’ rises outside of Cairo; Inhabitat; 2012-09-09; http://inhabitat.com/incredible-garbage-city-rises-outside-of-cairo/ (Accessed 2014-09-29). 15 Tawsam; Cairo’s garbage city; Atlas Obscura; 2014; http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/garbage-city (Accessed 2014-09-29). 16 Garbage Dreams [dvd]; Director Iskander, Mai; Cairo, Egypt; PBS; 2009. 17 http://roadsandkingdoms.com/2013/pigeon-party/

In the documentary ”Garbage Dreams” the producer and director Mai Iskander portrays the lives of a few teenage boys who are part of the Zabbaleen community. A community where everyone knows each other and live similar lives. All the teenagers that are documented have the same future in mind, a future in garbage. The whole neighborhood is centered around this way of living and adapted to fit the Zabbaleen lifestyle. The community has it’s own recycling school, generations of families are living together in dense apartments, pigs and other livestocks are held for use of the organic waste and the streets are adapted to communal working spaces. This is all built up by the residents. Everybody works together and are helping each other with the knowledge of being in the same situation.18

The social life in the “Garbage City” is well developed.

18 Garbage Dreams [dvd]; Director Iskander, Mai; Cairo, Egypt; PBS; 2009. 19 http://roadsandkingdoms.com/2013/pigeon-party/

A Zabbaleen boy looking down on his neighborhood.19

There is a difference between livability and life quality The dwelling situation in both the Garbage City and the Tower of David involves people who have occupied a very specific area and live there together as a closed community. The physical architectural qualities are not the strongest in these cases. These are places that are fully abandoned by professional architects and city planners and only created by the inhabitants themselves. This creates simple yet unique architectural solutions with a wide range of variety and flexibility . It is a manifestation against the conventional approach, that can be seen as a quality in itself. The main qualities in focus in these project are mainly the social ones. It is qualities connected to social interaction, security (regardless any or insufficient security assistance from the government) and a strong community with a supporting spirit. Co-housing is an example of a similar architectural concept that is based on the capacity of valuing these qualities. There are also connections between these cases and terms like durability and density, with social quality as the top focus. The term ”livability” is connected to living standards, internal stability, law enforcement, health care, effectiveness, education and crime levels. The ”quality of life” is something different and has to do wit h the experienced sense of well-being. It is connected to immaterial aspects like health and social relations. Human scale mix-use, pedestrian and bike networks, small neighborhoods, safe streets and places to encourage community are important features when increasing the sense of well-being. It is known over centuries that an urban fabric adjusted to human scale, with a big variety of shops and apartments, has promoted a resilient and durable community and is proved to be adaptable to changing political and economic times.20 With this in mind, it seems right to look at the high-rise structure as a vertical street with a wide range of events and dwellings along the way. This is something that can be found in the Tower of David and the Garbage City. When looking at the negative factors of living in a skyscraper, where some studies show

that social relations are less personal in high-rise dwellings than in other housing models and that a helping behavior is less current.21 This is interesting to put in relation to the social environment seen in the Tower of David and the Garbage City, where a strong social kinship seems to break this statement. We see that in some places where the livability standards are low, and where space and structure are in absence of planners, government and architects, the residents seem to take advantage of the situation and create the surrounding they need. The lack of structure makes the place socially important with a strong sense of community. People help each other out and take care of each other when being in the same challenging situation. A small city within the city starts to rise and develops to meet the needs of the inhabitants of this restricted area. In these places it is not the aesthetic qualities that stands out, but the social ones. The freedom to build your own space and to make the best of a difficult situation leads to the making of independent spaces that meet the needs of its habitants. The human being is adaptable to its surrounding, but in these areas it is the space that is adapted to its inhabitants.

“How to avoid that our cities widens and flows out , lose their shape and their soul ?”22 “People need to come together to help each other, to defend himself and save his energy”23 - Le Corbusier

Social activity, flexibility, density and variety are some of the qualitys seen in the examples.

20 International Making Cities Livable LLC; The High Density Livability Question; International Making Cities Livable LLC; 2014; http://www.livablecities.org/articles/high-density-livability-question (Accessed 2014-09-29). 21 Ibid. 22 Le Corbusier; Den nya staden; Stockholm: Rabén & Sjögren, 1969, p. 14. 23 Ibid.







Social life in tall buildings





With increases in urban population, an urgent need to conserve land and reduce greenhouse gas emissions occurs. Many urban analysts conclude that we need to densify cities and create a more compact urban living. Against growing discontentment with urban sprawl, compact city policies are becoming a common strategy in both developed and developing countries. A compact urban form with high rise buildings is perceived to be a sustainable urban solution1.

4 organic cities grew on the basis of everyday Historically, traditional important threshold activities over time. The people travelled on foot, and construction was based on generations of experience. The result was cities 3 scale. adapted to the human threshold

When, during the 1950s, the car traffic became a big part of our 2 cities, the sense of proportion and scale has gradually become more and more car oriented which has confused the understanding of scale5.

The problem with high-rise buildings is that they can have a “dehumanising effect” on cities. Many architects argues that the high-rise combined with urban sprawl destabilises the essence of a city and further they reduces human contact – the very purpose of cities. In some way living in a tall building might just be the same as being anonymous in a suburb2. The architect and planner Jan Gehl find that contact with the city quickly dissipates above the fifth floor, with contact interface changing to views, clouds and airplanes. The urban landscape must be considered through the five human senses and experienced at the speed of walking. This small-scale view is too frequently neglected in contemporary projects3.


Planning ideologies has introduced huge distances, tall buildings and fast architecture, parallel to the development of car traffic and building technology. Walking, cycling and meeting others in shared urban spaces were not part of these visions6. Economy had also a great impact on the development of high-rise buildings. The cost when building a high-rise is marginally higher than when building a low-rise building. The challenge when designing a high-rise building is to plan it in a three-dimensional way making it an integrated part of the urban fabric that enriches the city and creating opportunities for city life at a human scale. It is also to create nice, different dwellings where people are a part of a neighbourhood and has places to visit. These spaces-in-the sky will give a quality of life and vitality that will make high-density urban living desirable, with attractive places to live and socialise in7.

Even though many people associate higher densities in residential areas with noise, pollution, crime, loss of privacy and increased demand on infrastructure, high-rise high-density urban environment if properly planned and managed may offer good density4.

Cities should be designed after the speed of walking 16


1 Yuen, Belinda and Yeh, Anthony G.O. High-rise living in Asian cities. London New York: Springer Dordrecht Heidelberg, 2011. 2 Cooke, Dewi. Living the high life or just skyscraping by?. The Age: Victoria. 2010-04-10.


3 Gehl, Jan. Cities for people. Washington: Island press, 2010. 13

4 Yuen and Yeh. High-rise living in Asian cities, 2011. 5 Gehl, 2010.


6 Gehl, 2010. 11

7 Yeang, Ken. Reinventing the skyscraper: A Vertical theory of Urban design. Great Britain: Wiley-Academy, 2002. 8 Stadskontoret, Malmö Stad [online illustration], http://www.malmo.se/download/18.5bb0a05f145db1bc43d653b/1401458028966/%C3%84rende+20.pdf


(accessed 2014-09-30). 9

9 Boeri, Stefano. [online photograph] http://www.stefanoboeriarchitetti.net/en/portfolios/bosco-verticale/ (accessed 2014-09-30) Increasing population growth leads to a need of densification 8





The Tรถrnrosen Tower

Section through The Tรถrnrosen Tower, Malmรถ8

The Vertical Forest

The Vertical Forest, Milan9

TÖRNROSEN TOWER (2015) The Törnrosen Tower is a project in Rosengård in Malmö, Sweden designed by Lundgaard and Tranberg Arkitekter from Denmark. The project was a competition arranged by MKB where the programme takes a holistic approach on eastern Malmö. It is about to develop basis, encourage the urban life and favour movements through different parts of the city and to create a cursor that links Rosengård to the inner city. It should be a tower with strong connections to the ground, like an urban landscape on height. It is pointed out that the top floor of the tower could be used by everyone. Variation, edges, sustainability and the human scale are principles in the programme10. The tower allows the main trail to actually go up through the building, creating different spatial units and a diversity in the city life. The building is an urban street where you can consider part of it as neighbourhoods. The biggest social problems in high-rise’s are isolation and the increasing alienation of inhabitants from each other. The design must therefore seek to recreate the ideal neighbourhood residential unity that we find effective at ground level. The Törnrosen Tower offers different dwelling units in a varied environment. The ability to divide the building into neighbourhoods will make the building anchor better in the area. Since it is one of the few tall buildings in Malmö, the building’s identity is strong and probably creating a greater sense of belonging among the residents. We should see the skyscraper more organically, more like a built form that requires a greater level of spatial articulation and reassembling. It could be design as though its built space had been flattened out on the ground plan and then reassembled in the sky into a high-rise built form, with critical attention paid to all aspects of its urbanity and denseness. If we use this way of thinking the high-rise building could approach the qualities in an urban and social life11. The Törnrosen Tower might be a good proposal regarding these issues. The different functions aren’t concentrated on the lower level but spatially distributed over the upper levels as well. It offers a great diversity and public spaces on each floor. It can be seen as an horizontal urban street planned in a three-dimensional way. The balance, mixture and integration of various user groups and activities are key to make the city attractive. The different materials creates a transition in scale and breaks down the tall building into smaller units. The diversity in materials also prevents the 16repetitive, monotonous expression often seen in tall buildings, and makes the building more integrated in the urban tissue. 15


10 Björnsson, Moa. En ny Turning Torso oviktig i förändringen av Rosengård. Arkitektur, no 2 (2012): 12-13.


11 Yeang, Ken. Reinventing the skyscraper: A Vertical theory of Urban design. Great Britain: Wiley-Academy, 2002. 12 Stadskontoret, Malmö[online illustration], http://www.malmo.se/download/18.5bb0a05f145db1bc43d653b/1401458028966/%C3%84rende+20.pdf (accessed 2014-09-30).



The Törnrosen Tower, Malmö12

THE VERTICAL FOREST (2013) The Vertical Forest (Bosco Verticale) is a pair of residential towers in Milan, Italy by the italian architect Stefano Boeri. The towers have a height of 119 meters and 87 meters and hosts more than 900 trees which sway in the slight breeze on the many terraces. The foliage will bring shadow during summers, and during winter the leaves fall and let more light in. The towers helps to build a micro-climate and to filter dust particles, which is a major problem in the city of Milan13. The Vertical Forest offers a new way of seeing and working with sustainability, a biological architecture which refuses to adopt a strictly technological and mechanical approach to environmental sustainability. It is supposed to house inhabitants in apartments with different sizes, between 60m2 - 495m2, and prevent the urban sprawl14. The idea of connections between insides and outsides should be applied when designing high-rise buildings to integrate them in the urban fabric. It is possible even if the building is high and doesn’t have any connection with ground level. The trees on the balconies breaks down the scale of the tall building effectively - even if you are on a higher level you still have something that is connected to the ground to relate to. We know trees well and are familiar with its scale. Vertical landscaping can serve to produce ecologically, socially and aesthetically – a fusion of rural and urban existence, as well as the fusion of outdoor and indoor space. Landscaping and green spaces are vital to the city and therefor it is crucial to incorporate these as vertical landscaping an as parks-in-the-sky. “They are pioneers, new neighbours being asked to live with us in the sky. They’ll take in the CO2 and breathe out oxygen. We’ll take in the oxygen and breathe out CO2. We’ll water them. They’ll aerate us. It’s a whole new neighbourhood.”15 The Vertical Forest is a three-dimensional planning project that focus more on ecological issues than of social life, but it is still an interesting way of integrate greenery making them more humane.

The relation between humans and trees

13 Gullbring, Leo. Politiken är hans penna. Arkitekten no 5 (2014): 44-47. 14 Boeri, Stefano. Vertical Forest. Stefano Boeri Architetti, 2014. 15 Krulwich, Robert. Trees On Top Of Skyscrapers? Yes! Yes, Say I. No! No, Says Tim. Krulwich Wonders: Robert Krulwich on science. 2013-04-19. 16 Bucher, Kirsten. [online photograph] http://www.archilovers.com/projects/126170/bosco-verticale.html (accessed 2014-09-30). The Vertical Forest, Milan16




When designing a high-rise building it is vital to look at the connection between distance, intensity, closeness 13 and warmth in various contact settings. In small spaces, we can see buildings, details and experience them with great intensity. In urban complexes where distances, urban space and buildings are huge, built up areas are sprawled out, details are lacking12 and we perceive them as impersonal, formal and cold. The importance of creating a great diversity and offer different functions within the same building might prevent cold and impersonal situations. The Törnrosen Tower and the Vertical Forest both deals with these 11 issues, but have different answers.





The desire for engineering expediency in the skyscraper’s design 10 and construction has undermined the potential for the diversity and richness of urban life in the building. It is the compartmentalisation and confinement of spaces that make the skyscraper such an unsatisfactory built form and unpleasant environment for its user17. 9 Therefore is the most important thing when building skyscrapers that they not are designed as objects. It is necessary to create a complexity within the building and in the expression, the same complexity that we expect to experience when we 8 visit a city. The biggest challenge is the transition in scale between a high-rise building with multiple dwellings, the public space and the city.

7 The Törnrosen Tower is not a simple project; problems may arise with so many different functions in the same building. The challenge may be to attract people to move from the ground floor, up in the building. The many public areas can create a lack of privacy for the 6 private has to inhabitants, so the boundaries between public and be very clear.






The Vertical Forest might be a convulsively way of making a tall 5 building sustainable. It is maybe easier to focus on preserving and restoring places that already have trees, instead of spending money on an artificial forest.



17 Yeang, Ken. Reinventing the skyscraper: A Vertical theory of Urban design. Great Britain: Wiley-Academy, 2002.




important threshold





18 Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitekter [online photograph], http://www.ltarkitekter.dk/da/projects/63, (accessed 2014-09-30).



important threshold




The Törnrosen Tower at ground level18

The difficulty with human contact in a high-rise building


CONCLUSION In order to create great vertical buildings were people actually wants to live, it is important to see urban design as a form of threedimensional planning, not only as a flattened ground plane resulting in a two-dimensional design plan with towers as extrusions at selected locations. The challenge is to place-make in the sky. The skyscraper therefore needs a system of continuous spaces and relationships from the ground to the sky, integrating buildings and linking spaces into a new vertical equivalent of an urban fabric. In order to transition the scale, the tall building has to provide something interesting outside or inside even higher up; that could be a communal space where people actually stops or as in the Vertical Forest â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a tree on the balcony. When designing high rises it is important to avoid repetition. The design has to be made in a delicate way so it can become a building with a strong identity. It is not simple to design a high-rise building in a human scale, since it obviously has to be high, vertical and apart from the rest of the city. The high-riseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s will always be discussed and subjected to criticism. But the two examples raised in the text shows that with human-centred design, tall buildings with high density can be built in a humane manner. 19 Stefano Boeri Architetti, [online photograph], http://www.genitronsviluppo.com/2013/01/22/bosco-verticale-milano/, (accessed 2014-09-30).

Urban planning in a three-dimensional way

The Vertical Forest at ground level19

14 Vertical Connections When dealing with verticality or vertical constructions, one canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t escape gravity. This invisible force prohibits us from moving freely and limits us to a horizontal way of living. Our body and senses are configured to work in a horizontal world, take the human eyes for an example; our field of sight is close to 180 degrees horizontally but only around 130 degrees vertically. But as in many other cases, humans have found ways to adapt to new conditions and ways of living. One of the major issues with vertical constructions was accessibility, not only for disable people but for everyone. Up until the last decades of the 19th century the only way to connect vertical spaces were staircases, or in some cases sloping platforms or ramps. However, with the invention of the gravity defying device called the elevator, humans could now connect vertical spaces in a very efficient way. If a regular door can be seen as a horizontal mediator of spaces, then the elevator could be seen as the vertical version of a door. However, unlike the movement through a doorway, one canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see the upcoming space while entering an elevator. Not that this is an issue since the floor plans of a lot of high rises looks the same and the elevator simply moves you from one space to the exact same space (just a few meters up or down in the same building). With elevators, we could have the opportunity to create extraordinary spatial sequences and really take advantage of the fact that most floors in high rises are completely solitary. One building who uses the elevators to their full potential is the Downtown Athletic Club (DAC) in New York. From the outside the building looks like any other early 20th century high rise, but the program inside the building and the way it is distributed, is unlike many others.1

Interior golf course 1

Swimming pool 1

1. Delirious New York - A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan. Koolhaas, Rem. 1972

Downtown Athletic Club in New York 1

Usually a high rise is just a series of close-to-identical floors, stacked upon each other, where efficiency is valued higher than spatial experience. In DAC however, the story is a bit different. Being a gentleman’s club, the DAC inlcudes all of the facilities that such a complex traditionally has, including a golf course, swimming facility, gymnasium, boxing venue, massage rooms, medical station, dining rooms, bedrooms and much more. Though unlike the traditional clubs that spread these functions out in different facilities, the DAC puts it all to use in a single high rise building. The result is a series of 38 superimposed platforms where each level is treated as single room, somewhat disconnected from the others, but also as an important part in the “big picture”. On almost all of the bottom 15 floors, there are superimposed programs that put the visitors in a close to uncharted territory. Take the 9th floor as an example, here the visitor will exit the elevator and find himself standing in a locker room. He will undress and put his boxing gloves on, then move to the eastern side of room where he will find a multitude of boxing bags. After finishing his session, he will then move to the southern part of the room where there is an oyster bar. Creating a scene which Rem Koolhaas describes in his book Delirious New York as “Eating oysters with boxing gloves, naked, on the ninth floor”. 1 While this scene might be unlikely, the superimposition of programs atleast creates the possobility for this to happen and adds to the tention of the building. These kinds of superimposed programs appear all over the place, making the building highly unpredictable. This unpredictability gets boosted by the randomness the elevators can provide in this kind of building. One can see the elevators as a kind of “magic randomizing machine” in the sense that you only need to push a button to be transported to a place where anything can await you. These random situations are located up until the 19th floor, from there and up towards the top floor you can find the bedrooms. So this building can be recognized as highly random and unpredicatable building by all rights, however, it is in contrast quite well planned albeit in a quite unorthodox way. The purpose of the building is truly exposed when viewing the section, as one can see the true meaning of the spaces unfolding, when reading the section from bottom up. The bottom floors are dedicated to the refinement and rehabilitation of the male body, with all the functions, spaces and machines one can imagine necessary for such a purpose. After this series of actions, the men are “finally released” to meet the opposite sex on the 15th - 19th floor where the dining rooms, lounge and roof garden awaits. This insane patriarchal story continues with almost 20 floors of bedrooms, where the men could either rest or use their newly refined bodies and minds for indulgence.1

DAC Section1

1. Delirious New York - A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan. Koolhaas, Rem. 1972

DAC 9th & 10th floor1

The DAC is definately an interesting specimen in terms of looking at the way separation and connections can work in a vertical way. A project that deals with vertical connections in a totally different way is House NA by japanese architect Sou Fujimoto. In order to explain this quite conceptual house we have to start with the theories he presented in his book “Primitive Future”. Fujimoto abstracts the ways of modern living into two conceptualized notions, the nest and the cave. The nest describes the functionalistic way of housing, where every space is made or adapted for a specific purpose or function. The nest doesn’t provide much in terms of creativity or flexibility in terms of how the users can inhabit the space since most of the rooms are created to serve a specific purpose.1 This is of course something we architects have inherited from our precursors during the modern movement. Even though one of the very first concept projects of the modern movement (the domino house by Le Corbusier) was designed with flexibility as one of the key words2, the concept of flexibility in these houses can be discussed, since the flexibility is more about the ways which they can be constructed rather than the ways they can be inhabited. On the other side of the spectrum you have the cave. Fujimoto describes the cave as a space which isn’t created for humans, it is something that is part of a landscape that people have chosen to inhabit. At first the cave will probably be something that people will feel uncomfortable and alienated by, but after some time, people will start to find spots in this landscape which they will adapt to and start occupying. When first hearing about Fujimotos concept of the “cave”, it is easy think of a dark and cold space located outside of the comforts of society. However, one must understand that this is just a concept that relates more to the human relation to landscape rather than an actual cave. This becomes much clearer when viewing his project House NA which is strongly constructed based on his ideas of the cave but in a vertical, or rather a 3-dimensional way. Fujimoto translated the notion of a cave, or inhabitable landscape, into the concept of living in a tree. A large broad-leaved tree provides a series of miniature levels among its branches, the connection with this concept is quite evident in the House NA project.1

The Domino House concept by Le Corbusier2 1. Primitive Future. Fujimoto, Sou. 2008 2. Towards a New Architecture. Le Corbusier. 1927 3. Picture of House NA http://www.dezeen.com/2012/05/08/house-na-by-sou-fujimoto-architects/ (20141001)

House NA by Sou Fujimoto3

House NA is an inhabitable landscape designed with the measurements of the human body in mind. Instead of being a conventional three-storey house, Fujimoto has divided the house into 21 super thin individual floor plates, all placed on different levels. The method of working with floors as the primary architectural element is something that is deeply rooted in japanese architecture, though in this case Sou Fujimoto does it with a certain twist. The absence of interior walls and railings creates endless possibilities in terms of connectivity and ways the users may inhabit the space and creates an interesting feeling of being in one big space at the same time as being in a cluster of small spaces1 . Some of the floor plates are connected with small stairs to provide a more, lets say, secure way of moving around the house. Since this way of using a multitude of levels doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t impose a certain use or way of inhabiting the space, the users are totally free to use the space in any way imaginable as can be seen on some of the pictures where people are sitting on one platform and using the adjacent one as a table for instance. Even though I think that this building is a truly fascinating piece of architecture, I doubt that a lot of people would want to live in such an exposed way. However, as a concept, I do think that a lot of people would find it interesting and inspiring to live in an inhabitable landscape.

The tree as an inhabitable landscape

Drawings and Sections of House NA by Sou Fujimoto2 1. Primitive Future. Fujimoto, Sou. 2008 2. Pictures and drawings of House NA http://www.dezeen.com/2012/05/08/house-na-by-sou-fujimoto-architects/ (20141001)

15 Modular construction Origins the Nakagin Capsule tower In this text I will try to outline a couple of ideas that led to the fully formed concept of living quarters contained in capsules, nested in a space frame or plugged in to a central core. Furthermore I will look at the single built example representing this idea, the Nakagin Capsule Tower designed by the Metabolist architect Kisho Kurokawa. The Metabolist movement in Japan, which was at its peak in the 1960´s and 70´s, to which Kurokawa, the architect behind Nakagin Capsule Tower belonged was among other things, working with analysing traditional japanese ways of modular building in a modern industrial context.

Katsura Detached Palace, Photo : Bigjap4

“Katsura Detached Palace, for instance was a very interesting text for the Metabolists because it was extended twice over 150 years into an asymmetrical plan, with modules for the old part, the middle part and the last part. … In our tradition, we have metabolic and cyclical ideas for growth.” Kisho Kurokawa, 20051 Pre-Fab Building Systems Before the second world war a shortage of housing led many architects to start to explore the idea of industrialized, prefabricated building parts. An early example is Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyers “Baukasten” from 1922 which was a system of prefabricated building blocks that was meant to be assembled in different ways to fit the inhabitants needs. Projects like “Baukasten” inspired a generation of Japanese architects to start exploring industrialized ways of prefabricating houses.2 The japanese building tradition was well suited as a base of such experiments, as this quote from Walter Gropius implies. “I consider it a challenging task for the new generation of Japanese architects to find the fitting links between that flexible, traditional concept of the old craft periods and the new development of an industrial basis. With keen interest I will watch the architectural contributions to come from my Japanese colleagues.” -Walter Gropius, 1950 3

1. R. Koolhaas and H. U. Obrist, Project Japan : metabolism talks..., Köln, Taschen, 2011, p. 379. 2. R. Broadhurst (ed.), Home delivery: fabricating the modern dwelling, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, 2008, p. 32. 3. ibid. p. 32. 4. Bigjap, Shoin of Katsura rikyu, 1660., 1999, Kyoto, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Katsura-1999-1.jpg, Accsessed 2 october 2014. 5. R. Broadhurst (ed.), p. 57.

Building System, Gropius and Mayer5

The advantages of prefabricated building systems were enthusiastically appropriated by japanese architects that were facing rebuilding of the nation after the defeat and destruction of many Japanese cities after the second world war.6 In 1962 Kisho Kurokawa developed a building system called “BoxType Apartments”, a main difference to the Gropius and Mayers system of walls was that parts of the system had already started to take shape of capsules that could be “plugged in” to larger spaces, a precursor of the self contained apartments of the Nakagin Capsule Tower. Kurokawas colleague and friend Kiyonori Kikutake also experimented with similar ideas in his “Sky House” a house that grew with “Move nets”, pods that attached under the main floor witch is raised on concrete piloti. Plug-In Architecture ”All ... inhabitants of the Tower and the people in the vicinity of the Tower will send their sincere and warmful congratulations for the starting of a new life of a fresh couple when they observe the lifting of new unit ” Kiyonori Kikutake, 19607 Kikutakes “Tower shaped community” from 1958 is a never realized project that launched the idea of the apartment as a Plugin capsule on a supporting tower.8 to the world outside Japan. It was presented by Kenzo Tange on the Otterlo congress in 19599 and later published in The Metabolist manifesto 1960. In tower shaped community individual capsules contained the living quarters were designed to be plugged in to a core. It is the superstructure, the central concrete core that is the neighborhood in Kikutakes tower, and we se a clear separation between the supporting structure, the neighborhood, and the individual capsules, that can be independently added or removed.

Tower-Shaped Community, Kiyonori Kikutake, 195811

“A huge concrete cylinder will make a pleasant atmosphere in the neighborhood” Kiyonori Kikutake, 1960 10 The idea proved to be attractive and was quickly picked up by architects looking for ways to incorporate modern production capabilities into architecture. The Archigram group used the concept in their Plug in City, a megastructure that houses the individual homes, called “Plug in capsule homes” both plugged in to towers and nested in a Space frame grid. Like many of the metabolist projects Plug in city has no clear and defined ending, it is a system capable of growth and regeneration. 6. R. Broadhurst (ed.), p. 32. 7. Koolhaas, Obrist p. 360. 8. A. Ekholm, N. Ahrbom, P Broberg and P-E. Skriver, Utvecklingen mot strukturalism i arkitekturen, Stockholm, Statens råd för byggforskning, 1980, p. 70. 9. ibid p. 70. 10. Koolhaas, Obrist, p. 360. 11. K. Kikutake, Tower-Shaped Community, 1958, http://thetemplesofconsumption.blogspot.se/2012/03/kiyonori-kikutake-1928-2011. html, Accessed 2 October 2014. 12. P. Cook, Plug-In City, 1964, https://relationalthought.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/1100/, accessed 2 October 2014

Plug-In City, Peter Cook, 196412

Kurokawa himself experimented with movable architecture before he moved on to developing the capsules that formed the living quarters of “Capsule summer house K” and “Nakagin Capsule Tower”. In 1970 he presented a project called “Moving Capsule” in which he experiments with living in a minimal space hauled around behind a jeep, and in a way points out the connection between Capsule homes and movable architecture such as traditional Japanese “Kago” or mobile chairs cited by Kurokawa13 and modern camping trailers. Expo’70 Takara Beautillion In 1970 Kurokawa contributed with three pavilions to the World Fair in Osaka, one being the “Capsule for Living” which explored the capsule home. It was nested within the great space frame roof designed by Kenzo Tange. Another was the Takara Beautillion, it explored a capsule plug in system in a space frame resting on solid basement. The upper four floors of the Takara Beautillion consisted of a space frame housing capsules and prefabricated concrete floors. The Takara beautillion both showcased qualities the metabolist movement explored, such as potential for growth over time, adaptability and prefabrication and looked the part, the open ends of the space frame protruded like arms ready to grab a hold of the next frame unit. The pavilion managed to intrigue Torizo Watanabe, president of the real estate firm Nakagin Co. and he later approached Kurokawa with a proposal to design another capsule building in Tokyo.14

Kago, Katsushika Hokusai, 1810 17

Takara Beautillion, Kisho Kurokawa, 1970 18

Nakagin Capsule Tower - 1972 The building Kurokawa designed for Nakagin Co. is divided in to two basic components; the superstructure, being the base and two shafts containing stairs and elevators, and the 144 capsules containing single apartments that are attached to the cores with four high tension bolts. The two towers of 11 and 13 storeys are connected every third floor. The lifespan of the superstructure was planned to be sixty years, while the capsules were planned to replaced every 25-30 years keeping with the Metabolists ideas of regeneration. Kurokawa implied that the lifespan of 25 to 30 years was not dependent on the capsules physical structure, but rather on social factors in a fast moving society.15 The capsules measure 2,5 x 4 x 2,5 meters externally and 2,3 x 3.8 x 2,1 internally. The living spaces were intended as a new type of work/living space for high level employees working in the Ginza district that already owned a house or apartment but were looking for a space in Tokyo for occasional overnight stays or work. The internal living area of about 8,5 square meters make the capsules interesting as examples of minimal living. One major issue with the capsules is that electronic equipment is embedded into the walls to save space, that equipment includes a 1970 color TV and tape recorder. Changes in the capsules are difficult to make due to the usage of asbestos in the construction, and the walls are best left alone. In fact, a proposal by Kurokawa to contain the asbestos fibers includes sealing internal joints in the units.16 13. Koolhaas, Obrist, p. 336. 14. Z. Lin, Kenzo Tange and the Metabolist Movement: Urban Utopias of Modern Japan, Abingdon, Routledge, 2010, p 235. 15. Lin, p. 236 16. Kisho Kurokawa, “Recent situation about Nakagin Capsule Tower”, http://www.kisho.co.jp/page.php/276 , 2006, (Accessed 1 October 2014) 17. K. Hokusai, Traveler in a Palanquin, 1810, http://www.harvardartmuseums.org/art/206632, Accessed 2 October 2014 18. K. Kurokawa, Takara Beautillion cross section, http://www.pinterest.com/pin/302515299944212516/, Accessed 2 October 2014 19. Arcspace, Nakagin Capsule Tower, http://ad009cdnb.archdaily.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/1297300755-naka11.jpg, Accessed 2 October 2014 Nakagin Capsule Tower, Photo: Arcspace 19

One of the most problematic aspects of Nakagin Capsule Tower is that the floor area is much smaller than of a traditional building, traditional building proposals for the site of roughly the same height generates about 60% more floor area to be rented out or sold.20 Another inherent problem in the capsule-design is the ratio of external walls to floor area, where every 8,7 square meter apartment has about 46,5 square meters external walls loosing heat in the winter and getting hot in the summer. By todays ways of thinking about energy in building physics this is a major problem. Personalization of the living units is also only possible at a risk for health compared to other (traditional) types structures that allow you to drill in walls and often rearrange your apartment to your needs. The ideas that the Nakagin Capsule Tower embodies are still important, ideas of flexibility of structure, function and growth over time. The fact that the structure itself makes it visible that a building has many layers that all have different lifespans is very emphatic even though Kurokawas design has proved that the capsules themselves are probably a to large and cumbersome system to be truly flexible, given the fact that they have never been replaced. If Kurokawa had continued with his â&#x20AC;&#x153;plug-in moduleâ&#x20AC;? way of designing into the capsules themselves, making it possible to change electronic equipment and furnishings, the building which now is threatened with demolition might have had a better chance of survival.

Nakagin Capsule Tower Interior, 2013, Photo: Noritaka Minami 22

Nakagin Capsule Tower, Sections and Plans (not to scale) 21

20. Lin, p. 241. 21. Nakagin Capsule Tower Plans, http://sciarctokyo.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/nakagin-capsule-plans-and-sections-and-axon.jpg, Accessed 2 October 2014 22. N. Minami, 2013, http://2wanderlust.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/1972_05.jpg?w=450&h=360, Accessed 2 October 2014 23 MWArchitecture, Nakagin Capsule Tower- Generic Capsule Plan, http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_GVPuEC_b30k/SwxoaNoTwxI/ AAAAAAAAAV0/2W5VmqHcGew/s400/6-7, Accessed 2 October 2014

Generic Capsule Plan 23


Shared Dwellings Authors: David Nyman Margaret Metchev Robert Janson Sylwia Pilacik

Shared dwellings

Shared housing can be defined as a dwelling where more than one person lives under the same structure. There are different levels of sharing a dwelling. For example, one can share communal, public spaces and live collectively as a community, where more than just a structure is shared but there are shared responsibilities. Alternatively, a shared dwelling can be defined as individual and private space merely connected by a corridor, footprint or courtyard. We have attempted to demonstrate the scope of shared dwellings while outlining its successes in certain cases and its limitations.

We have used different housing typologies as the beginnings of our research from a scattered dwelling, a courtyard or donut dwelling, a deconstructed cube and a linear dwelling. The examples we will explore in relation to these typologies are the Moriyama House (Japan), the Fujian and Urban Tulou (China) and Tietgenkolliet (Denmark), LT Josai (Japan) and the Isokon Building (UK). Our diversity of dwelling typologies is used to highlight that shared dwellings can come in many different scales, shapes and be addressed in a multitude of ways. Many of our dwelling examples are from Asia as issues of high density living and the need for shared housing is more prevalent in countries such as China and Japan who have large populations.

Shared housing can provide opportunities as well as boundaries. People that are not open minded and not willing to share spaces and responsibilities will inherently come into conflict with the shared dwelling structure. However, if people see shared housing as an opportunity they can reap the benefits of shared costs, access to a larger area of land and shared responsibilities as well as a community that one can feel connected to. Some people choose to live in shared dwellings because they want to live with others in a community and feel connected to something bigger. Whereas, other people do not have a choice and are forced into shared dwelling as a means of social and affordable housing.

The context and setting of a dwelling are very important in how a shared dwelling is received. Certain dwellings such as the Tulou and the LT Josai home will largely be successful in Chinese and Japanese society where shared responsibility and living is entrenched in the culture. However, these types of dwellings may not be successful in western societies where there is a greater emphasis on privacy and individualism. Thus a linear and scattered type of dwelling may be more successful in a Western society as there is a greater divide with shared spaces and private spaces. Typology of a dwelling plays an important role in defining the extent of which a home is shared. Issues of porosity, green space, courtyards, circulation, density and views all play an important role in affecting the extent of which a home is shared and how successful it is as a shared home.

16 The Linear Dwelling Architect: Wells Coates Hampstead, North London England

Construction: Reinforced concrete Project name: The Isokon Building


Total Floor Area: 1365 m2

Client: Molly and Jack Pritchard

Privat vs. Public (%): Public = ca. 40% of total area

Site Area: ca. 700 m2

Building Height: ca. 14 m

Building footprint: 273 m2

Living Units: Facade of the Isokon Building in the mid 19th century 2

The Isokon Building – a progressive experiment in new ways of urban living

Plan of the Isokon Building and its immediate surroundings 1

¹ Isokon Gallery. The story of a new vision of urban living. www.isokongallery.co.uk (downloaded 2014.10.02) ² O´Kelly, Emma. London’s Isokon Building opens a gallery to tell its rich history as the home of modernist designers, writers and spies. Wallpaper. 2014.07.10. www.wallpaper.com (downloaded 2014.10.02) ³ Skandium – the Isokon building and furniture company. The story of Isokon part one. (Video). YouTube. 2014. ⁴ Ibid. ⁵ Ibid.

Situated in Hampstead, North London, the Isokon buildings white modernism is quite striking against the Georgian backdrop. When opened in 1934 the building was thought to be a social experiment, exploring new ways of urban dwelling, bringing the creative people of their time together in a new type of urban context.¹ The Isokon building consisted of 32 flats where every tenant had their own bedroom/living room, bathroom and a small kitchen.²

But what set the building apart from others was the fact that the Isokon was planned as a semi-shared house. The occupants shared a large kitchen, laundry room, dining hall and a restaurant called the Isobar.³ Another thought behind the Isokon was offering time saving services to the tenants. These services included laundry, window cleaning, shoe shining and hot meals.⁴ All to make the lives of the modern working man or woman easier. The reference to le Corbusier’s “The Living Machine” runs through the project as a red line.⁵

⁶ Wells Coates: Architect and designer. 6: Lawn Road Flats. www.wellscoates.org/lawnroadsflats.htm (downloaded 2014.10.02) ⁷ Bradbury, Dominic. Interiors: inside Hampstead’s iconic Isokon building. The Telegraph. 2014.09.04. www.telegraph.c.uk (downloaded 2014.10.02) ⁸ Skandium. The story of Isokon part one. ⁹ O´Kelly, Emma. London’s Isokon Building opens a gallery to tell its rich history as the home of modernist designers, writers and spies.

Furniture maker Jack Pritchard teamed up with Canadian architect Wells Coates to create what has become an internationally recognized key building of the British modernist movement.⁶ Embracing the modern materials and techniques of the time, the duo constructed the first residential building made of reinforced concrete in the UK.⁷ Pritchard started at the time a furniture company called Isokon Furniture Ltd that focused on new materials and compositions.⁸ This resulted in most of the furniture in the building being built in and made of plywood.⁹ 1 Image: courtesy of Avanti Architects 2 Image: courtesy of RIBA or UEA

Far left: The Isokon Building´s facade at night ₃

Left: Menu and interior from the restaurant at the Isobar ₄

Top: Rooftop terrace 5

Bottom: Interior from the Isobar ₆

The Isokon building were somewhat of a white elephant in Hampstead when it was built, freestanding and all white placed in between the traditional Georgian brick houses.¹⁰ The immediate space surrounding the building were ground stone and a few sporadically placed trees. But it connects well on street level with the open galleries leading to the flats. And on a more expanded level it connects with the neighborhood/city/world through the isobar.

The courtyard surrounding the building does not invite to social gatherings, promoting interaction amongst the tenants in the buildings shared interior space. There is a large roof terrace that originally was thought to be a communal space for all the tenants, but the Pritchard’s are thought to have kept the entire terrace for themselves. When realizing that they could live in a penthouse apartment, Wells Coates were told to change the plans putting the penthouse in direct contact with the rooftop terrace.¹¹

¹⁰ Bradbury, Dominic. Interiors: inside Hampstead’s iconic Isokon building. The Telegraph. 2014.09.04. www.telegraph.c.uk (downloaded 2014.10.02) ¹¹ Ibid

As with a lot of experimental spaces the Isokon might have lost some of its aesthetic connection with its context. But what it lacks in aesthetic connection it makes up for with the connection between its interior space and its surroundings. The most connecting space in the Isokon Building were without a doubt the Isobar, connecting the tenants with the world. Adding a comunal place to the local area is in my opinion a true extention of the very idea of shared space. ₃ Image: courtesy of Avanti Architects ₄ Image: courtesy of RIBA or UEA ₅ Image: courtesy of RIBA or UEA ₆ Image: courtesy of RIBA or UEA

A linear building with the public space in the open gallery and in the mutual areas for cooking, dining and doing the laundry. The private space on the other hand is defined by the boundaries of the occupants private quarters i.e. the bedroom, bathroom and the small kitchen. Being of a linear typology the circulation is restricted to the main staircases, the open galleries and the common areas situated around them on each floor. There is no circular movement in the building and the functions are placed in a linear order. It is the open air galleries that works as the buildings corridors. With most of the flats in direct contact with the open galleries the corridor plays an important role in the social interaction between the tenants. Every tenant has a secluded space at their disposal where they can retire at any moment.

These highly private spaces works just as any apartment with a physical lock and key clearly defining the difference between private and public. A definition that I believe to be one of the stronger traits of this shared housing. Giving the occupants the ability to choose for themselves when and where they want the interaction to take place. This is also illustrated in the plan of the open galleries and the staircases leading from these. Having a staircase in both ends of the gallery allows for the tenants to exit the building quite unnoticed without traveling through most of the common areas. This is orchestrated by centering the common functions on one of the two staircases, making this a vibrant social hub. Again the architect has managed to create contrasts between the private and the public that supplies a choice for the tenants.

Top: Perspective sketch of the Isokon Building by its architect Wells Coates 7

Bottom: Illustration of ground floor plan and a typical floor plan, also designed by Wells Coates 8

The Isokon building is reinforced concrete through and through, covered with white plaster. The interior is dominated by plywood and wooden floors.¹² An unusual approach in the British building tradition where carpet is frequently used as floor material. There is no specific distinction between the materials used in the private or/and public space. The individuality may be expressed by making changes to the private living quarters. The doors, materials and colors are uniform on all floors. The distinction between private and public is not made by the use of different materials, but trough the obvious use of borders in shape of doors.The porosity in the Isokon building is quite high. Large openings in the façade establishes contact with the surroundings, especially the contact between the open air galleries and the street.

¹² O´Kelly, Emma. London’s Isokon Building opens a gallery to tell its rich history as the home of modernist designers, writers and spies. Wallpaper. 2014.07.10. www.wallpaper.com (downloaded 2014.10.02)

₇ Image: courtesy of RIBA or UEA ₈ Image: courtesy of Wells Coates

Being a building that consists of private homes, it is not physically inclusive for the public. The fact that the building is divided into four floors also excludes the public, as the top floors are even less accessible. And at the furthest end of the scale of accessibility is the shared areas. These are all behind locked doors, only accessible by the tenants and the people they choose to include. But also regarding this aspect the architect has managed to create a contrast between the inclusive and the exclusive. The Isobar is open for the public, being inclusive for whoever can pay their way. Within the building the porosity is optional as the tenants can choose to reside in their private rooms behind locked doors or in the shared spaces. In the private spaces the contact with the outside world is far greater than in the shared spaces due to large windows and in the latter the lack of such.

The Isokon building soon became a center for an array of creative and mysterious people. Among its tenants were several Bauhaus architects and artists as Gropius, Breuer, Riss and Moholy-Nagy. No less than eleven Russian spies has at some point resided at the Isokon during three decades, and the building was also home to Agatha Christie for seven years.¹³ The influx of prominent members of the avant-garde made it a cultural hub during the 30´s, 40´s and 50´s.¹⁴ I definitely think that part of the success is due to the demography of the tenants. A space that gathers such a range of expertise and cultural know-how is bound to be successful. The gathering of the progressive minds of their time creates a snowball effect where more and more people want to be a part of the community that is created. Another aspect well worth mentioning is the scale of which the house is shared. The architect has truly managed to create a beautiful set of contrasts between the public and the private spaces.

Isometric illustration by the isokon Gallery 9

¹³ MidCentury Magazine. The Isokon building: Russian spies, Bauhaus emigrés and Agatha Christie – A good read. www.midcenturymagazine.com (downloaded 2014.10.02) ¹⁴ Ibid.

₉ Image: courtesy of the Isokon Gallery

Being able to make a conscious choice when and where you want the social interaction to take place is definitely a big plus for those who demand a relative high level of privacy. This is where the typology of t he linear building really come in handy. Being able to exit through the staircase that is unconnected to the common space, one is able to commit to the level of sharing that suits you for the moment. I regard this as one of the key elements that makes up a successful shared housing for people in a more permanent time in their lives. Of course the program of the building as a whole also contributes to its success. Services like shoe shining, laundry and window cleaning might have helped to seal the deal for some of the tenants. As other cases in the typology of shared housing might be too inclusive, bordering to invasive, the Isokon Building has managed to draw a fine line between the private and the public. Having a sense of a truly defined private space, in my opinion, truly enhances the benefits of a shared space.

17 Scattered dwelling Project name: Moriyama House Architect: Ryue Nishizawa (Office of Ryue Nishizawa) Location: Ota-ku, Tokyo, Japan Date of Completion: 2005 Client: Mr Moriyama Site Area: 290.02 m2 Building footprint: 130.06 m2 Total Floor Area: 263.08 m2

Privat vs. Public (%): Public = 37,8% of total area Building Height: 7.82 m Living Units: Variable 1-6 units Storeys: Variable 1-3 Structure: Steel plate

exterior view 2

In Ota-ku, a traditional part of Tokyo we find Moriyama house. It belongs, as the name indicates, to Mr. Moriyama, an old man with a very open mind. The architect behind the building is Ryue Nishizawa, also known from this collaborative office SANAA together with Kazuyo Sejima. Sketch by Ryue Nishizawa 1

The building consists of 10 different proportioned boxes scattered across the site. The boxes are connected through a network of gardens. Within the 10 boxes there are 1-6 living units, Mr. Moriyama is free to choose how he wants to inhabit these boxes. The house can be used as one big living unit or he can choose to rent out parts of the house to other occupants.

1 - unknown athour, Tokyo, available at: http://moriyamahouse.wordpress.com/page/2/ 2, 4, 5, 6 - unknown athour, Tokyo, available at: http://amassingdesign.blogspot.se/2010/03/moriyama-house-sanaa-kazuyo-sejima-ryue.html 3 - unknown athour, Tokyo, available at: http://evaarchitecture.blogspot.se/2014/04/sanaa-moriyama-house-tokyo-2005.html 7-9 - â&#x20AC;&#x153;How to make a Japanese Houseâ&#x20AC;? . Cathelijne Nuijsink . NAi Publishers . 2012

model 3

There are no boundaries dividing the garden, occupants establish borders them self with free moving objects, leaving it up to the occupant to create the boundary between public and private. The idea of the house is based on “Roji”, a traditional Japanese way of living in neighborhoods.7 The roji is the common place in between building, gardens and alleyways that are a part of peoples daily life. The house doesn’t want to limit the program and use of the space, it allows the freedom for people to start thinking about how to use a space.

in between space

plan 5


One of the most interesting things is how the buildings

physical shape effects the community around it. As Ryue Nishizawa him self said in an interview: “Because the boxes have different shape, different openings and different connections to the garden, very different things appear in this landscape.”8 He also states “I created diversity”9 by giving the boxes different proportions and positioning them in a scattered scheme across the site. This creates according to the architect a transparency through the building, instead of one big solid building that only casts a big shadow to the surrounding neighborhoods. You can clearly see how the tradition of “roji” is implemented in Moriyama



sections 12

interior view 11

house. By maximizing the space in between buildings a place for the common community is created. Because of the transparency people living in the surrounding neighborhoods uses the site for different reasons, one woman goes through the site as an shortcut from A to B and kids play in the different gardens around the house, even local cat communities live on the site. The boundary between public and private becomes blurred. Occupants of Moriyama House doesn’t just shared the house with the other occupants, they share it with the whole community.

house, but only 20% of the facade is open.10 Because of the careful planing of where to place large windows the living units become well lit and well connected to the surroundings. Some windows are placed so one can’t see the people inside, but the you can see the light and presents of people.

Moriyama House is often presumed as a very open

The people living at Moriyama house must have an open

The physical shape of the building breaks it down into a human scale and a network of gardens, which is 37,8 % of the building and site area, becomes a semi-private space where the occupants them self can define the boundary between public and private.

10, 16 - “How to make a Japanese House” . Cathelijne Nuijsink . NAi Publishers . 2012 11-13 - unknown athour, Tokyo, available at: http://amassingdesign.blogspot.se/2010/03/moriyama-house-sanaa-kazuyo-sejima-ryue.html 14 - unknown athour, Tokyo, available at: http://moriyamahouse.wordpress.com/page/2/ 15 - unknown athour, available at: http://designboom.com/weblog/section.php?SECTION_PK=&start=7760&num_record_tot=50000

mind, as RN says “...people who want to live here must be very positive towards the use of the space. If people want to live in a standard one-room apartment, they’d better move into a typical developer’s mansion building”.16 The private space, the living units, are scattered like islands

on the site, divided by the network of gardens. This makes it possible for the occupants to retreat and be for them self in their isolated unit. But the lack of boundaries and borders to the neighboring community can result in a lack of privacy. As mentioned earlier it takes a certain kind

elevations 14

big scale model 15

person to live here. What if you one morning came out in your garden finding a stranger who miss took it for a public park, but maybe that is a plus instead of a minus for some. Moriyama house is not just a shared house for the occupants, it it sharing at a much larger scale, sharing with the whole community that surrounds it.

network of gardens 13

18 Deconstructed Cube Project name: LT Josai Architect: Naruse Inokuma Architects Location: Nagoya-shi, Aichi, Japan Date of Completion: July 2013 Building footprint: 159.00 m2

Total Floor Area: 476.00 m2 Privat vs. Public (%): Public = 64 % of total area Building Height: 7.40 m Living Units: 13 units Storeys: 3

Front view3

Front elevation, day time1

The LT JOSAI is a shared residence where private and public areas meets and penetrate one another. The building, created by Naruse Inokuma Architects is the answer to the increasingly popular trend of communal living in Japan4. It is largely young people are attracted to the notion of sharing spaces with people that they did not know before5. Communal living allows one to have more space for less money, while living together and separately at the same time. However, is this type of communal living the best option only for young, open minded people?

Front elevation, night time2 1 Nishikawa, Masao; Tsutsui, Yoshiaki. Front elevation, day time. http://www.narukuma.com/ltjosai/(accesed 30 September 2014). 2 Nishikawa, Masao; Tsutsui, Yoshiaki. Front elevation, night time. http://www.narukuma.com/ltjosai/ (accesed 30 September 2014). 3 Nishikawa, Masao; Tsutsui, Yoshiaki. Front view, nightime. hhttp://www.dezeen.com/2013/08/29/share-house-by-naruse-inokumaarchitects/(accesed 30 September 2014). 4,6 Griffiths, Alyn. 2013. Dezeen Magazine. 29 August. Accessed September 12, 2014. http://www.dezeen.com/2013/08/29/sharehouse-by-naruse-inokuma-architects/. 5 Fadness, Jana. 2014. Japan trends. 3 Febuary. Accessed September 20, 2014. http://www.japantrends.com/tokyo-share-houses/.

LT Josai can be compared to a family house where people with different characters and needs live together under one roof. However, it differs in that members of the house are not connected and do not know each other like in a family. With this type of communal living situation there is a potential for conflict as well as opportunity.

Sharing in this type of home means dividing responsibilities between 13 different residents.

As a result the design of the space in the house plays an important role in encouraging the connection and habitation of strangers. Space should be distributed in a way that encourages residents to want to be a part of the house and live and share spaces comfortably.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;the shared and individual spaces were studied simultaneously and, by laying out individual rooms in a three-dimensional fashion, multiple areas, each with a different sense of comfort, were established in the remaining shared spaceâ&#x20AC;?6 .

LT Josai is a building which from the beginning was designed to be shared house, where inhabitants are unrelated strangers. Architects put a lot of effort to distribute space in smart way, as they explain:

site plan, ground floor7

7 Naruse Inokuma Architects. Site plan, ground floor. http://www.architecturescope.com/lt-josai/lt-josai-plans-01/(accesed 26 September 2014). 8 Naruse Inokuma Architects. Cross sections. http://www.narukuma.com/ltjosai/ (accesed 30 September 2014). 9 Naruse-Inokuma Architects. 2013. LT Josai. July. Accessed September 20, 2014. http://lt-josai.com/.

The building is divided in two zones, private and public. In the public zone residents share a kitchen, dining, living room (2 rooms), shower (2 rooms), toilet (3 rooms), the water system, laundry and two rooftops. The private area is made up of 13 bedrooms, each arranged to be spacious, yet cosy. All bedrooms are the same size and have the same facilities creating a sense of equality within the home.

At LT Josai the corridors are the common space of the home where you can rest, eat and socialise with other housemates9. Circulation to different parts of the building is not obvious at first glance; this makes the interior more interesting and encourages residents to easily travel and explore all areas of the home.

Private rooms are located at differed levels surrounding the common space of the house. The way in which private and common space is divided in this design creates possibility of endless interactions. An inhabitant of this house cannot avoid meeting others as the core of the building holds the main functions of the house.

The floor plan clearly highlights the function of the building, which is focused on communication between residents. Shared spaces are placed in the central part of the building making human interactions unavoidable. On each level there is a similar distribution of private and public space, creating a sense of equality in the home.

Whenever one enters this home one cannot be missed by others, particularly as there is only one main entrance to the street. Despite the open floor plan, exposing the residentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lives there is always the possibility to retreat into their private bedrooms and take a break from the collectivism of the home. Thus the private rooms are located on the outer edges of the building, segregating them from rest of the house. This helps maintain the long term balance and harmony between the private and public life of the residents.

This suggests that there should be an equal amount of time spent privately in ones room as publicly in the common space. The central public space of the home is divided with the first floor being the central living space where people can gather and spend time together. The entrance area has the dinning space and is another gathering spot, while the light filled living room are designed as more quiet places, where one can spend more time alone.

cross sections8

By arranging space in this way shared spaces can vary between levels of privacy and openness allowing for multiple interactions with the space to occur from more individual to more collective. LT Josai building can be entered by main entrance that leads directly to the central meeting spot of the house. The northern part of the house is open to a garden. The top of the building connects with its surroundings by two open roofs, where inhabitants can rest and entertain together. This also enhances the residences connection to the outside world and creates a variety of settings in which residents can live and interact together.

The interior design of LT Josai is clad with timber floors and white walls. Having only two main materials creates a flow and unity within the home. It encourages the notion that all spaces are accessible to all residents and enhances the egalitarian aspect of the home. The use of timber creates a quaint, homely atmosphere and is also practical for cleaning reasons which is important in shared housing. The white walls enhance openness and lightness within the building creating a calm atmosphere. This sort of atmosphere is important in shared housing that can become hectic with so many different people living collaboratively.

bedroom interior10 10 Nishikawa, Masao; Tsutsui, Yoshiaki. Bedroom interior. http://www.architecturescope.com/lt-josai/lt-josai-plans-01/(accesed 26 September 2014). 11 Naruse Inokuma Architects. 1st floor plan/ 1.5th floor plan. http://www.narukuma.com/ltjosai/ (accesed 30 September 2014). 12 Nishikawa, Masao; Tsutsui, Yoshiaki. LT Josai interiors. http://www.narukuma.com/ltjosai/ (accesed 30 September 2014).

1 st floor plan/ 1.5th floor plan11

LT Josai interiors12

Space diagram13

The interior design of LT Josai is clad with timber floors and white walls. Having only two main materials creates a flow and unity within the home. It encourages the notion that all spaces are accessible to all residents and enhances the egalitarian aspect of the home. The use of timber creates a quaint, homely atmosphere and is also practical for cleaning reasons which is important in shared housing. The white walls enhance openness and lightness within the building creating a calm atmosphere. This sort of atmosphere is important in shared housing that can become hectic with so many different people living together. Furthermore, natural light is very important in Japanese houses and is a reflection of Japanese taste and culture. The openness of the building is enhanced as common areas often have high ceilings with some parts of corridor having a ceiling height of 7m.

LT Josai is located at Nagoya-shi, Josai, Japan. Building is placed in dense urban area, 6 minute walk to the subway station. LT Josai building is a three story private house, where the core of the building is the integral part of the whole design. There is a central circulation staircase that connects each of these three levels that cuts a hole through the building. It allows one to see what is happening on the levels below and above you and thus connecting one to the whole house. There are smaller secondary staircases that lead to individual bedrooms. Having these secondary staircases can enhance the explorative and playful aspect of the home. It also enhances the levels and layers within the home making the home feel larger and more intricate.

13 Naruse Inokuma Architects. Bedroom interior. http://www.archdaily.com/497357/lt-josai-naruse-inokuma-architects/(accesed 28 September 2014). 14 Nishikawa, Masao; Tsutsui, Yoshiaki. LT Josai interiors. http://www.narukuma.com/ltjosai/ (accesed 30 September 2014). 15 Nishikawa, Masao; Tsutsui, Yoshiaki. LT Josai interiors. http://lt-josai.com// (accesed 30 September 2014). 16 Nishikawa, Masao; Tsutsui, Yoshiaki. Garden at LT Josai house. http://lt-josai.com// (accesed 30 September 2014). 17 Tanizaki Junichiro. 2001. In praise of shadows. Translated: Thomas J. Harper i Edward G. Seidensticker. London: Vintage.

LT Josai interiors14

LT Josai interiors15

These staircases may be used to highlight the entrances to bedrooms, signifying them as private and individual space. While these stairs act as a barrier between the bedrooms and the rest of the home discouraging residents to enter and exit their bedrooms too often as it harder to do than if entrance to bedrooms were on level ground. LT Josai inhabitants have a garden located at the back side of the house. However, this is not a wide, green and lush garden which is so commonly valued in Japanese culture17. The garden is part of the shared space and residents can plant and grow their own vegetables and fruits in this space. Garden of the LT Josai house16

This space feels like it is a forgotten, dead space in the home. It may have been more successful if it had been more integrated within the home. However, the lack of connection between the garden and the house may encourage this space to be used in a more private and individual manner rather than collectively. It is emphasized that the people living at LT Josai should be young, single and both male and female, who will enjoy the diverse experiences of communal living. A project like LT Josai will work better with unrelated strangers, who are generally open and able to respect other people but at the same time are able to live independently.

In a house where private and shared areas are so deeply connected and related it is very important to have good communication which will help to avoid social problems. LT Josai house is not related to the Japanese building history, it is rather facing new trend of communal living. Sharing house at LT Josai in understanding of Naruse Inokuma Architects means dealing with different personalities in the one structure. Architects have created a place where private and public space are both very important.



The Tulou Dwelling Project name: Tulou Architect: None Location: Fujian Region, China Date: 15th-20th Century Building footprint: 10,000-40,000 m2

Figure 2

Figure 4

Living Units: 200+ Storeys: Approximately 5.

Figure 1

Figure 3

Figure 5

The Tulou is a Chinese building typology of shared housing in a circular structure with a central courtyard. The Tulou’s were built between the 15th20th centuries and could be as large as 40,000 square meters, with 200 rooms housing residents from one extended family “clan”.1 It is important to understand the Tulou’s not only as a structure but as a whole community and lifestyle. Tulou’s are often described as a “village”2 within a building, as they are not one single dwelling but multiple dwellings distributed along its circular facade. The tulou is not simply a shelter but a space that can provide security, sociability, a sense of belonging and the spiritual needs of to its residents. This is achieved through a variety of spaces and functions within the tulou such as “food storage, living quarters, ancestral temple, armoury.. well and livestock.”3 These functions are divided in the tulou through its different levels. The first two levels are used to house the community’s needs and the remainder levels are living areas and bedrooms. The circular shape is divided vertically between immediate families, with each family receiving one or more vertical section depending on the family’s size.4 The tulou can also be described as a “fortress” providing protection during conflict through its 1.5m thick walls and the circular shape which increases visibility within and around the compound limiting hiding spots for attackers.5

Figure 1: Image: courtesy of Beijing Design Week. Available at: www.bjdw.org (downloaded 2014.10.03) Figure 2-5, UNESCO World Heritage Centre. ((1992-2014)). Fujian Tulou. Retrieved 10 3, 2014, from UNESCO: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1113/ 1, 2, 5 UNESCO World Heritage Centre. ((1992-2014)). Fujian Tulou. Retrieved 10 3, 2014, from UNESCO: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1113/ 3 Thuroczy, M. (2011, November 22). Hakka Tulou. Retrieved September 29, 2014, from Architects Architecture Architectuul: http://architectuul.com/architecture/hakka-tulou 4 Lande, J. (2013, September 2). Tulou Communities, “Closed outside, Open Inside” - a Variety of Chinese Courtyard Architecture. Retrieved September 30, 2014, from Old China Books Book Blog: http://oldchinabooks.com/YangShen_eBook_Blog/2013/09/02/tulou-%E5%9C%9F%E6%A8%93-communities-closed-outside-open-inside-a-variety-of-chinesecourtyard-architecture/

Figure 6

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Figure 8

The density of the building while used for security also enhances the isolation of the Tulou both physically and metaphorically. The thick wall, large scale and donut shape of the Tulou creates a strong barrier between the Tulou and the outside world. There is only one entrance to the Tulou which makes monitoring who is entering and leaving the building easier than if there were multiple entrances. Privacy is limited in this sort of structure as the circular shape and the open courtyard promotes surveillance across and from all aspects of the building. As the Tulou is essentially a home to one large family this limited privacy may not be considered an issue but a way of promoting the communal aspect of the Tulou. The circular geometry, a strong symbol for unity and equality also reflects notions important for communal living. The building creates a sense of egalitarianism through the division of the Tulou in vertical sections as families do not live on top of each other but beside each other along the circle. If the building had been divided horizontally, with one family per level it may create a stronger sense of hierarchy within the structure. There are no windows on the bottom two floors of the structure. While this is done for practical and security issues, the lack of porosity of the Tulou enhances the sense of seclusion of life within the Tulou to life outside the Tulou. The Tulou is a largely sustainable structure as is built to last hundreds of years, constructed

Figure 6, 7 Image: courtesy of Proletariat unit. Available at: www.pro-unit.org (downloaded 2014.10.03) Figure 8 Image: courtesy of Jens Aaberg Jørgensen. Available at: www.whatsonxiamen.com (downloaded 2014.10.03) Figure 9: Image: courtesy of Jens Aaberg Jørgensen. Available at: www.socks-studio.com (downloaded 2014.10.03) 6 Hart, K. (2011). Tulou Chinese Architecture. Retrieved October 2, 2014, from Green Home Building: http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/articles/tulou.htm 7 Xian, W. (Producer), Baohe, W., & Jianjun, Y. (Directors). (2013). Secrets of the Fujian Tulou Part 1 [Motion Picture]. China. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZ4x1i3bIJ4 8 Chen, Y.-J., & Wang, H.-C. (2014, July 14-16). AsRES Paper Submission. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from AsRES 19th Conference International Conference: http://www.asres.net/AsRES_Papers/asres2014_submission_7.pdf

of locally sourced materials of earth and bamboo and provide thermal insulation due to their thick walls, while the courtyard allows for ventilation and light to enter the tulou. Furthermore, shared facilities, typical of communal housing reduces “energy and resources.”6 Today Tulou’s exist in China largely as a tourist attraction with some families still residing within the Tulou.7 One questions whether a Tulou is successful in a modern context, particularly within the western world. Are there families large enough today to house a Tulou? Would families or strangers actually want to live in such close proximity to each other, with so little privacy? And would sharing facilities on such a large scale actually function? In a growing individualistic and capitalistic world one may question whether people would want to live in such a uniform and egalitarian structure. However, notions of filial piety are important in Chinese culture and as a result living with you parents and grandparents is the norm.8 Thus, Tulou’s suite Chinese society more than they suite other countries. Tulou’s provide an example of the possibilities of high density living which is vital for the future, particularly in countries such as China that are so highly populated.

20 The Modern Tulou Project name: The Urban Tulou Architect: Urbanus Architects Location: Guangzhou, China Date of completion: 2008 Building footprint: 9141 m2 Project name: Tietgenkollegiet Architect: Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects Location: Copenhagen, Denmark Date of costruction: 2001

Total site area: 13,711 m2 Living Units: 278 Storeys: 6.


Ground Floor Plan Figure 10



Third Floor Plan

Total site area: 26,515 m2 Living Units: 360 Storeys: 7.

TULOU TYPOLOGY IN THE MODERN WORLD The Tulou has been used as inspiration for two modern housing projects: the Urban Tulou, affordable housing in Guangzhou, China and Tietgenkollegiet student housing in Copenhagen, Denmark. The tulou in Guangzhou designed by Urbanus was built to provide large scale, affordable housing to migrant workers. Similarly to the historic Tulou it has a grand circular structure with dwellings on the outer circle and shared facilities on the lower levels. The living quarters are very dense with a typical apartment being “32 sq m, it is divided into one sitting room, two bedrooms and a small bathroom neatly tucked behind the kitchen.”9 Although, by western standards this is considered to be a very dense space, in China it is not uncommon for multiple migrant workers to live with six other people in a 30 square meter room, where couples separate spaces using curtains.10 The architects describe their inspiration from the original Tulou’s when they state, “At the center of the enclosure was a shrine, an ancestral hall where all residents met to worship, and to discuss matters of common interest. This idea of public life at the core of a building’s functionality is essential to any sociallyconscious design.”11 As result Urban Tulou has a central courtyard and the building faces inwards around this central courtyard. The courtyard is used to act as a point of connection between residents.

Figure 11

Figure 10, 11 URBANUS Architecture & Design, Inc. (2009). Aga Khan Award for Architecture Architects Record 2010 Award Cycle. Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Guangzhou City,: URBANUS Architecture & Design, Inc. 9, 10, 11 Xu, Z. (2009, March 5). Urbanus’s modern tulou in filling urban low cost housing needs. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from What’s On Xiamen: http://www.whatsonxiamen.com/news4834.html


The Urban Tulou is situated next to a highway in the busy metropolitan city of Guangzhou. Thus the curved and dense shape of the Tulou acts as a buffer between the noisy city and the inside of the Tulou. Similarly to the historic Tulou, the curved shape creates a sense of equality and inclusiveness of life within the Tulou. Yet there is still a real disconnect between the curved structure and the outside world. The Urban Tulou is set in a large, metropolitan city and the curve does not relate to its surroundings filled with high rise, block structures. This disconnection and seclusion may encourage residents to bond with other residents within the Tulou, yet it may also discourage them from connecting to people outside the Tulou and thus potentially turning the Tulou into a sort of ghetto within the structure. However, the Urban Tulou differs from the historic Tulou as there are breaks in the circle and multiple entrances on the ground floor. This allows for a better connection between the inside and outside world with free circulation through to the inside of the Tulou.

Aga Khan Award for Architecture

The large scale of the Urban Tulou which has 278 apartment units on a total site area of 9141 meters squared. 12The project designers account for the scale and proportion of the project by suggesting that “Generous communal areas contrast with minimal private space, encouraging the rapid establishment of a community.”13 However, the scale reminds one of the “projects” in the United States which are large scale social housing that have been long criticised for being ghetto-like, undesirable and unsafe places to live. One questions whether such a large and highly dense structure would be successful in a western country. The project designer acknowledges safety as a design consideration for the Urban Tulou when he stated, “A sense of safety is one of the key issues in the affordable housing environment. Traditional tulou housing was designed for defence.”14

Figure 12 165

Figure 12, 13 URBANUS Architecture & Design, Inc. (2009). Aga Khan Award for Architecture Architects Record 2010 Award Cycle. Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Guangzhou City,: URBANUS Architecture & Design, Inc. 12,13 URBANUS Architecture & Design, Inc. (2009). Aga Khan Award for Architecture Architects Record 2010 Award Cycle. Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Guangzhou City,: URBANUS Architecture & Design, Inc. 14 Murray, S. (2010, September 7). New tulou: update of Chinese dwelling proves popular. Retrieved September 25, 2014, from Financial Times: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/05dfdf18-b064-11df-8c04-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3Eh1P3Gd0

Figure 13

THE EFFECT OF SCALE The large scale of the Tulou, with its six stories, one questions whether the bottom floors of the Tulou will have much access to sunlight. This potentially creates safety issues within the building by having dark corners for people to lurk in. Sunlight is also inhibited by the cube structure in the centre of the circular structure. Certainly, this does allow for more space to be used within the courtyard, for housing. However, it not only hinders sunlight and ventilation but disrupts the harmony and security created by the circular shape where residents can have clear vision across and within the Tulou. The scale and high density of the Tulou also inhibits privacy of its residents. This may be desirable for security reason, that is, residents being able to keep an eye on each other. However, in a growing individualistic, western world living in such proximity to others, on such a large scale is not is not an attractive option for housing. The Urban Tulou is built to be able to hold 1800 residents, yet today approximately 600 residents actually reside in it. This is because the people living there have opted to and can afford to take more than the minimum space that is offered as described by the director of Urbanus, Liu Xiaodu, “They (the residents) are not rich, that’s for sure, but they can afford not to share the space with others.”15 This shows that the building can be flexible and offer more space to residents if they want it. However, this does defeat the purpose of the Tulou as it was built to be a highly dense and affordable housing solution. Figure 14: Density studies and experimentation with form by

Figure 14, 15 URBANUS Architecture & Design, Inc. (2009). Aga Khan Award for Architecture Architects Record 2010 Award Cycle. Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Guangzhou City,: URBANUS Architecture & Design, Inc. 15 Xu, Z. (2009, March 5). Urbanus’s modern tulou in filling urban low cost housing needs. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from What’s On Xiamen: http://www.whatsonxiamen.com/news4834.html

Figure 15: Model and structural form.

Figure 16: Three different unit types. Two bedroom, single and dormitory.

Aga Khan Award for Architecture

Aga Khan Award for Architecture 167

The materiality of this project is important in counteracting the substantial and defined shape of the structure. The “perforated concrete shell, punctuated by wooden lattices”16 exterior of the Urban Tulou enhances the connection to the outside world as it creates a physical opening, while maintaining privacy and giving “each unit a secondary living space”17. The screen is a modern design feature enhancing the aesthetics of the building which contrasts stereotypes of social housing that are often monolithic, concrete structures. Creating an aesthetically pleasing structure is important to highlight that residents of social housing should not be forgotten and should have equal access to pleasant places to live. The structure differs from the historic Tulou’s in that each apartment has a balcony, with balconies on the outer shell of the building’s circular structure facing the street. This feature is important in offering each apartment, direct and personal access to light and ventilation. The use of the timber screen also creates a more homely feel, while creating a sense of connection to nature. It also links to Chinese culture where bamboo is a common building material. There are different colours such as reds, oranges and greens used to paint the walls of public corridors within the Tulou. Although this may be considered a superficial design feature, it is important in creating bright, pleasant spaces and thus differing from typical social housing models that are white, grey and dreary. Furthermore, paint is a good material to use in lower cost housing solutions as it is cheap.



Figure 17

Figure 16, 17 URBANUS Architecture & Design, Inc. (2009). Aga Khan Award for Architecture Architects Record 2010 Award Cycle. Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Guangzhou City,: URBANUS Architecture & Design, Inc. 16, 17 MAPPINGDW. (2013, September 16). RE-INVENTING THE WHEEL :: collective housing project for migrant workers. Retrieved October 1, 2014, from Mapping The World: http://mappingdesignww.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/re-inventing-the-wheel-architect-liu-xiaodu-and-hisurbanuspeoples-architecture-studio/

THE TULOU TYPOLOGY IN SCANDINAVIA The second building that has taken inspiration from the historic Tulou’s is the student house Tietgenkollegiet in Copenhagen, Denmark designed by Lungaard and Tranberg. The building holds 360 rooms with 10% of students being international and the remainder 90% being of a Danish background.18 It is has the emblematic donut shape, with a courtyard at its core, similar to the other Tulou’s. The space is divided using two rings. The outer ring houses bedrooms and the internal ring is for kitchens, common areas, tv rooms and large open balconies. At the centre is a big green, completely open courtyard. The bottom floor similar to the original Tulou is divided into communal, public spaces of libraries, bike storage, laundry facilities, computer rooms and a gym. It addresses the needs of the community through these public spaces in much the same way that is seen in the historic Tulou and the Urban Tulou. The building is more successful than the other Tulou’s in creating individual, separate and private spaces while maintaining the unity of the Tulou form. This is achieved by separating private and public spaces in two rings, with private being in the other ring facing the outside world and public in the inner ring facing other communal spaces and the courtyard. It allows for a community to flourish in the inner ring while respecting individual wants and needs for privacy. The square cubes protruding from the building’s cylindrical facade act as a symbol for individuality and each square represents a different person and a different personality residing within the building. Privacy is enhanced by having rooms face the outside world giving residents a sense of ownership as they each have a different perspective and view from their own room. Tietgenkollegiet is divided into twelve sections and has breaks in every section to offer multiple entry and exit points, allowing people to come and go more freely than the original Tulou. Once again the building feels quite introverted which is important in creating a community within the life of the building. However, the building’s lack of porosity discourages a connection to the outside with limited openings on the ground level. Certainly, restricted access to the building is important for security reasons. Tietgenkollegiet employs the most green space out of all three buildings and its courtyard is the most sparse. The courtyard although an important open space for the building, offering greenery, light and ventilation, feels as if it is almost a dead space. If the purpose of a Tulou as a prototype, is for a dense housing option then this function is depleted as much of the footprint of the site is made up of space not used daily.

Figure 18: Facade view of the Tietgenkollegiet

Figure 19: Sketch of student dwelling

Figure 20: Entrances/comunication areas

Figure 22: Photo of dwelling

Figure 21: Schematic illustration of functions 18

Tietgenkollegiet. (2014). The Rooms. Retrieved September 27, 2014, from Tietgenkollegiet: http://tietgenkollegiet.dk/en/the-building/the-rooms/

Figure 18, 20 Photos by Jens M. Lindhe. Available at www.archdaily.com. Downloaded 2014.10.03

Figure 19, 21, 22. All images and sketches by Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects. Available at www.archdaily.com. Downloaded 2014.10.03

CONCLUSIONS ABOUT THE TULOU AS A HOUSING TYPOLOGY There is one similarity that runs through each prototype of the Tulou. They house residents of a similar background or demographic. The ancient Tulou’s are home to one family clan, the Urban Tulou is shared by migrant workers of a similar demographic and Tietgenkollegiet provides accommodation to only students, with majority having a Danish background. If the Tulou typology was used in a situation where people of different backgrounds, ages and demographics lived together it might not be a successful shared housing project. Conflict may arise due to the structure’s scale, openness, density and lack of privacy. The Tulou’s success as a shared housing typology lie’s with the context in which it is located. A Tulou is a Chinese housing typology and thus is a reflection of Chinese culture and evokes a sense of nostalgia in Chinese residents. Issues of extreme density are most prevalent in China and the Tulou certainly does offer an alternative solution. These Tulou’s do not acknowledge individualism and individual needs and rather create uniform and egalitarian spaces that people should fit into instead of the building working to accommodate individual needs. The key benefit of the circle shape is density. A circularly shape allows for maximum space to be taken advantage of over a rectangular shape. The contradiction of the Tulous is that their key issue of seclusion is also there key point of success. There is a real sense that Tulous create a community and that life flourishes inside the structure. Yet there is a detachment to their surroundings and this seclusion creates the potential for segregation of people, demographics and classes. Figure 23: Tulou Denmark

Figure 23 Photo by Jens M. Lindhe. Available at www.archdaily.com. Downloaded 2014.10.03

figure 23 URBANUS Architecture & Design, Inc. (2009). Aga Khan Award for Architecture Architects Record 2010 Award Cycle. Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Guangzhou City,: URBANUS Architecture & Design, Inc.

Figure 24: Tulou China


Extensive Dwellings Authors: HĂŠlio Munhoz Buba Robin Petersson Joachim Nilsson Henry Lanham

Extensive dwellings

The Process and Method

With the topic of Extensive Dwellings we began by searching for houses that appeared to express or incorporate more than the basic functions of living, perhaps some sense of excess and plus-size living. It occurred to us at this time to try to define what a “large or extensive dwelling” actually is. That turned out to be more difficult than we expected, as the more we thought about it the less clear our ideas were and confusion ensued. It turned out that the best way forward was to simply follow our gut instinct about a project and have a discussion about each project and decide whether we deemed it extensive in some way, or not. As a rule of thumb we compared the amount of square meters available per intended dweller to normal flats or villas, but even that was hard to apply to all projects. Simultaneously with all that, we formulated a list of qualities that we believe were indicative of an extensive dwelling. The qualities we thought of are not necessarily unique to the extensive dwelling, but they are often more pronounced, or present in an exaggerated fashion. Below is a list of our defined qualities of which at least some were present in the projects we selected.

The availability of a lot of space

As basic as it sounds, it’s surely one of the greatest qualities of a large dwelling. The availability of a lot of space – and the lack of confinement can induce the feeling of freedom to do anything, whatever that may be, from hosting an indoor football tournament to just sitting and staring at the walls, you can be confident that your space will accommodate your needs. Additionally a large space can lift our spirits and make us feel more valuable as we are allow to occupy more space in this densely populated world.

Ability to dedicate spaces to nonessential functions

In a typical dwelling you are normally able to have separate rooms for some of the essential spaces and functions necessary for living. These include of course a kitchen for cooking, a bedroom for sleeping, and so on. In the large dwelling, this can often be taken much further, with the occupants having the luxury of being able to dedicate rooms to nonessential function like a games room, a private spa or a tennis court.

Ability to include other parts of life into the house

A consequence of the previously mentioned quality of having extra dedicated spaces, is the ability to include some functions into the house that you previously had to leave the house to fulfil. This includes work, leisure, social functions and more.

Ability to group (zone) spaces by function

With more space, comes more flexibility and ability to arrange the spaces in the dwelling in a more logical or practical way. For example, all the bedrooms can be grouped together into a private part of the dwelling, the social spaces can be directly adjacent to one another, the children can have their own part of the house, or you can have a separate guest house.

Ability to choose the distance to your neighbours

Most of us are made to live very close to each other, sometimes too close for our liking. If given a lot of space, we are given gift of choice, the ability to choose just how close we want to be to other people. For example, you can build a house right up against your neighbour’s fire wall, or you can build as far away from everyone as possible in the middle of the plot. If given this choice, most of us seem to prefer some distance judging by what is built.

Greater opportunities for privacy, or not

An extension of the previous quality is the ability to choose your preferred level of privacy. Us humans come in all flavours and some like to expose their lives to others, while many are more comfortable hiding away in their private sphere. The larger your dwelling, the greater the ability to choose to expose some parts and hide some parts, etc.

Ability to function in isolation

Something made possible by some of the previously mentioned qualities, is the ability to remove the dwelling entirely from civilization and make it function independently from other dwellings. With space comes the ability to incorporate all necessary amenities such as your own water or energy supply, making the dwelling capable of handling complete isolation.

Greater opportunity for vertical connections within the dwelling

Maximizing the use of your floor space is often a must in a normal-sized dwelling, allowing little room to remove parts of the floor and experiment with verticality. In larger dwellings, this is much easier to accomplish without compromising any necessary functions, and therefore exciting vertical spaces are more common. Tall spaces are a great luxury as they help dissolve the usual confined boxes of a typical dwelling.

Ability to secure the dwelling

Often people concerned with the security or sense of safety of their dwelling, have greater ability to ensure these desires in a larger dwelling. Walls, gates and gatehouses with guards are examples of this need expressed in physical means. Ability to change/extend/add to the dwelling With abundant space available it’s much easier to make functional changes in your dwelling, or extend it with new floor space. If that’s enough, it might be possible to add a completely new building in addition to the existing, to better accommodate the dwellers needs.

Ability to personalise the dwelling

For those of us who are not happy with the conventional, or have a great need to personalise our dwellings, a large space certainly doesn’t hurt. Whether expressed in the exterior, interior or by other means entirely, the large dwellings are usually more accommodating.

Ability to express status, place in society

There are many of us humans around on earth, and so space comes at a distinct premium. Being able to buy and dedicate a lot of space to yourself and your family is a great sign of status and success in society in general. For some people, this is an important quality of the large home.

Ability to use the plot and the landscape creatively

A large dwelling can often be freestanding in the landscape, and with that comes a greater ability to integrate it into nature and the context. If done right, the dwelling and context will complement each other and improve both, with spaces flowing into one another.

Ability to have greater daily comfort

Grand houses are often associated with luxury and excess. More generally the point could be made that large dwellings allow for greater comfort in daily life, and are able to see to most of our personal needs.

Less of a need to compromise

This is a quality in itself, but it also functions as a conclusion of all the qualities above. In a large dwelling you have the freedom, ability and space to make a place truly your own, without as much need to see to anyone else’s needs or opinions. Compromise is not a hallmark of the extensive dwelling.

With these defined qualities to guide us, we managed to gather twelve different large dwelling projects from around the world, each exhibiting one or more of the qualities. Out of these projects, we had some assistance by our tutors in choosing the most interesting or thought-provoking examples. A few different project groups, topics or themes arose from these discussions, which we then pursued and researched more closely. These points of departure were a classic live/work space, an unconventionally defined Japanese home, a converted church and a big palace. One or more of our defined qualities have been identified as prominent in each example and we began to analyse this through comparative studies whilst exploring the common underlying theme “the ritual of living”. The “ritual of living” evolved out of further analysis of our selected homes. The way people live, the rituals they perform and the codes by which they live became a unifying theme for these four very different examples. Houses have evolved and undergone many changes over time and one influencing factor which is reflected in the architecture of dwellings is human behaviour, either in a group or as an individual. Some have very specific social codes which become materialized in their buildings whilst some reflect more fundamental human rituals. The four buildings selected offer their own take on the rituals of living either in practice or conceptually. Live and Work, Maison Curutchet, La plata, Argentina, Corbusier, 1949. A very conscious decision for the occupant to bring their work into their living space. How have they organized the functions and how do they perform the daily ritual of going to work? Defined Living, House N, Oita, Japan, Sou Fujimoto Architects, 2007. Defining the borders is done in a distinct yet permeable way. How do other examples compare with the ritual of staking ones claim to a piece of land? Adaptive Reuse, The Converted Church, Utrecht, Netherlands, Zecc Architecten, 2009. How the rituals of the building’s previous purpose have been reflected in the current design, if at all. Perhaps with a sense of humour or perhaps there was a relevance between past and present uses? Hierarchic Living, Buckingham Palace, London, UK, John Nash, 1703. Perhaps the ultimate in extensive homes. In this example it houses more than the family, how do they circulate and how are the rituals and social codes reinforced in the fabric of the building?

21 House + Work Without the need to worry about lack of space, large dwellings can embrace more extensive programs. With more possibilities, the program gets more complex and some activities that would be done away from home can be done in it. Not only host sports and hobbies activities, but the house can also be the owner’s workplace. When your ritual of going to your job takes just a few steps, the benefits are not only spare time and money, but also generate better productivity and quality of life. Even though for some activities a home office can be just a small desk with a computer, a large residence can offer a physical work/home separation and shelter for a lot of different professionals with different needs. One of the most remarkable examples is the Maison de Verre (figure 1). Finished in 1932, the house holds a dental clinic that has a common area on the ground floor. To keep the clients separated from the upstairs private area, a bent translucent door would be closed during the working hours(figure 2 and 3), making both parts of the program real clear. Furthermore, Maison de Verre is a classic of early modernism architecture in Europe. For the ones that wish work at home, there are lots of reasons to do it. Actually, the amount of people doing this increase everyday. For example, The United States Census Boreau published the “Home-Based Workers in the United States: 2010”1 , and it stated that from 1997 to 2010, the percentage of american and it stated that from 1997 to 2010, the percentage of americans working at home at least one day per week increased from 7% to 9.5%. It may seem not that much, but it represents a total of 4.2 million people increase. The millenials, the generation born from early 1980’s to early 2000’s are today 2.3 billion people2 and it is expected that they will represent 75% of the workforce in the world3. This being said, it is really impressive the conclusion from The Conference Board of Canada that “70% of millenial workers would rather telecommute than come to the office”4. “The 1950’s saw the first popular work of Live/Work type in a 1 

Fig 1. Maison de Verre F. Halard

P. J. Mateyka, M. A. Rapino, and L.C. Landivar. “Home-Based Workers in the United States: 2010”. Washington, U.S.

Census Bureau,2012. Available at http://www.census.gov/prod/2012pubs/p70-132.pdf. Accessed 1 October 2014 2 

J.Hall. “Innovative Inspiration: Meet the Millenials”. Added Value, 2012. Available at http://added-value.com/

innovation-inspiration-meet-the-millennials/, Accessed 2 October 2014 3 

D.Schawbel. “10 Ways Millennials Are Creating The Future Of Work”. 2013. Available at http://www.forbes.com/

sites/danschawbel/2013/12/16/10-ways-millennials-are-creating-the-future-of-work/. Accessed 1 October 2014 4 

M.Hemmadi “70% of millennial workers would rather telecommute than come to the office”.2014. Available at

http://www.canadianbusiness.com/business-strategy/millennials-prefer-telecommuting/. Accesed 1 October 2014

Fig 2.Maison de Verre M. Lyon

Fig 3. Maison de Verre F. Halard

Maison Curutchet doctors office integrated into a house[...].The owner of the house has his doctoral practice imbedded into his home”5 (figure 4) In 1948, an Argentinian surgeon named Pedro Domingo Curuchet wrote to Le Corbusier asking him to design his new house. Le Corbusier accepted the offer and it was built between 1949-1953. This project ended up being the only one from Le Corbusier in the american continent. Jean Charles Jeanneret never went to Argentina to visit the site, so he worked with the local architect Amancio Williams, who made a few authorized changes on the project and was the responsible for the construction. Even though the changes of the Argentinian Architect, Maison Curutchet is a very “corbusian” house, with all the 5 architecture points: pilotis, free plan, free facade, horizontal window and roof garden. On the floor plan there is a porch, the garage, trees that make their way up through courtyards, a ramp and the service area. The ramp takes the visitors to the back of the site, where there is a door that takes to the private area; on the way back to the front, there is an entrance for the office. The housing area starts with a hall that contains a staircase. Upstairs there is a kitchen, dining 5 

J.Cabreba, R.Cayer, J.Chun, N.Kahmthewala,K.Moore, B.J. Stracco,K. Wolk. “Live/Work”. 2009, Northeatern

University School of Architecture. Available at http://www.northeastern.edu/camd/architecture/portfolio/livework/. Accessed 28 Semptember 2014.

Fig4. Casa Curutchet Unknown Author

room and a double height living room which takes the visitor to the roof garden. If you continue your way up, you would find the rooms for Mr. and Mrs. Curutchet and the two daughters. Besides the standard program, Curutchet requested a workplace. The waiting room, internship area and the doctor’s place form a volume in front of the house, heading the small public courtyard just across the street. On the following plans (figure5,6,7 and 8), the office has been highlighted in blue, the living area, in yellow and the space that both dwellers and doctor’s patients shared access, with green.

Fig 5. Ground Floor

Fig 7. Third Floor

Fig 6. First Floor

Fig 8. Fourth Floor

The ritual of commuting was not only obviously quick, but also felt like a change of atmosphere. The act of leaving the hall and using the ramp (which is an open space), the change of floor level and the visual barrier due to a tree crown make the office isolated from the rest of the house and much more related to the urban context. For whoever goes to the house, the porch is the filter which says that the person goes from the public street to a private space (figure 5). Looking into the hierarchy of the space, it is noticeable that the most noble part of the dwelling is the doctor’s office, and the whole development of the project goes after it. It was the desire of the architect, the client or both, but for most people, maybe the main part on the site should not be the working area. Alberto Seabra Project, by Base 3 Arquitetos (figures 6, 7 and 8), is a good example of this kind of housing. It is a house lifted from the ground floor with another build on the backyard, which is the office. The project was intended to have big and flexible spaces. It was so flexible that nowadays both the house and the construction from the backyards are used as two different offices.6 Being a flexible place solves a problem that may occur in some cases. What if the office is not needed anymore? What would happens to Curutchet’s office if instead of hosting the “Colegio de Arquitectos de la Provincia de Buenos Aires” ,the next users were a family with no home-worker? Of course it would be used, but it is still kind of detached from the rest of the house. Today, one of the main reasons to work at home is economical. For self-employed people and the ones who are starting a business this is a good way to avoid some outgoings. For bigger companies it is also a good way to save money and it usual makes the workers more interest and excited. With a flexible schedule, time for leisure and family, more comfort, more time (see the the commuting time that would be spared (figure 9) on next page)and saving money, the worker tend to be more effective and inspired. But of course this does not work for everyone, sometimes people do not have enough discipline or the necessary conditions to work the necessary hours or ends up working even on his/her spare time. The way time treats this kind of professionals, boosts it into the building and economic scenario. The technological development on the communication area will enable and encourage more and more people to work and live like this, and maybe force the industry to readapt to this new income. And as it seems like the future is heading this way, some questions and speculations start to pop up. 6 




Fig 9. Diagram

Fig 10. Alberto Seabre P. Vanucci

Base 3 Arquitetos. “Alberto Seabra Project / Base 3 Arquitetos”. 2014. Available at archdaily.com/538051/alberto-

seabra-project-base-3-arquitetos/. Accessed 29 September 2014 Fig 11. Alberto Seabre P. Vanucci

Fig 12. Alberto Seabre P. Vanucci

Picture 13. OECD - Social Policy Division - Directorate of Employment, Labour and Social Affairs . “LMF2.6: Time spent travelling to and from work”, 2010, Available atoecd.org/els/family/43199696.pdf, accessed 24 September 2014

If almost everyone works at home in the future, will the technology be able to supply other demands and advantages from the regular offices? What about the interaction, the happy hour after work or the friendship between partners? It is known that cooperation works with much more intensity when done on the regular way and flows much more naturally, so probably the physical space will never be abandoned, just less used. Looking at it in an exaggerated way, maybe entire multinationals would have hundreds of people but just a few square meters for their headquarters, in an office on the back of someone’s house. It is actually possible that the home office turns in to a standard room on everyone’s house, just like a kitchen or a living room; and when people apply for a job, the boss will need to know about the facilities the applicant has at home. A workspace would be mandatory if you want to get a job. It is also possible that the housing typology changes so much that it turns to be the central part of the dwelling, where it is put the most effort to make it fancy, cozy or “social” in any way that it is possible. People could spend their whole day cloistered at home, without any “physical-social-interaction” or maybe meeting people on their spare time because their job has created this gap. Nevertheless, there are not only these scenarios. There are other possibilities for the ones who do not want to take long time to commute everyday. Some mixed-use buildings offers this possibility as well as some dwellings, that offer private apartments with a common office usually based on co-working (figure 10). And of course, this way of living may be questioned and avoided by the generation after the millenium, and the day everyone works at home never arrives. Or maybe the market will just push it back. Or the big companies find out they want to watch their workers very close. Recently the Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer made a recall for all of the employees that used to work at home, because “people are more productive when they’re alone, but they’re more collaborative and innovative when they’re together”7 Figure Credits Fig 1. Maison de Verre. F. Halard Fig 2 and 3. Maison de Verre . M. Lyon Fig 4. Casa Curutchet Unknown Author Fig 5,6,7 and 8. Floor Plans. Fig 9. Diagram Fig 10,11 and 12. Alberto Seabre P. Vanucci Fig 13. OECD - Social Policy Division - Directorate of Employment, Labour and Social Affairs . “LMF2.6: Time spent travelling to and from work”, 2010, Available atoecd.org/els/family/43199696.pdf, accessed 24 September 2014 Fig 14. Molino Square, Unknown Author

7  Fig 14.Molino Square Unknown Author

C.Tkaczyk. “Marissa Mayer breaks her silence on Yahoo’s telecommuting policy” .2013. Availabe at fortune.

com/2013/04/19/marissa-mayer-breaks-her-silence-on-yahoos-telecommuting-policy/. Accessed 2 October 2014

22 House N Marking the habitants territory is an integral part of every dwelling, and a natural ritual of the dweller1. Architecture consists of borders, walls dividing spaces between private and public, indoor and outdoor. Architecture, in that sense, is very static. It has clear boundaries. But does the dwelling simply end where the architecture ends? Consider a conventional one-family house or villa with a garden. The garden might not be enclosed, nor completely private, but it can still be considered a part of the dwelling. The borders of the dwelling and the boundaries between private and public gets blurred. Nature, much like a city, is built up from a multitude of small components, creating complexity and richness. Within this diversity loose boundaries and spaces are created. This gradient between spaces and the blurred boundaries found in both nature and in urban environments is very present in the works of architect Sou Fujimoto.2 He is known for his many experimental buildings where he often tries to blur the borders between private and public, indoor and outdoor and even between architecture and furniture. He doesn’t believe architecture can be flexible, it is an obstacle, because it has clear boundaries. His ways of designing questions traditional boundaries and his aim is to create architecture as a cloud. In a cloud there are no boundaries, but it still has a volume with given qualities blurred together in a gradient of different experiences and conditions. Light and dark spaces intertwine, open and close spaces both fit within the cloud. House N is one of the best examples of Fujimoto trying to question normal architectural boundaries. It is a house for two people and a dog in Oita, a city of almost half a million inhabitants in the south of Japan. The building seemingly aims to bring the city in to the dwelling, instead of shutting it out. It consists of three boxes. It is a box in a box in a box, creating a gradient of privacy where the most private is within the smallest box in the middle and the biggest, outer one is open to the elements and facing the street life. The boxes all have openings, making the large composition seem porous and open for everyone to see into.

Figure 1: House N, View from street, facing north-west Photo: Iwan Baan

Figure 2: House N, Plan Drawing: Sou Fujimoto Architects

“One might say that an ideal architecture is an outdoor space that feels like the indoors and an indoor space that feels like the outdoors.” -Sou Fujimoto 3 1

S. Linstead et al., “The territorial organization: History, divergence and possibilities.” Culture And Organization vol. 19, no. 3: 185-208.

“Conference Sou Fujimoto Architects Partie 1+2”, [online video], 2014, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wpbq3H3nIWQ, (accessed


15 September 2014) Amy Frearson, “House N by Sou Fujimoto Architects”, http://www.dezeen.com/2012/01/19/house-n-by-sou-fujimoto-architects/,


2012, (accessed 16 September 2014)

Figure 3: House N, Section Drawing: Sou Fujimoto Architects

Figure 4: House N, East elevation Drawing: Sou Fujimoto Architects

House N consists of nested volumes or shells creating layers of different proximity to the street. The building can be seen as an extension of the city since the city is also composed of nested structures. Especially the particular cityscapes of Japan relates very well to the design and has been an inspiration for the architect. Tokyo, where Sou Fujimoto live and work, is organised and structured in a rather unconventional way compared to cities in the western world. French philosopher Roland Barthes describes it as a very disorganized city centred around an emptiness where no one is allowed to be, designated only by arbitrary signs and not by clear streetnames or numbered houses.

Context diagram: streets

Context diagram: streets and plot borders

Context diagram: mobility through area public path informal / private path

‘’The city I am talking about [Tokyo] offers this precious paradox: it does possess a centre, but this centre is empty. The entire city turns around a site both forbidden and indifferent, a residence concealed beneath foliage, protected by moats, inhabited by an emperor who is never seen, which is to say, literally, by no one knows who.” - Roland Barthes 4

Many residential areas in Tokyo, as well as the area in Oita, where House N is located, are planned around small privately owned plots with one-family houses on them. The buildings rarely claims the whole area of the plot. Instead they leave a small distance to the edge, creating narrow spaces between neighbouring houses. These spaces are used by people in the city as streets and are only, if at all, distinguishable because of their narrow size. This creates a cityscape where the hierarchy between private and public space is compromised, the public claims the private and they intertwine.5 It is within this context House N must be understood and evaluated. These specific qualities of Japanese urban residential environments are the base for what House N aspires to be and achieve - A dwelling that blends together with the city. A continuum of the context.

Thody, Philip, and Piero. “Barthes Visits Japan.” Introducing


Barthes (May 2006): 152-153 Shabbar Sagarwala, “empty centre: symbolism and the urban



structure of tokyo”, http://architokyo.wordpress.com/emptycentre-symbolism-and-the-urban-structure-of-tokyo/, 2009, (accessed 16 September 2014)

Figure 5: House N in its urban context Photo: Iwan Baan

Context diagram: perceived cityscape with the built environment as the only obstacle for movement




The holes in the three different volumes of House N is what creates the gradation of spatial qualities in the building, without the openings in the walls and the roofs the gradation would only be between inside and even more inside. The openings also shape the interior space of the building. They are designed with regards to the context, for the view and according to the sun. But they also serve as openings for social and visible connections inside the house. They create perceived space or connections between the defined spaces within the boxes. The aim of the architect was to create a domain of many different smaller spaces, or in-between spaces, with an open program or undefined purpose. Fujimoto states two different kinds of typologies in contrast to each other, the cave and the nest. The nest is an environment which meets a very specific purpose with a functional solution whereas the cave is open for interpretation, with less architectural boundaries (or more possibilities), and full of inspiration. The cave is the preferred typology according to Fujimoto because of architectures inability to perform flexibly. The static nature of architecture demands that it doesn’t define all space in a building in order for it to be used in different ways and perceived in different ways. Architecture should only consist of the basic framework for the inhabitants to explore and use as they please.6

Figure 6: House N, interior view Photo: Iwan Baan

Mies van der Rohe’s Brick country house is another project which tries to question conventional architectural boundaries of the dwelling, but in other ways than Fujimoto’s House N. The Brick country house is an unbuilt project from 1923, influenced by the De Stijl painting style.7 In contrary to House N, van der Rohes dwelling tries to claim space from the surrounding by letting long walls shoot out from the building into the landscape. These walls are not enclosing any space but are instead trying define the space around them as part of the dwelling. “In the ground floor of this house [brick country house], I have abandoned the usual concept of enclosed rooms and striven for a series of spatial effects rather than a row of individual rooms. The wall looses its enclosing character and serves only to articulate the house organism.” - Mies van der Rohe 8

“SOU FUJIMOTO INTERVIEW”, [online video], 2011, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Igyi65DRv8, (accessed 15 September 2014)


J-L. Cohen, Mies van der Rohe, Quebec, Taylor & Francis, 1996, pp. 34-40, Available from: Google books, (accessed 28 September


2014). F.Neumeyer, The artless word, Boston, MIT Press, 1991, pp. 250, Available from: Google books, (accessed 28 September 2014).


Figure 6: Brick country house, Plan Drawing: Mies van der Rohe 7

There are similarities between House N and van der Rohe’s Brick country house . They both try to blur the boundaries of the dwelling, but the fundamental differences between them can ultimately be found in the way they aspire to do this. The Brick country house is shooting out walls into the landscape, claiming more territory for the dwelling which finally results in more privacy within the building itself. House N is opening up its enclosing envelopes to create a gradation towards its surrounding as an attempt to share the otherwise private space with the city. The two buildings have in common that they both aspire to have an open interior, the walls are no longer meant to enclose spaces, but rather just articulate or outline spacial possibilities. But there are differences of execution in the interior as well. Mies van der Rohe tries to open up the space by having disconnected walls with narrow openings between them to conceive an open flow throughout the building. But the walls are solid, separating spaces or rooms into different functions without further connection to each other. Fujimoto’s House N is more porous, creating connections between spaces, not only in plan but in a more three dimensional way. The different qualities conceived within House N ultimately relies on the habitants willingness to share with the city. Both the privacy of their home and their sense of territorial claim of their land might be compromised. But in return they will truly be part of their urban environment and completely linked to the various networks of the city life.

1. Inside / Outside Private / Public

2. Dwelling borders

Relationship between architectural boundaries and sense of spacial qualities.

Relationship between architectural boundaries and perceived dwelling limits.

Architectural border Inside / Private Outside / Public

Architectural border Enclosed dwelling Dwelling Traditional one-family house 1.1 The architectural boundaries are the absolute borders between private and public, and between inside and outside. There is no gradation. 2.1 The garden can be seen as part of the dwelling.

Diagram 1.1

Diagram 2.1

House N 1.2 The lack of strong architectural boundaries within the house and the porous outer envelope creates a gradation of the spacial qualities. Inside and outside intertwine. 2.2 The dwelling claims part of the city and the city claims part of the dwelling.

“Space is relationships and architecture generates various senses of distances. To construct a wall is to bisect a space into zero and one, however a space must have intrinsically many graduations between zero and one.” -Sou Fujimoto 9 Diagram 1.2

Diagram 2.2

Brick country house 1.3 Complete visual connection to the outside due to the lack of enclosing walls in the interior creates a gradient between inside and outside. 2.3 The dwelling claims part of the landscape by the physical presence of the long walls. Ridhika Naidoo, “designboom interview: sou fujimoto”, http://www.designboom.com/architecture/designboom-interview-sou-


fujimoto/, 2008, (accessed 2 October 2014)

Diagram 1.3

Diagram 2.3

23 Church Conversion in Utrecht St. Jakobuskerk Location: Bemuurde Weerd Oostzijde 56, Utrecht, The Netherlands Original architect: G. Gerritsen Originally built: 1870 (tower demolished in 1889) First conversion into antiques showroom, conference room and concert hall after being sold in 1989, by unknown architects.1 Second conversion into present state as a dwelling in 2007-2009. Architects: Zecc Architects (Marnix van der Meer, Bart Kellerhuis, René de Korte, Steven Nobel) Living area: 475 m2 Plot area: 670 m2 1 

Wikipedia, ‘Jacobuskerk (Utrecht, Bemuurde Weerd)’, http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobuskerk_%28Utrecht,_

Bemuurde_Weerd%29, 2014, (accessed 1 October, 2014).

Figure 1: Interior of the living room on the first floor mezzanine. Photo: Frank Hanswijk

Built in 1870 as a catholic church, St. Jakobuskerk in Utrecht now serves as a dwelling. When first converted in the early nineties into a showroom for antiques, conference room and concert hall, a large mezzanine floor was put in place to accomodate the new program. This floor was kept but altered in the second conversion, serving as the base of the design to turn the church into a dwelling.2 Figure 2: Exterior of the church facing the Vecht river. Photo: Frank Hanswijk

Figure 3: First floor view from the mezzanine above the entrance. Photo: Frank Hanswijk


Zecc Architecten, ‘Woonkerk XL Utrecht’, http://zecc.nl/uploaded_files/NL_woonkerk_X_utrecht_boekje_high_res.pdf, 2014, (accessed 1 October, 2014).

Figure 4: Interior hallway, facing the entrance. Photo: Frank Hanswijk

Figure 5: The apse has been turned into a dining room. Photo: Frank Hanswijk

Figure 6: Interior of the church before any conversion. Photo: Fotodienst GAU

Figure 8: First floor plan. Illustration: Zecc Architects

a b c d e f g h i j k

Entrance Boiler room Bar Hall / Games room Bathroom Bedroom Toilet Closet Guest room Study Kitchen

l m n o p q r

Figure 7: Situation plan of the churchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s urban context. Illustration: Zecc Architects

Laundry room Dining room Storage / Pantry TV room Reading room Lounge Hobby room

Inside the inserted structure are the few enclosed rooms of the dwelling, the master bedroom, guest room, study and bathrooms. Planned for a childless couple, perhaps thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all you need. That and your own private bar, of course.

Figure 10: Section B-B. Illustration: Zecc Architects

Figure 9: Ground floor plan. Illustration: Zecc Architects

Figure 11: Section A-A. Illustration: Zecc Architects

Figure 12: A view of the apse from the garden, with new windows. Photo: Frank Hanswijk

In the first conversion a large mezzanine floor was installed to provide more floor space. It sits just below the big stained glass windows of the church and still gives enough ceiling height below, which is fortunate for the architectural quality of the space. Often in church conversions, the windows sit too far down in the walls and any new floor slab put in ends up cutting across the middle of the windows in a jarring manner. The mezzanine floor was cut through and changed for the latest conversion into a dwelling, making several double-height spaces such as in the master bedroom. This makes the new floor and the rooms below it become a new almost freestanding structure within the old. The structure has been installed to change the old church as little as possible, touching it only lightly where it has to.3 This makes for a reasonably reversible addition, meaning the building could be returned to more or less its original state if it were once again to serve as a public building. A significant change to the church and the only apparent change to the exterior are the new windows on the ground floor of the apse (figure 12). These open up the dining room to the garden in the back and let some more light and views in. This seems like a good idea to make the church more residential and to improve the connection to the outdoors, but it is perhaps not as easily reversed as the architects’ other interventions. The design adheres to a modern design language. Sleek lines, minimalism and modern materials seem to be the order of the day, which have the effect of clearly showing what is new and what is

Figure 13: A view along the middle of the nave, through the study. Photo: Frank Hanswijk

old. Imitating the original style seems old-fashioned, and perhaps it’s just as well as such imitations are rarely convincing and can feel quite odd. This way the layers of time are quite apparent. The dwelling seems to largely have been planned with the original circulation and functions of the church in mind, although with some curious twists. The entrance to the building is still at the west end and the main communication is still down the middle of the nave. Curiously, the architects have chosen to cut it off midway and making the visitor walk around the study instead of straight down the middle. The sightline down the nave is still there, thanks to some glazed walls in the study (figure 13). The reasons for this arrangement are not clear; perhaps it was done so to loosen the rigidity of the original plan. Until 1995 the church had a pipe organ, on the mezzanine above the entrance.4 Music being an important part of any service, it can seem that the church lost a bit of its soul as the organ went. The new owners have handled this in a somewhat humorous way, placing an electronic drum kit where the pipe organ was (figure 14). Perhaps this turns everyday practice into a musical ritual, as you can play for your personal congregation. Somewhat similarly, the kitchen and dining room have replaced the chorus and sanctuary (figures 5 & 15). A lone kitchen island stands in the middle, almost like an altar where the cook becomes the priest, serving the hungry masses sitting in the apse on furniture made from the old pews. Cooking and eating can be an important ritual for many, but this takes it to the next level surely.


Zecc Architecten, ‘Woonkerk XL Utrecht’, http://zecc.nl/uploaded_files/NL_woonkerk_X_utrecht_boekje_high_res.pdf, 2014,


Wikipedia, ‘Jacobuskerk (Utrecht, Bemuurde Weerd)’, http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobuskerk_%28Utrecht,_Bemuurde_

(accessed 1 October, 2014).

Weerd%29, 2014, (accessed 1 October, 2014)

Figure 14: In the absence of a pipe organ, an electronic drum kit has appeared. Photo: Frank Hanswijk

Figure 15: The kitchen island, the new altar of our times. Photo: Frank Hanswijk

Church attendance is on the decline in pretty much all of the western world, and many churches become too expensive to maintain for smaller and smaller congregations.5 Selling them is sometimes the only solution. This can be quite traumatic though, perhaps especially for smaller towns where the church has been central to all social life. Suddenly having it closed off as private, with some rich person’s Mercedes parked outside, can surely upset a community. The catholic church are quite particular with what uses they approve in their sold churches, with dwellings and some public or commercial functions (such as figure 16) being preferred. They above all prefer to demolish them though, which is luckily not always allowed.6 There are some positive gains in terms of sustainability in converting a church, as you re-use an existing building with its embodied energy and already long life cycle. It might very well end up being less costly energy-wise than building a new building. It is important to achieve energy efficiency in the resulting dwelling though, which can be difficult in a perhaps listed building, with leaky windows and thin roofs.7 The cost of buying a church varies of course with location, size, state of the building and so on. The St. Jakobuskerk was bought in 2007 for €710,000, which is a considerable investment. A few years later, after completed conversion, it was again sold, this time for €2,400,000.8 That represents over 200% of increase in value of the property, despite a worldwide economic crisis in the years prior. Conversion costs aside, that must still represent quite a profitable investment. Apparently living in a converted church is very desirable for the rich, which can possibly in some areas contribute to gentrification and increased property values.9 Something worth mentioning is the often listed or otherwise protected status of old buildings such as churches. Receiving planning permission to turn them into dwellings might not be easy depending on where it’s located, and getting permission to make big alterations might also be difficult. On the other hand, where old churches are a dime a dozen and at risk of dereliction, it can be 5

K. Velthuis, and D.R. Spennemann, ‘The Future of Defunct Religious Buildings: Dutch Approaches to Their Adaptive Re-use’,

Cultural Trends, vol. 16, no. 1, 2007, pp. 43-66. Available from Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed 1 October,

2014), p. 43.


ibid, p. 53.


P.A. Bullen, and P.D. Love, ‘Adaptive reuse of heritage buildings’, Structural Survey, vol. 29, no. 5, 2011, pp. 411-421. Available

from Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed October 1, 2014), p. 417.


Zecc Architecten, ‘Huis te koop’, http://zecc.nl/uploaded_files/P061_fd_persoonlijk.pdf, 2014, (accessed 1 October, 2014).


E. O’Kelly, and C. Dean, Conversions, London, Laurence King Publ., 2007, p. 12.

Figure 16: An example of a cathedral converted into a bookshop. Photo: Roos Aldershoff

easier to cooperate with the authorities. When converting a church, one quality you are likely to get is a solid structure with good craftsmanship. Churches were built to honour the Christian god, and lots of love and talent went into constructing them, and probably significantly more care. They are also likely to have been well maintained over the years by committed congregations.10 A church can also represent a link to the past, and carry traces of the many people who used to be in the building, perhaps centuries ago. In our modern globalised world, a strong connection to the past can often be a desirable trait in a building. Churches come in many sizes, from the grand cathedral to the chapel the size of a shed. Many lie somewhere in between, possibly making them suitable for turning into single family dwellings, being of manageable size. This must be one reason of their popularity, since many other redundant buildings such as industrial structures are simply too large and difficult for a private home owner to convert. Take for example the Frøsilos by MVRDV in Copenhagen (figure 17), where two old storage silos were converted into apartments. Such extensive conversions can only really be accomplished by a large resourceful developer, since the structures are so unfit for dwellings to begin with (lacking windows and floors entirely) and are at a scale that just doesn’t make sense for a single family to inhabit. The size of a church can be a problem when attempting a conversion though, and it relates to the volume of the main space. Although there is a lot of volume in a church available to build into, it becomes a lot harder to plan if you consider the architectural quality of the final result. Most would probably agree that a main reason for being tempted to build a home in a church is the impressive volume, the expansive space designed to open our minds and impress us by the might of god. When you start planning your dwelling inside that space, the need to break it up into several smaller volumes becomes a necessity. It then becomes apparent that you can’t really divide it much or fit that many rooms into it before the magic and drama of the large space is lost. It seems therefore that a church, while large in volume, usually fits a smaller program for a dwelling than you’d first expect, if the architectural quality and coherence is of any concern. 10

D. Latham, Creative re-use of buildings. Vol. 1, Principles and practice, Shaftesbury, Donhead, 2000, p. 6.

Figure 17: Example of a large scale conversion, large silos in Copenhagen converted to dwellings. Photo: Bob Collowan/Commons/CC-BY-SA-3.0

Churches represent a piece of our past and are an undeniable part of our cultural heritage. Keeping them around is important to us for those reasons, and most of us, religious or not, aren’t pleased seeing them abandoned and in poor condition. Conversion can then be the saving grace that allows the buildings to remain in use, be maintained and stay a part of our cultural heritage. As the drive to densify our cities continues however, it might come at a cost. Demolishing a church could make room for more efficient residential blocks. There is a balance to strike here, and the question is how. Like in the example of St. Jakobuskerk, do two people really need that much space? As long as someone can afford it, the question is quite meaningless so long as the market rules. Turning churches into public spaces seems to be the more attractive option, but if the demand isn’t there, converting them to dwelling at least temporarily, can buy us time. Today we’re converting churches, where we worshipped god. We’re converting factories where we used to work. Barns once full of livestock and food become high-end residential buildings. Going back 100 or 200 years, it must have been almost unthinkable that these places would become redundant derelict shells without function. It makes you think, what are we building today that will become redundant tomorrow? It’s likely that it will happen as time goes on, change being the only constant of life. Perhaps our modern day churches, the rapidly multiplying shopping centers, are one such example (figure 18). Today we flock to them to make the wheels of the economy spin, worshipping the priests of consumer capitalism and singing the gospel of infinite growth. Tomorrow we might be facing another reality, one where energy is expensive and raw materials hard to come by. Who knows what challenges lie ahead in making use of our built environment then, and what functions we will need. Those who live will see. All in all, this converted church displays some of the challenges with converting a church, and the qualities you can achieve. From those discussed at the beginning of this chapter, it most clearly displays the ability to change/extend/add to an extensive dwelling, and the possibility for exciting vertical connections and spaces. The church also displays an almost literal interpretation of the ritual of living, where if enjoying life is a religion to you, perhaps you should consider moving into an old church!

Figure 18: Emporia shopping center, Malmö. Who will be living here in 2114? Photo: Tord-Rikard Söderström

Figure 19: St. Jakobuskerk by the river. Photo: Frank Hanswijk

References Bullen, P.A., and Love, P.D., ‘Adaptive reuse of heritage buildings’, Structural Survey, vol. 29, no. 5, 2011, pp. 411-421. Available from Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed October 1, 2014). Latham, D., Creative re-use of buildings. Vol. 1, Principles and practice, Shaftesbury, Donhead, 2000. O’Kelly, E., and Dean, C., Conversions, London, Laurence King Publ., 2007. Velthuis, K., and Spennemann, D. R., ‘The Future of Defunct Religious Buildings: Dutch Approaches to Their Adaptive Re-use’, Cultural Trends, vol. 16, no. 1, 2007, pp. 43-66. Available from Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed 1 October, 2014). Wikipedia, ‘Jacobuskerk (Utrecht, Bemuurde Weerd)’, http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Jacobuskerk_%28Utrecht,_Bemuurde_Weerd%29, 2014, (accessed 1 October, 2014). Zecc Architecten, ‘Huis te koop’, http://zecc.nl/uploaded_files/P061_fd_persoonlijk.pdf, 2014, (accessed 1 October, 2014). Zecc Architecten, ‘Woonkerk XL Utrecht’, http://zecc.nl/uploaded_files/NL_woonkerk_X_utrecht_ boekje_high_res.pdf, 2014, (accessed 1 October, 2014). Picture Credits Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19: © Frank Hanswijk Figure 6: © Fotodienst GAU Figures 7, 8, 9, 10, 11: © Zecc Architects Figure 16: © Roos Aldershoff Figure 17: Bob Collowan/Commons/CC-BY-SA-3.0 Figure 18: © Tord-Rikard Söderström

24 Buckingham Palace The villa and the country house, both models for the contemporary single-family house, contained several living rooms of equal status; the gentleman’s room, a smoking room, a library and, less frequently, a ladies room, as well as a separate dining room. The fact that all the rooms, with exception perhaps, of the dining room, have today been absorbed onto a single room is an indicator of necessary reductions in terms of the floor area, but also of a decrease in the formality in everyday life1

fig. 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckingham_Palace#mediaviewer/File:West_facade_of_Buckingham_Palace.JPG, 2014-10-01

fig. 2 Henry Lanham 2014-09-28

Although the everyday formalities of family life have relaxed, even for the Royal Family, the planning of Buckingham Palace, figure 1, is not about liberation as it is for many modern houses but ritual, ceremony and order. The original Buckingham House was built in 1703 but became the official London residence of the monarch during Queen Victoria’s reign, 1837 – 1901. It has expanded considerably since it was built and is one of the more extreme examples of an extensive dwelling, having 77,000 m2 of floor space2.

The building is zoned in a way that maintains the hierarchic separation as well as facilitating the varying needs. Ceremonial rooms are on the first floor of the west facing front (original Buckingham House part), easily accessible by the Queen who’s apartment is on the second floor north wing. The Queen’s personal staff have accommodation on the third floor, north, east and south areas. The building has many service areas including offices, kitchen and workshops which are located away from the royal areas. fig. 2 1. Schittich, Christian (Ed), In Detail: Single Family Houses, New Enlarged Edition. Birkhäuser, 2005, p.15 2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckingham_Palace, 2014-09-28

The Palace has hundreds of inhabitants, strictly ordered in a hierarchy, figure 3, which sees the Queen at the top. It is a multifunctional building fulfilling many of the needs of the Royals and staff in terms of ritual, social, operational and function.

Henry Lanham 2014-09-28

Palace hierarchy is reinforced through the buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s layout but enforced through social code. The organization of staff is much like a large hotel3 so unplanned contact between people is unlikely. The Queenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s apartment allows for her free movement from room to room, above, while the adjacent corridor allows for staff to circulate.

fig. 3 Henry Lanham 2014-09-28

The Palace also has separate staircases giving the same separation for vertical circulation. It is not unusual in older houses large enough to have serving staff. Figure 4 is an example of a large house in central New York from around the turn of the 19th century. The highlighted elements are for service and staff, typically the basement, top floor and separate stairs.

fig. 44

Separation is also visible in houses designed by and for the Shaker movement of 19th century America, figure 5. They are an interesting example of social code being reinforced through their architecture.

fig. 55 Dwelling House, South Family, New Lebanon

3. Corbitt F. J, My twenty years in Buckingham Palace, a book of intimate memoirs, David Mckay Company inc. New York, 1956, 57. 4. 5th avenue, completed 1907, http://tdclassicist.blogspot.se/2012_01_01_archive.html 5. Nicoletta, Julie. The Architecture of Control: Shaker Dwelling Houses and the Reform Movement in Early-Nineteenth-Century America. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 62, No. 3. 2003, 365.

The members were not employees as in Buckingham Palace but members of a society who shared a common ideology. They lived together as a family, grouped by level of commitment to the Laws. Biological families were split up and members were celibate. A house typically had between 30 and 100 family members. The group still had a hierarchy within the house. There were deacons who would oversee the following of the Millennial Laws, the Shakerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s written rules of conduct. The rituals of living are reflected in this example, The South House, a Shaker house built sometime before 1831.

The elders were able to design interior space in ways that would make it easier to maintain control over the brothers and sisters and to regulate their movement. 6

Henry Lanham 2014-09-28, based on 7

Female and male zones above.

To the left, separate entrance for women and men. Women would enter directly in to the kitchen, which would have been usually occupied. Men entered past the deaconâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s room to the right and via the dining room.

Henry Lanham 2014-09-28, based on 7

Henry Lanham 2014-09-28

Privacy was unknown in the Shaker house. The building was planned so that members of the group were constantly observed by other members and non-members could not enter their zone unnoticed.

Below, controlled circulation on the first floor. Access to the meeting room, unless through the main female or male doors would be through occupied rooms.

Henry Lanham 2014-09-28, based on 8

6. Nicoletta. The Architecture of Control, 366 7. Nicoletta. The Architecture of Control, 365 8. Nicoletta. The Architecture of Control, 367

In juxtaposition to both previous examples is the Robie House, Frank Lloyd Wright, 1909. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A liberation of space to space, reflecting a more liberal society in floor plans and architectureâ&#x20AC;?9. Despite its liberation of the plan it still maintains a separate area for the live-in maids.

I think this house falls somewhere between the rituals of the 18th and 19th century and contemporary living which could be represented by the Staircase House, Barcelona and reflects the first quote. The kitchen has moved in to the dining space and all internal doors have been removed from the plan with the stairs offering the only separation of space.

http://www.archdaily.com/60246/ad-classics-frederick-c-robie-house-frank-lloyd-wright/plan1-4/ 2014-09-29

Mornement Adam and Biles Annabel, Infill, New Houses for Urban Sites, Lawrence King Publishing, 2009, 62.

Conclusion. I have attempted to show Buckingham Palace with regards to ritual by its hierarchic organisation. The way space is organised within the fabric of the dwelling. It is of course an example of excess. It is a home for The Royal Family, the dwelling place for many staff, the work place for many more as well as a venue for state ceremony and rituals. Its architectural planning appears to be typical of large houses from the 18th and 19th century. Separate rooms with specific functions and a two tier circulation system. This can still be seen in the house in New York. The basic rituals of life, preparation of food, cleaning and maintenance are kept separate from other activities deemed to be of higher importance, at least in terms of social code. Buckingham Palace exemplifies this because of the social status of its primary inhabitants where in the example of the Shaker house we see an alternative approach to the division, in their case made by gender and commitment to the groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ideology.

It results in an architecture of duality and surveillance more than hierarchy and invisibility. I have shown the Robie House as an example of a house built at a time when social codes were being liberated. Many houses of the Modernist Movement from the early 20th century also attempted to express this new way of living through openness and liberation whereby the house was opened up internally. In the example of the Staircase House, although not extensive it has been opened up almost entirely with no internal doors. Functional spaces, once hidden are now merged in to social places as the borders become blurred. The rituals of living have changed for most people and it is apparent in our dwellings. The Royal Family, at least in their official residence maintain the rituals of tradition, but for the commoner a liberated and multifunctional space suits the more relaxed rituals of contemporary life.

9. Schittich, In Detail: Single Family Houses, 30


Informal Dwellings Authors: Fredrik Linander Sara Hansson Guo Maitao Niels Pettersson Malin Svensson

Informal Dwellings

Beyond rules ----------------Our society is strictly arranged. We are shaped and are constantly shaping each other in order to fit within the societal, constructed frameworks. The rules are set, and most of us are constantly upholding the rules and the standards. Which are the rules, what is upholdoing them and are they any good? Working as an architect within the box, following the rules, is without a doubt very limiting. We chose to widen the topic of informal dwellings and to make a small investigation in what we call, architecture beyond rules. In order to reach diversity we divided our topic in three sub-categories which guided us when selecting objects to investigate. Out method of research is not one. Due to the fact that two of our objects are within reach and not well documented, we chose to visit these and documented them ourselves Other ones are well documented and the collecting of facts has been through written sources. Common to all our chosen cases is that we, after collecting facts, have tried to substantiate the investigations by connecting them to architectural research and theory.

No rules -----------There are cases when the rules have been wiped out in favor of a lawless society. The reasons to why this is happening may be several. Natural disasters are one example, often followed by an acute situation where and when a more or less informal establishment develope. The rapid rural to urban migration is another, where shanty towns develope in order to house the growing number of inhabitants. We have chosen two examples that to some extent are lawless. We are presenting Kowloon Walled city where the disagreement between China and UK led to a development of a lawless society resulting, among other things, in an extreme vertical groth. The other example is PREVI in Lima where the initial construction was built by the government within the rules but the add-ons were set free, leaving the inhabitants to shape and add on to their houses in their own prefered way. Not knowing the rules --------------------------Looking at the way people shape their environment if they are not aware of rules, might lead to an understanding of a more intuitive way of building. We are all parts of society, schooled in manners and norms and the rules and structures of our own minds might get in the way of a clear-sighted way of building. Our example that will highlight this area of interest, is built by kids. A huge tree-structure in south of Sweden, the result of an unschooled, unleashed and broadminded creativity.. Breaking the rules ----------------------Sometimes the rigidity of networks and rules lead to the breaking of the same. In art you might say that the breaking of rules is part of the essence. Many times, art has been the first annoying finger pointing at the weakest link in the societal network. This is also why we found it interesting to look into the world of arts. In the 1920s Germany, Kurt Schwitters was this annoying little finger, who in the aftermath of war cheered the broken and the unfinished. Carl Göran Persson were not that deliberate in his rule-breaking buisiness, although similar in many ways. The constructioin of Södertou fortress began in the ‘60s. The Cold War was in many ways frightening and in Sweden, the fear of the Russians was palpable. You might argue that Södertou Fortress is the embodyment of this fear. Carl Göran build in order to gain control. The force in the walls of Södertou, and in the body of Carl Göran Persson are truly impressive and no rules in the world could stop it. Common qualities ----------------------// Unfinished (not aiming to be finished) - Opposite of images! Constantly evolving and ever changing. Resilience! // Built with strong local connections, both socially and materially // I build, therefore I am. The value of placemaking.

26 The tree-house in Snårestad BACKGROUND In the year 1999 a powerful storm swept threw the outlines of Ystad, Skåne leaving a trail of trees and branches behind. A large amount of it ended up in the backyard of the Bondesson family. The earlier tree-covered areas that was now torn up. But instead of despair, the two brothers Johan and Jakob and their friend Axel Billgren saw huge potential. They wanted to create a small treehouse using the leftover material from the storm. But as time went by, the treehouse grew to become a 400 square meter large fortress.2

Viewing the tree-house from the Bondesson’s garden, with the sundeck in the foreground. 3

DEVELOPMENT The project started with the ground level where the main building was surrounded by room-dividing objects, such as paling, plantations and playful paths. As they grew older they started to expand their construction vertically by added platforms above ground and connected them with bridges and duckboards, creating patterns up in the trees. The coniferous forest slowly start to deform and reflect the treehouse environment to which it was host to. It gave people who where passing by a glimpse of the development. When they felt that they had reached the maximum height, the ground floor was re-constructed, to make room for additions below ground. Their eager to build and their creativity resolved in lack of space due to the limited area. In addition to that the tree-house today raises 12 meters above ground.4

Bridges and levels in the heart of the treehouse2

Since the kids are both handy and curious, the project has always been about pushing boundaries and learning by doing. The admiration from people visiting and passing by has driven them to create even more spectacular constructions to explore. The material has been donated or found on the nearby beach creating a natures feeling to the tree-house. Also the process of finding an objects, redesign them, and placing them into the right context has driven the boys troughout the project.5

1 Johan and Jakob Bondesson, interviewed by Sara Hansson, 2014, by email, Lund.

4 J. Bondesson and J. Bondesson, 2014.

2 F. Linander, Snårestad, September 2014.

5 ibid.

3 ibid.

Their inspiration spun from different garden installations and various construction projects. In their early development, gardens around the village was used as inspiration. Since the treehouse has been developed for a long period of time and without a specific plan or design it may seem shattered and messy but the boys feel that it makes the spirit of the place and brings it together.

The mine

The tree-house holds various rooms and places, each of them designed individually under a short period of time. Rooms, that later on have been redesigned or converted into something else. This dynamic interaction has allowed them to create a lively working environment that is in close relationship to the nature.7

The main building

Spiralen 1


The stream bauer Spiralen 2

The bunker

Ground floor plan 1:1006

6 Drawing by S. Hansson, Lund, 2014. 7 J. Bondesson and J. Bondesson, 2014. 8 F. Linander, Snårestad, September 2014.

Artefacts which have found new purposes inside the tree-house. 8

Discussed Qualities LEARNING BY DOING Most of the qualities shown in the Snårestad tree-house has to do with learning by doing; creating, developing, evaluation, demolishing and re-creating. This gives the children the ability to develop knowledge and practice different theories, it allows them to experiment. Susan Goltsman claims that “Ideally a child’s play space should never be finished, it should be in a constant state of change”. 9 This concept is prominent in the tree house. It is a space without a program that allows add-ons and remodeling. This dynamic growth enriches the environment. The tree-house demonstrates how the children’s constructional skills and knowledge continuously have developed (see diagramatic section). Joe Frost is a professor of education at the University of Texas who has studied kids play for two decades. He concludes that kids need open space, challenges and tools to materialize their own ideas. They need opportunities to be disorganized. Creativity is being messy. He states that you don’t need much to accomplish great things. 10 The tree-house has been designed without specific rules which has allowed the children to form freely and create new solutions that relate to their own scale and needs. The nature around the treehouse is used as a tool for realization. Theoretically this process is called constructive play which is based on gaining knowledge through creating environments and spaces with various objects.

Digramatic Section over The tree-house12

Many theorists have investigated this phenomenon including Jean Piaget, who indicated that children have constructed a form of “perceptual space” during infancy. However, it is only much later that children will develop ideas about space. To create this ideas about space they will need to act and connect their actions, building a complete picture of a place based on their different interactions.11

Another specialist in this field is Arne Trageton, a researcher and educator on younger children’s pedagogics. Trageton describes how children’s spatial awareness is affected by their constructive play and divides it in two phases where the first is an ongoing development of the second. Briefly, in his first phase called “The topological space” a child describes places mainly by the relations it has to its context and through feelings that are non-measurable. This phase relates to the way Aristoteles describes space and rooms. Significant is that formations often lack straight lines. This phase later evolves and the child will start to organize rooms in different systems using grids. More focus will be on the functions and how the systematically interact. This phase has its background in the theory of Platon and today this is the most common way of viewing the spatial space. The formation often leads to squares and straight lines.13

9 E. Ruppel Shell, ‘Kids Don’t Need Equipment, They Need Opportunity’, Smithsonian Magazine, Vol. 25, Issue 4, 1994, p. 78.

12 Illutstration by S. Hansson, Lund, 2014.

10 ibid., p. 82-83.

13 A. Trageton, H. Carlberg, E. Skåreus, Lek med material: konstruktionslek och barns utveckling / Arne Trageton; translation Hans Carlberg; drawings Eva Skåreus, 2: nd edn, Stockholm, Liber AB, 2009,

11 D. H. Clements, ‘Geometric and Spatial Thinking in Young Children’, opinion paper, University of New York, 1998, p.4. Available from: ERIC, (accessed 30 September 2014).

(Egypten;2009), p. 33-31.

PERSONAL SCALE Due to the fact that the tree-house is made by and for children the scale will relate to the body of a child and therefore the process of aging will be present. The main building, located on the ground floor, was constructed when they were younger and therefore has a lower ceiling height then the later constructed bunker where the ceiling is higher. The constructed bridges and platform also relates to this pattern where sun deck dimensions are wider because of the fact that the boys needed a larger space for social meetings when they grew older. Their main purpose in the beginning of the project was to build as high as possible, which may have affected the platforms so that they are narrower than the sun deck. It seems that the different spaces are both depending on the children’s actual size but also their interests. The paths found in the treehouse is in general narrow and intimate. Since the boys uses their body for measurement the dimensions found in the treehouse differ a lot from more public spaces that are controlled by other regulations.

“Kids don’t need equipment , they need oportunity” -Roger Hart 15

Platforms and brigdes showing the personal scale within the tree-house.16

BUILDING WITH NATURE The main material in the tree-house is found on the beach nearby or being donated from visitors, family or friends and consists of different objects, wooden planks, tree-branches and ropes. Which together creates a naturalistic environment and make the treehouse blend in esthetically though this never was a focus point. Mark Francis notes that the landscape works as a great environment for children and for him the ideal playground consists of a landscape that uses the nature as play element14, which in this case is very significant. Entrance into the main building.17

14 E. Ruppel Shell, p. 79.

17 ibid.

15 Ibid., p. 80.

18 ibid.

16 F. Linander, Snårestad, September 2014.

The larger sundeck, built for social interaction.18

27 Merzbau BACKGROUND “In the war things were in terrible turmoil. What I had learned at the academy was of no use to me. . . . And suddenly the glorious revolution was upon us. . . . I felt myself freed and had to shout out my jubilation to the world. Out of parsimony, I took what ever I found to do this, because we were now an impoverished country. One can even shout with refuse, and this is what I did, nailing and gluing it together. . . .Everything had broken down, in any case, and new things had to be made out of the fragments.”1

Schwitters himself claimed that poetry was the first of the arts of assemblage that he practiced and that it was by combining poetry and painting that Merz itself was born. “In poetry, words are torn from their former context, dissociated and brought into a new artistic context, they become formal parts of the poem, nothing more.”3 His most famous poem is a nice example of this. It’s a love poem directed to Anna Blume. Below you can read a stanza of his own english translation, Eve Blossom4:

The technique called Merz, which in short could be described as the assemblage of found things, is dissolving the connotations of things and give them new meanings.

“Oh thou, beloved of my twenty-seven senses, I love thine! Thou thee thee thine, I thine, thou mine, we? That (by the way) is beside the point! Who art thou, uncounted woman, Thou art, art thou? People say, thou werst, Let them say, they don’t know what they are talking about. Thou wearest thine hat on thy feet, and wanderest on thine hands, On thine hands thou wanderest Hallo, thy red dress, sawn into white folds, Red I love Eve Blossom, red I love thine, Thou thee thee thine, I thine, thou mine, we? That (by the way) belongs to the cold glow! Eve Blossom, red Eve Blossom what do people say? PRIZE QUESTION: 1. Eve Blossom is red, 2. Eve Blossom has wheels 3. what colour are the wheels? Blue is the colour of your yellow hair Red is the whirl of your green wheels, Thou simple maiden in everyday dress, Thou small green animal, I love thine! [...]”

1 D. Dietrich, ´The Fragment Reframed: Kurt Schwitters’s “Merz-Column” ´, Assemblage, No. 14, Apr., 1991, p. 82-92.

3  ibid., p. 43.

2 J. Elderfield, ´Kurt Schwitters´, Thames and Hudson Ltd, London, 1985, p. 30-49.

4 K. Schwitters, “Eve Blossom”, 1919, in J. Elderfield, “Kurt Schwitters”, Thames and Hudson Ltd, London, 1985, p. 38.

This quote by Kurt Schwitters says a lot about the chaotic postwar life in Germany. The war-torn society was probably frightening to most people but to Schwitters it was invigorating. The rigid, historic language and structures were falling apart and in the rupture grew something new. The fallen pieces could be glued together in a new way. The personal journey of Schwitters were quite similar to the journey of the society. He worked as a technical draftsman when the war came, broke down the everyday structures and changed everything. The energy gained from the rupture led him into the arts and into worlds of artistic collaborations with Der Sturm, DADA and De Stijl.2 He took part of their ideas and language in this order (Der Sturm, then Dada, then De stijl) but were never submissive to group regulations. Since he never felt quite at home within these groups he invented Merz.

5 K. Schwitter, “Untitled”, ca 1921, in J. Elderfield, “Kurt Schwitters”, Thames and Hudson Ltd, London, 1985.

Untitled collage by Schwitters5

Kurt Schwitter’s parents owned a couple of estates in Hannover and in one apartment lived Kurt with his wife Helma and his son Ernst. Kurt had his studio in the apartment, a studio that around 1920 started its journey as his most important work of art, the Merzbau. His friend Käte Steinitz describes it like this: “One day something appeared in the studio which looked like a cross between a cylinder or wodden barrel and a table-high tree stump with the bark run wild. It had evolved from a chaotic heap of materials: wood, cardboard, scraps of iron, broken furniture, and picture frames. Soon, however, the object lost all relationship to anything made my man or nature. Kurt called it a “column.””6

movements in space and which intersect each other in empty space. The suggestive impact of the sculpture is based on the fact that people themselves cross these imaginary planes as they go into the sculpture. It is the dynamic of the impact that is especially important to me. I am building a composition without boundaries, each individual part is at the same time a frame for the neighboring parts, all parts are mutually interdependent.”9

Starting off in a formless manner influenced by the Dadamovement, assemblage sculptures, so called merzbilder and merzcolumns soon filled up his studio. In the middle and end of the 1920s he got more influenced by De Stijl constructivism and his studio transformed into somenthing more formal. It is also from this period (ca 1930) most of the photographs originate. Though, it is important to mention that the Merzbau was remained unfinished and nothing speaks of Schwitter wanting to stop evolving and transforming it.7 Merz-column11

Kurt Schwitter’s art was classified as “Entartete Kunst” by the Nazis and he left Germany for Norway in the late 30s. The Merzbau in Hannover was destroyed 1943 in an Allied bombing raid.8 I end this background with a quote by Schwitters himself, describing his intentions: “In order to avoid mistakes, I must expressly tell you that my working method is not a question of interior design, i.e. decorative style; that by no means I construct an interior for people to live in, for that could be done far better by the new architects. I am building an abstract (cubist) sculpture into which people can go. From the directions and movements of the constructed surfaces, there emanate imaginary planes which act as directions and


6 J. Elderfield, 1985, p. 145.

9  ibid., p. 156.

7 ibid., p. 157.

10 ibid.

8 ibid., pp. 197-200.

11 ibid. 12 ibid.

Cathedral of Erotic misery12

Discussed Qualities ADDING LAYERS What makes Merzbau especially interesting in comparison to Schwitters other production, is the fact that it never finished and seemingly wasn’t intended to be. It was an ongoing process. In contrast to his contemporary friends in architecture as well as in arts he did not present a utopian city plan, a perfect building or a cubist painting. His counterparts all acted within the concept of tabula rasa, everthing should be wiped out and then we build something new.

When you realise this, you also realise that one of the most important parts of architecture, is to look at what is already there. What does the world, the city, the place consist of and how can we alter it on order to achieve the result we are looking for. So, the most interesting part maybe isn’t the fact that it never finished, but the fact that it, in a way, never started.

But Schwitters realised that it wasn’t and shouldn’t be wiped out, it was just broken down. He presented a process of adding layers, an operation aestheticizing time. In our period of more static architecture (due to extreme image production and image consumption) this is well worth attention. Contrary to images, architecture aswell as societal structures are constantly there and constantly reproduced by everyone. It can’t be wiped out and it can’t be static. Mattias Kärrholm summarize it well13: “As a common ground there must be no doubt that materiality is always produced, not just by technicians, planners or architects, but are being produced and reproduced constantly, both as conceived materialities, perceived materialities and lived materialities. We are constantly, in the midst of artefacts, architectonics and urbanities, obliged to form and saturate materialities with meaning just in order to get through the day. Architecture is thus produced everywhere and by everyone. “

Codex Guelferbytanus, a sixth century palimpsest, layer on layer 16

We think this is a value worth discussing. To us, it is a matter of attitude, whether to look at a place as a tabula rasa or as palimpsest. Again as Kärrholm puts it14: “There is not and never can be a tabula rasa. On the contrary, the world is always a palimpsest.” Part of a plan of Merzbau Hannover, pinpointing some of the main features15

13 M. Kärrholm, “Retailizing Space”, 2012, Ashgate, pp. 129-130.

15 J. Elderfield, 1985.

14 ibid., p. 130.

16 Codex Guelferbytanus, 6th Century, [online photograph] available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palimpsest#mediaviewer/ File:Codex_Guelferbytanus_B_00474.jpg (accessed 2 October, 2014). 17 J. Elderfield, 1985.

Different layers visible in the Merzbau17

EVERYTHING BELONGS TO EVERYONE In some ways you might say that the war and the deconstruction of physical structures created a less hierarchial world. Published in May 1919, in the satirical magazine Der Simplicissimus. Karl Arnold depicted a huge pile of crap from war-torn households with the inscription “Alles gehört allen” (everything belongs to everyone). It is interesting to analyse how Schwitters related to this “pile of crap”. When his fellow artists and architects restored the hierarchial structures in different manners, Schwitters proposed a less hierarchial structure beoynd these rules. Using his words, he liberated the objects in the pile of crap from their inherent properties, their “eigengift”, by placing them in a new context. “Entformung” he called the process which could be translated with disassociation.18

Schwitters describes Merzbau as a sculpture into which people can go, a sculpture to let them “cross imaginary planes” and into a life “beyond boundaries”. Merzbau dissolves the barriers of language and habits, liberates the objects from their “eigengift” and forces the user to be active in interpreting the interior. So, not only was his interior borderless but through the interior he also wanted to dissolve the barriers of the human mind. “The suggestive impact of the sculpture is based on the fact that people themselves cross these imaginary planes as they go into the sculpture. It is the dynamic of the impact that is especially important to me.”21 The people who have gone through the Merzbau are free to create new uses, new functions and no longer will adapt to the inherent properties of materiality. They are thinking outside the box and they are the creators of a new world.

You could say, that the war deconstructed the physical structures and that Schwitters deconstructed the barriers of language and habits. He created a pile of non-hierarchial language. “...each individual part is at the same time a frame for the neighboring parts, all parts are mutually inderdependent.”19 THE QUALITIES OF A DISASSOCIATED OBJECT Our language is an agreement. We all, or most of us atleast, agree on what a kitchen table is and how to use it. This is of course a quality in most cases, the evening-dinner for exemple, but not in all. A disassociated kitchen table could be used as a shelter for kids, as something to climb to reach higher, as fuel, and many other things. Disassociated objects are adaptable. Herman Hertzberger gives us a possibility to connect this to another scale.

“Alles gehört allen”, illustration of a warn-torn household, 191922

“[What]....all the exemples that have been cited boil down to is a plea to design in such a way that buildings and cities possess the ability to adapt themselves to diversity and change..”20 Disassociated objects in Merzbau23

18 ibid., p. 51.

21 J. Elderfield, 1985, p. 156.

19 ibid., p. 156.

22 Karl Arnold, “Alles gehört allen”, der Simplicissimus, issue 13, 1919 [online picture] available at: http://www.simplicissimus.info/uploads/tx_lombkswjournaldb/pdf/1/24/24_07.pdf.

20 Hermann Hertzberger, in M. Kärrholm,”Retailising Space”, 2012, Ashgate, p. 128.

23 J. Elderfield, 1985.

28 Södertou fortress BACKGROUND Many people seem to know a little bit about Carl-Göran Persson. Together the stories describe an odd man who took matters into his own hands. He was born in 1894 in a small village in the middle of Skåne called Södertou,1 where he would work as a horse carriage driver for the priest. Regardless of his seemingly safe life in the swedish countryside in the middle of the 20th century, CarlGöran was preoccupied by the tensions that surrounded him, with the United States in the west and the Soviet Union in the east, it was the times of the Cold War. The Swedish relations to the Soviet Union was characterized by the difference in importance for each country. Soviet was Sweden’s largest and in many aspects most important neighbor, and threat both politically and militarily. The same circumstances however did not apply for Soviet, who regarded Sweden as a country of minor importance.2 Nonetheless the Baltic sea was a strategically important area for the Soviet union in many ways. It was regarded as their inner defense area, had a great importance for the submarine fleet and defined the border towards the central parts of Europe. The people of Sweden also felt threatened by Soviets strive to spread communism, though this was not considered as the most urgent threat by the swedish government.

Carl-Göran Persson in his home in Södertou. Copyright: Bengt Rosenhall 4

At these times Carl-Göran got unemployed. The priest had bought a car and no more had anys use of a carriage driver. Since he now had more time on his hands and still felt the threat from the east, he was now able to start building the Södertou fortress, which would be his engagement from the on. It was supposed to protect himself, the villagers and if he would be passing, even the king, from a Russian attack. He started to gather building material, consisting of what he could lay his hands on. Reinforced concrete was a suitable choice. As the fortress grew larger and the rumors about Carl-Göran along with it, the authorities forbade the vendors to sell concrete to Carl-Göran. He was therefore forced to go further and further with his bike. The concrete was reinforced with whatever he could find; bike parts, iron bed frames, milk cans and bread baskets and parts of the second floor was supported by beams made out of rail.5 All of this formed a steady concrete object in the middle of the fields of Skåne, far from politics, war and Russians.

Södertou fortress today.3

81 year old Carl-Göran passed away in 1975, and the farm was demolished, but the fortress is still standing, as is the memory of Carl-Göran himself.

1 Sveriges släktforskarförbund, Sveriges Dödbok 1947-2003, version 3.0, Pub. 2005.

4 Bengt Rosenhall, Södertou fortress, February 1970. Copyrighted Material used by permission of the author.

2 Utrikesdepartementet, ‘SOU 2002:108 Fred och säkerhet’, Säkerhetspolitiska utredningen, 2001, p. 132, http://www.regeringen.

5 C. Ekmark, ‘Regissör ger liv åt man bakom märklig fästning’, Skånskan, 29 November 2013, http://www.skanskan.se/article/20131129/HORBY/131129220/-/regissor-ger-liv-at-man-bakom-marklig-

se/content/1/c4/16/35/1cddddce.pdf, (accessed 24 september 2014). 3 F. Linander, Södeto Fortress, Hörby, September 2014.

fastning, (accessed 24 September 2014).

Discussed Qualities For us, discussing architectural qualities in a traditional manner is irrelevant in a case like Södertou. The building was not at first hand created to solve regular architectural problems and thus create a nice environment to dwell in. According to us, the main reason that Södertou fortress was built is also its main quality, that is: the building’s ability to make the dweller feel safe.

than ever before, Change all of a sudden was regarded as something inevitable. The bourgeois, although themselves being a result of this change, reacted with an attraction to, what we now call, conservatism, primitivism and exoticism.8 A new set of morals, and a fear of breaking these created a new architecture. It was under these circumstances that the Panopticon, one of history’s most famous examples of paper architecture, was conceived by Jeremy Bentham. “Morals reformed - health preserved - industry invigorated - instruction diffused - public burdens lightened - economy seated, as it were, upon a rock...all by a simple idea in architecutre.”9 - Jeremy Bentham The circular design of the prison allows one single watchman to observe all of the inmates from his watchtower in the middle of the building, without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. It is of course impossible for him to singlehandedly surveille all the prisoners at the same, but since the inmates never can be sure if they are being watched or not they always must act as they are.10 Along with separated cells, thick walls and tiny window-openings this surveillance design probably would have formed a, for the time, extremely safe and effective building. Maybe it would even have eliminated the fears being addressed (fear of escapes, fear of immoral behaviour, fear of violence etc.).

Folder by the Swedish Civil Defence Management sent to all households in 1961, “If war comes”6

FEAR, SAFETY AND ARCHITECTURE Architecture and urban planning has in various forms throughout history been influenced by this, one of our most primal feelings: Fear. In fact one of the most important reasons for the formation of cities was to simplify protection from dangers. The city’s high walls reassured that no hostile elements were let in, making it a relatively safe place.7 Naturally the notion of fear and safety has changed throughout the history. The rising of the bourgeois class and the shift from feudalism to capitalism during late 18th century radically changed European society. This change was not only liberating but also a reason for fear. In a society where news and developments spread quicker 6 Civilförsvarsstyrelsen, “Om Kriget Kommer”, 1961 [online picture] available at: http://hd.se/ledare/blogg/wp-content/ uploads/2008/10/om-kriget-kommer.jpg (accessed 2 October 2014). 7 N. Ellin, “Shelter from the storm”, in “Architecture of Fear”, New York, Princeton Architectural Press, 1997, p. 13.

Presidio Modelo, Cuba. One of few built examples of a prison using the Panopticon concept11 8 ibid., p. 14. 9 ibid., p. 16. 10 J. Bentham, preface of “Panopticon”, 1787, [online resource] available at http://cartome.org/panopticon2.htm, (accessed 2 October 2014). 11 Unknown Photographer, “Presidio Modelo”, Cuba, 2005 [online photograph] available at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ac/Presidio-modelo2.JPG.

Carl Göran Persson was a simple farmer and not much was written about him while he was still alive, it is mostly through oral sources his legacy has survived. These secondary sources has told us that Södertou fortress was the result of Carl Göran’s fear of a Russian attack. The fortress could then be regarded as a bomb shelter or a bunker designed to be able to (literally) hold the fort as the war raged outside. Fortunately war never came to Skåne and only through analysis of the building and its construction can we decide how well it would have worked as a fortress under actual attack.

The location of the fortress appears a bit random today, situated in the middle of the fields far away from any community. The fact that it had a dwelling attached to it before makes the location more understandable. The building is however not concealed in any way and surrounded by agricultural fields it would have been an easy target for a bomber.

The stand-alone columns outside indicates that the fortress was never completed, though we will never know what the intentions of this part was. It does imply however that Carl-Göran did not size the project in a realistic way.

The second floor and the chimney are both elements characteristic for a house, rather than for a fortress or a bunker. They are not needed for the sake of protection but express the importance of the interior and enhances the fortress's liveability.

Walls and cavities gives the actual form of the building. Roofs, windows and doors for example are components of less importance. The outer walls are in general thick, up to 1 m, but the thickest wall faces east, towards Russia one can assume. Cavities often appear in the walls, sometimes visible and sometimes hidden.

The building material consisting of reinforced concrete is significant for the fortress. The choice of structural material might, on one hand, mirror a strive to construct a building that would survive a war. However the materials could also have been chosen out of pure rationality. The materials were easy to come over and possible for him to carrie by himself, in small parts at a time, with only his bike as a transport. Regular reinforcement is not only expensive, it would also have been difficult for him to transport long distances. Therefore he was forced to search in his near surroundings for a substitute. Carl-Göran might also have chosen materials that he though would protect him in the best way. Plan, Section and building analysis of Södertou fortress12

SAFE PLACE OR CONTROLLABLE SPACE? After analysing the building it becomes evident that Södertou fortress would not have survived a military attack of any kind. Whether or not Carl Göran thought so himself we will never know. If we suppose that he did he could probably be dismissed as a mad man. This was however not the impression we got when visiting the site. It breathed eccentricism rather than madness. What is this eccentrism a result of? Maybe it’s not actual safety (exemplified earlier by Panopticon) that Carl Göran aimed for while constructing the fortress, maybe it was the sense of safety and control that he was after. In todays society, fear is largely driven by change. Globalization, specialization and geographic mobility are some factors which make people conceive the world as more unstable than ever. In a global world of politics and business the power is harder to recognise which “make people feel like ever smaller and insignificant cogs in a giant machine whose workings are incomprehensible”.5 Lacking a sense of control over our world has made the fear of the unknown grow, and has spawned the formation of controllable spaces such as gated communities. These, by walls and fences, bordered communities are according to studies not safer than traditional neighbourhoods. The dwellers feeling of safety is however significantly higher.12 This might also be the case with Södertou. Rather than a safe place that would serve as physical protection, it seems like Carl-Göran created a controllable space for himself. It was his way of channeling his fears, instead of doing nothing he did something. Bernard Leupen and Harald Mooij are discussing the matter of dwelling and protection in their book “Housing Design, A manual”. They state that dwellings function as divisions towards the outside world and creates a controllable space on the inside.13 “As we spend more time in it, this inner world becomes larger; we attach greater importance to it; the dwelling becomes not just a shelter but a place of residence. [...] The protective envelope becomes a point of departure towards the freedoms of the world outside. The ease with which the interaction between the private world inside and the desired elements outside can be achieved determines to a large extent the occupants’ enjoyment of their home and their potential for self-actualization.”14

Carl-Göran Persson showing the second floor of Södertou fortress. Copyright: Bengt Rosenhall11

11 Bengt Rosenhall, Södertou fortress, February 1970. Copyrighted Material used by permission of the author.

12 E J. Blakely, M G. Snyder, Separate Places: Crime and Security in Gated Communities, Urban Land Institute, 1998, http://www.popcenter.org/problems/burglary_home/PDFs/Blakely&Snyder_1998.pdf, (accessed 2 October 2014). 13 B. Leupen, H. Mooij, Housing Design: A Manual, Delft, NAi Publishers, 2011, p. 19. 14 Ibid., p. 19.

SELF-ACTUALIZATION Supposing Södertou fortress is more of an attempt by Carl Göran to create a controllable space and a sense of safety, than creating an actual safe place, opens up the possibility for another great quality: self-actualization. Through our research we have found that the making of controllable spaces is closely connected to the act of self-actualization. Leupen and Mooji refers to Heidegger’s essay ‘Building Dwelling Thinking’, which states that selfactualization is the true essence of dwelling. In High German the word ‘buan’ (building) also means ‘to dwell’.15 “And Heidegger goes further: even the conjugations ich bin, ‘I am’, and du bist, ‘you are’, of the German verb sein, ‘to be’, can be traced back to the same root word, buan.”16 Much like the kids creating the Snårestad Tree-house (see previous chapter) Carl Göran might have constructed Södertou fortress in the spirit of “I think, therefore I build”. Visiting Södertou Fortress one could feel the presence of the joy of building, especially visible in the experimental brickwork of the west facade.

Experiments in brickwork found at the fortress’s south facade17

15 ibid., p. 21. 16 ibid. 17 F. Linander, Södeto Fortress, Hörby, September 2014.

Carl Göran climbing the long gone stairs of the fortress. Copyright: Bengt Rosenhall18

CONCLUSION The historical examples of fear driven architecture that we have come across are initiatives of the ones holding power, proposing general solutions directed to their fear of losing influence. Södertou fortress is in a way the antithesis of this, addressing an individual’s fears of a greater power, in a self-actualizing hands-on kind of way. At the same time the objectives are the same: enhancing (the feeling of) safety for the initiative taker(s). However, there is a big difference in how these strategies are viewed upon from mainstream society. The masters of modernism were given full freedom to experiment with the lives of others. It was regarded as common practice and was socially accepted. Even in our days, when it is clear that the modernist experiment in many ways was a failure, prominent architects and planners of the era are still regarded as gods within the architect community. Carl-Göran Persson’s Södertou fortress did not impinge on any one but himself, but was still by society ruled as a madman’s-project, to such a degree that the authorities prevented him from buying concrete. In a world where the question of fear and safety are maybe more relevant than ever (terrorism, gated communities, home-alarms etc.) it might be important for us architects to define whose concerns we are addressing: the individual’s or the dominant society’s?

18 Bengt Rosenhall, Södertou fortress, February 1970. Copyrighted Material used by permission of the author.

29 Kowloon Walled City BACKGROUND In 1842, the first Opium war had ended. Great Britain was victorious and now controlled the Hong Kong island. The Kowloon bay, situated on the opposite side of the harbour was still under Chinese jurisdiction. With tensions growing, both internally and externally, the Chinese authorities felt it necessary to improve the old regional fortress, the so called Kowloon Walled City.1 After the “Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory” in 1898, Great Britains territories were expanded to also include East Kowloon, however a clause made sure that the Walled City remained a Chinese exclave with a governing of its own. The clause caused an outrage among press and the British community, and soon the Walled City was regarded as a “moral danger” and a “malign influence” by the colonial populace. At last, uprisings suspected to be planned by the Chinese Viceroy made it impossible for the Colonial authorities not to act and the Walled City was finally taken. 2

Aerial view in 1973 before surrounding slum was cleared6

“At this point , it might have been expected that the British would demonstrate clearly their control of the Walled City. But [...]they left the place pretty much alone.”3 For many years Kowloon Walled City was in decline and by 1904 there was “nothing but desolation”. Being an important symbol of independence for the pro-chinese community, the government was careful granting any leases within the walls. Except for some charitable institutions moving in, time stood still, Hong Kong residents regarding it a curiosity to be visited and photographed.4

Tourists visiting the Walled City in the 1930s5

Aerial view in 1989, Kowloon Walled City at its peak7

By 1940, despite resistance from Chinese authorities (still claiming jurisdiction), everything except the wall was demolished and after the Japanese occupation during WWII virtually nothing was left of the original Walled City. Seeking refuge from colonial rule, pro-chinese squatters now settled down in the former city. To retain peace with China, the British authorities adopted a hands-off approach towards the city and it’s inhabitants, a strategy that lay the foundation of the Kowloon Wale City’s reestablishment during the following decades.8 In the late 80’s the tiny squatter coomunity of about 2000 had grown in to a city of at least 33 000, housing not only people but also factories and workshops, schools and several unlicensed dental and medical practices.9 Being largely ungoverned since the ‘40s, the City had undergone an informal vertical growth, filling the need of accomodation for people seeking different kinds of refuge. The inhabitants themselves had also applied their own widom, creating new self-helped architectural elements, exampled in the following discussion by the “cage-balconies” and the maze-like, multifunctional alleys.

1 J. Carney, “Kowloon Walled City: Life in the City of Darkness”, SCMP, March 16 2013.

6 ibid., p. 71.

2 J. Wilkinson, “A Chinese Magistrate’s fort”, in G. Girard and I. Lambot [ed], “City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City”, 2011,

7 ibid., p. 10-11.

Watermark Publications, p. 63-64. 3 ibid., p. 66. 4 ibid., p. 66. 5 G. Girard and I. Lambot [ed], “City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City”, 2011, Watermark Publications, p. 69.

8 J. Wilkinson, 2011, p. 67. 9 J. Carney, 2013.

Discussed Qualities VERTICAL GROWTH Kowloon could be seen as adaptable architecture in a city going throrugh a densification process. A step by step expansion, a vertical growth, housing an increasing number of inhabitants. The issue of housing ever more inhabitants is something many cities of the world are trying to solve. What could we learn from Kowloon?

The horisontal densification going on in cities today mainly focus on filling in the gaps of the cities with new buildings. The in-between spaces, the left-over plots, are seen as useless and as holes to fill with meaning. We want to increase the value of these interstitial places. Mattias Kärrholm discusses the qualities of these interstitial places of cities today.

Finding qualities in Kowloon relating to the vertical growth, might be hard. I think everyone would agree that it was too dense, too dark. This extreme growth of Kowloon was made possible due to the fact that the city was not under anyone’s rule (They were infact a part of China but isolated within UK). Building regulations simply did not exist.

“So, in-between spaces, or interstitial spaces as I call them here, play important roles in human life. This includes the ability to create space wherever one might want to, in order to develop actions of one´s own rather than just reacting to strong territoral strategies and their regulation.”10

One thing that most often is regulated within building regulations, is the height of buildings. And most often, the height of a building is final and achieved during its initial construction. A building rarely grows verticaly. Adding attic floors could be seen as one part of this that is already an existing strategy of the densification process. But attics rarely provide good housing and at the same removing the quality of a common attic that could house more social functions. We want to focus on this step by step expansion, lifting it out of Kowloon and use it as a tool for densifying cities. Allowing for vertical growth of the already built could have some benefits to what we choose to call the horisontal densification. When it comes to urban adaptability, is not only a matter of making the physical structures adaptable but also a matter of loosening the rigidity of jurisdictions and zoning regulations.

These left-over plots could be used in many ways and we think that it would be a good idea to leave these places unplanned in order to make them available for appropriation by inhabitants. Leaving it open for buildings to grow vertically, to add floors, will allow for the city to grow without erasing all its important gaps.

Traditional densifaction11

Kowloon’s vertical densification12 10 M. Kärrholm, “Retailizing Space”, 2012, Ashgate, p. 121. 11 Unknown Author, densification project in Malmö, [online picture] available at: https://planeraren.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/ fc3b6rtc3a4tning.png. 12 A. Arranz, “City of Anarchy”, 2013.

CAGE BALCONIES - NOVEL SOLUTIONS The inhabitants in Kowloon Walled City built their own balconies just using steel rods. However, it is not the only case which adopts cage as a form to build the balconies in Hong Kong. On the contrary, the cage balcony is quite common as a kind of selfhelped space extension. Cage balconies afford a kind of extension structure for the inhabitants themselves. They were not only a place for life, but also took advantage of the steel cage frame to fix rods to it - thus expanding their space further. They did their utmost to expand their living area: hanging up clothes on the steel rods under the roof of the cage, growing plants on the wooden platform, feeding birds, storing sundries in the corner of the cage, etc. The cage is not in a cubic shape, but uses a slope roof as an efficient mean to keep the rain and the rubbish, which might come from the upper inhabitants, away. Not only can these balconies be regarded as a claim of occupying the space, but also a functional and easy way to solve the living issues in Kowloon Walled City. THE MAIN ALLEYS The alleys formed a complex maze in Kowloon Walled City. How ever implausible it might sound people actually used this maze as a way-finding system. Lacking both sunlight and street signs, the main thoroughfare played the role of marks. Naturally, the main alley in the city was also the most busy area. The sound generated by the markets and the prosperous environment around the main alley might be one reason why inhabitants could orient the unbelievable maze. The function of the alleys was not merely for transportation, moreover, for the social interaction of people who lived there. It was also common to set up shops and individual workshops along the streets. Likewise, Kowloon being a self- sufficient mega structure, there were an abundance of markets beside the zigzag alleys. Mixing different types of buildings or rooms means mixing people in some degree, which, more or less, creates the opportunities to mingle. In this specific way, the main thoroughfare might have improved the poor living quality somewhat, maybe enhancing the happiness of the residents. Creating more chances for communication can bring about other social improvements. For example, a lower rate of crime might be the result of people knowing their neighbours.

30 PREVI BACKGROUND When the PREVI-Lima housing competition was announced in 1968 the informal city seemed to have overwhelmed the Peruvian capital. With an annual growth rate of more than 5 % the city almost doubled its population during the 60s, from about 1.7 million in 1960 to almost 3 million in 1970.1 The so called Barriadas rapidly spread along Limas perimeter, during its peak the self-building of houses was 47 times greater than the production of state social housing. Even today a mind-boggling 47% of Peru’s urban dwellings are informal.2 Most easily translated in to shanty towns, the Barriadas constituted and still constitute “an informal way of urban development, in which the population settles in the land before it

Diagram showing Barriada (dark) growth between 1954-19864

has been developed. The development of the neighbourhoods becomes then a collective enterprise”.5 These new slums could not only be looked upon as dirty, sub-standard and to a varying extent criminal homes of the poor. On the contrary, building your own Barriada-home could, according to British architect John Turner, be seen as an expression of own effort and optimism in the future. The Barriadas effectively provided the dwellers with access to land and housing and also proved to be a great growing bed for small-scale commerce as well as grassroots associations.6 Learning from, rather than denying, the qualities and efficiency of the Barriadas the Peruvian government with the aid of the UN, used a somewhat unorthodox method in battling this seemingly uncontrollable urbanization. PREVI, Proyecto Experimental de Vivienda (Experimental housing project), an international competition, was announced. Besides the top thirteen Peruvian offices the organizers also invited the most interesting and radical international teams of that time, among others The Metabolists from Japan, Aldo van Eyck from Holland, Atelier 5 from Switzerland and Cristopher Alexander from USA.7 Their task was to create a new typology of low cost, low rise, high density and highly adaptable dwelling. The kind of building that would eradicate the need of Barriadas, (given the UN:s involvement and the internationality of the competition one can guess) not only in Lima but all over the developing world. Cerro de el Agustino, one of Lima’s numerous Barriadas 3

1 G. Riofrío, ‘Lima: mega-city and mega-problem’, in A. Gilbert (ed.), ‘The mega-city in Latin America’, United Nations University Press, 1996. Available from: UN University Press (accessed 23 September 2014). 2 F. García-Huidobro, D. Torres Torriti and N. Tugas, ’Time Builds!: the Experimental Housing Project (PREVI), Lima: genesis and outcome’, Barcelona, Gustavo Gili, 2008, p. 47. 3 Meriem2010, User of Google Panoramio, Cerro de el Agustino, Lima-Peru, uploaded February 2010 [online photograph], http://www.panoramio.com/photo/32176505 (accessed 24 September 2014).

4 A. Fernandez-Maldonado, ‘Barriadas and elite in Lima, Peru: Recent trends of urban integration and disintegration’, 42nd ISoCaRP Congress, 2006. Available from: ISoCaRP (accessed 23 September 2014), p. 2. 5 Fernandez-Maldonado, 2006, p. 2. 6 Fernandez-Maldonado, 2006, p. 3. 7 J. McGuirk, ‘PREVI: The Metabolist utopia’, http://www.domusweb.it/en/architecture/2011/04/21/previ-the-metabolist-utopia.html, 2011, (accessed 15 September 2014).

Despite a military coup in 1968 PREVI survives and in the summer of 1969 the entries are examined. The quality of the entries was considered outstanding which is why the organisers, both the government and the UN, propose that a small segment of each of the 26 entries should be built. This collage of experimental dwellings, would surely maximise the architectural as well as technical benefits of the project.11 In the first and, as it would turn out, only realised phase of the project 500 dwellings were constructed. As we can see in the aerial view below materials were rough and both colors and vegetation very sparse. Today the situation is the opposite. In the following pages we will discuss the quality of the dwellers themselves being able to adapt their house to their own needs. A quality that, because of the competitions ambitious goals, was a built in part in all of the PREVI prototype houses.

Master plan by Peter Land, over-looking PREVI from the North8

The site for this “last great experiment in social housing”9 was a 40 hectare plot in an new development area 8 km north of Lima city centre. Following the invitation was a long list of more or less mandatory requirements, an ambitious set of guidelines which probably made the project so successful. In the light of our theme, Informal Dwellings, the most interesting of these guidelines were: “The dwellings was not to be conceived as a fixed unit but as a structure with a cycle of evolution. The first phase accomodates the young family. The second provides additions for the growing and new children. The third introduces temporary for one or two newly-marrieds among the children. In the last stage, the elderly original owners cede place to one of the younger couples and the cycle begins again.”10

Aerial view of Previ just before completion12

8 P. Land, ‘PREVI-PERU: the Experimental Housing Project, Lima’, 1970 [online picture], http://grahamfoundation.org/system/grants/images/2107/large/Land_PREVI.jpeg (accessed 24 September 2014).

11 Garcia-Huidobro, Torres Torriti and Tugas, 2008, p. 14.

9 McGuirk, 2011.

12 Unknown photographer, PREVI, Lima- Peru, ca 1973 [online photograph], http://grahamfoundation.org/system/grants/

10 “PREVI/Lima: Low Cost Housing Project.” Architectural Design 40, no. 4, April 1970, p. 188.


Discussed Qualities “Those monuments [the Berlin Interbau 1957] are the corollary of composing by way of closed form, in which the formal and often also the contextual components are fixed. They are passive towards change in time. The moment they are born they become antiques. […] All these are somebody else’s souvenirs, somebody else’s house and housing settlements.”13

During the ‘50’s he became a member of Team 10, distancing himself from many of the ideas of modernism, regarding them as static and unable to “[meet] our contemporary needs”.13 In 1959 he presented what would be the foundation to all his future works in both art and architecture: the Open Form manifesto. Hansen himself called it a philosophy, “a position that defined one’s attitude toward reality”.13 Modern architecture was, according to Hansen too technological, instead he proposed a new architecture based on sociological questions.


“[A] structure of space shaped by various types of human activities.[...] The architects or artist’s role should be an auxiliary one, highlighting human activities in a process of change and transformation [...]”.13

Polish architect, artist and theoretician Oskar Hansen (19222005) enjoyed a long career in between different art forms, in between Modernism and Postmodernism and in between different countries. Born in Helsinki by a Russian mother and Norwegian father, raised in Vilnius and later based in Warsaw he was somewhat of a world citizen. During the late ‘40s and early ‘50s he was one of CIAM’s younger members, noticed for criticising Le Corbusier with youthful passion.13

Time, change and how the original building responded to these were, as we understand it, vital for Hansen’s architectural ideas. Another way of describing this could be: the buildings ability to adapt over time. As mentioned earlier this is what we view as the main quality of PREVI. Not surprisingly Oskar Hansen together with Svein Hatløy, were one of the foreign offices participating in the competition.15 The research of this proposal and the built work proved to be quite unfruitful. Instead we choose to delve into another proposal, by Christopher Alexander, and tried to apply Hansen’s as well as Alexander’s own views on architecture to discuss the projects adaptable abilities in different scales; from Urban Planning down to the Constructional Module. CHRISTOPHER ALEXANDER AND A PATTERN LANGUAGE 14 individual houses based on the same elements and put together in a cluster is the physical result of Christopher Alexander’s ideas of the perfect city. They are also the built outcome of his proposal for the PREVI competition. For him the ideal city does not hold two identical houses. This is achieved through a process where the future inhabitants of the site are incorporated. Christopher Alexander’s idea was to hand them tools, with which they could create their own environment that would fit their specific needs and budgets. The city was planned to function both as a big society, as small communities and as private zones for the single families. The system is based on a pattern that suggest maximum adaptability on all levels.16 “ A man enjoys his work when he understands the whole and when he is responsible for the quality of the whole.” 17 In the book “A pattern language”, Christopher Alexander states that no man will be satisfied when used as a cog in a machinery. His point of departure is that all people should design for themselves their own houses, streets and communities.18 The book “A pattern language” provides as the name suggests, a language for building and planning. In two complementing books, the language

Proposal for landscape installment evolving over time made by Oskar Hansen.14

13 O. Hansen, ‘Open Form manifesto’, Przeglad Kulturalny, vol 5, no. 5, 1959.

15 “PREVI/Lima: Low Cost Housing Project.” Architectural Design 40, no. 4, April 1970, p. 188 .

14 J. Gola, Towards Open Form, Foksal Gallery Foundation, 2005, p. 69.

16 ibid., p. 193. 17 C. Alexander, A Pattern Language, New York, Oxford University Press, 1977, p. 399. 18 ibid., inside of cover.

is accompanied by explanations of how the system can be implemented in a society. The pattern should be approached first on the large scale creating structures, moving down to the ones that embellish those structures, and then to the ones that embellish the embellishments, refining the network.19 The language is also to be used in specific situations without any connection to a larger network. Much like Hansen’s concept of Open Form, “A pattern language” suggests that the role of the architect must be changed in order to create a new human-centred architecture. For Alexander this role included giving the people tools, for Hansen the architect should be subordinate to the dwellers wishes and dreams. Both of them seem to stress the need of self-built adaptation. Looking closer into Alexander’s PREVI proposal we understood that this was the goal throughout the different scales. CITIES OF ADAPTATION The first step is for the families to determine the appropriate size of the plot according to what they could afford. Afterwards the basic plan of 1726 houses would have to be altered. Its morphology is fluid enough to handle that movement. Each plot is 5,20 meters broad and can vary in length between 13- and 27 meters. The site is divided into a number of cells which contains 30- 70 houses. Roads and communal functions such as schools, churches and governmental offices are planned in relation to all these cells. Secondly the future inhabitants were asked where they wanted to locate their house. People with similar attitudes were then put together in the same cell. To increase the specific atmosphere in each cell, they are separated from each other with pedestrian paths. The center of each cell contains an open space with an unfinished roofed arcade in the middle, which is for the inhabitants to finish in their own way.20

Proposed site plan by Christopher Alexander.20

HOUSES OF ADAPTATION Despite the strive for uniqueness, all houses originate from one generic house type. It is a two story house with an elongated shape where rooms and patios alternate along the length to provide light everywhere despite the depth of the form. The ground floor is divided into a private and a semi-public zone which is an important element for the connection to the public space outside.21 The rooms, which adds on each other, are rarely divided into detached rooms, instead they are sequenced by alcoves which provides many spatial opportunities. Alexander states that if a room is to serve a group of people well, it has to give them a chance to be alone and together in the same space, the intimacy demands privacy.22

Ground floor plan of proposed type house by Christopher Alexander.23

19 C. Alexander, A Pattern Language, New York, Oxford University Press, 1977, p. xviii.


ibid., p. 193.

21 ibid., p. 194. 22 C. Alexander, A Pattern Language, New York, Oxford University Press, 1977, p. 829. 23 M. Svensson, “Plan drawing of Christopher Alexander house in PREVI”, Lund, 2014.

Bamboo Flooring

MODULES OF ADAPTATION Alexander’s proposal includes a detailed plan of how the houses are to be constructed. Using a system of load bearing walls and a light-weight plank and beam structure, the construction is similar to traditional construction. The components used were however designed to be both cheaper, locally produced and at the same time innovative.

Concrete Blocks

Concrete Beam

All components were to be prefabricated on site and assembled dry which would make them equally as suitable for use by the contractor as the families who later wanted to change their homes. The team made sure that all of the components were small and light enough so that two men could assemble them. Furthermore, all of them were specifically designed to handle the relatively low tolerances usually found in home-construction. For us the most interesting of the modules are the mortarless blocks, the so called EDI-Thermomod blocks, used in the load bearing walls. Cast in concrete and prefabricated on site a single dweller was estimated to be able to produce about 400 blocks in 8 hours with only one mould (about 2000 blocks are needed for a house of 100 m2).

Bamboo Beam

The block weighs only 5 kg and is self aligning which makes it easier for a non-professional to assemble. The absence of mortar is stated to give the wall earthquake-proof abilities but also permits the removal of single blocks without damaging the rest of the wall. This ability makes it possible for the dwellers to easily create new openings where they feel it is needed. The cavities in between the two counter facing blocks is intentioned to house plumbing lines and electrical conduits, that can be drawn and redrawn in ways that in a given moment would suit the dweller.24

24 “PREVI/Lima: Low Cost Housing Project.” Architectural Design 40, no. 4, April 1970, p. 196.

System of constructional modules25

25 M. Guo and N. Pettersson, “Constructional Drawing of Christopher Alexander House in PREVI”. Lund, 2014

ACTUAL TRANSFORMATION, 1978-2003 The book “Time Builds!” from 2008 has been an inspirational and indispensable source in our research of PREVI. Here we could not only find information and data about the competition and the built outcome of it, the three authors have actually mapped and carefully surveyed the development and growth of 14 different houses, all of them of a different origin. Through interviews, researching, measuring and of course drawing they successfully have shown the different house’s ability to adapt to the needs of the dwellers.26 Due to reasons unknown (economical,constructional, cultural?) the built version of the Christopher Alexander house is somewhat different from the competition proposal. The plan is slightly more compact and the bed alcoves more defined as separate rooms. The house researched in “Time Builds!” is owned by a Señora Teresa. The 90 m2 typehouse was originally inhabited by her, her husband and a child. Since then it has evolved, spatially, four times. The house has almost doubled in size to an impressive 172 m2, and was in 2003 inhabited by eight people of three different generations. The latest expansion, in 2001 included the construction of a roof-top terrace.27 Ornamental changes are numerous as in almost all of the PREVI houses. Together with the personalized add-ons this has created a spatially, as well as visually, truly diverse neighbourhood.

Adaptations made on Señora Teresa’s house.28

Before and after pictures of case study no. 9 designed by Crousse, Péaz and Pérez-León.29

CONCLUSION From a boxy social-housing area in 1978 to a cosy middle class neighbourhood in 2014. PREVI has without of doubt made a journey during the 36 years since its erection. Socio-economically speaking the project has, interestingly enough, flourished. Justin McGuirk discusses this in a Domus article from 2011. His conclusion is that: when the family’s financial situations improved they didn’t move as they normally would. Instead they put their money into forming and improving their houses.30 In an age where gentrification is one of the hottest topics of discussion PREVI could be a valid contribution. In some ways Previ represents a middle way. Neither soon to be chic down-town working class area, nor the forever condemned modernist suburbs, it actually allows its original inhabitants to “gentrify” their own neighbourhoods. Maybe, building with adaptation in mind could be a way to enhance Socio-economical sustainability? The built in adaptability has in many ways proved to be successful, small changes has constantly been able to fill the needs of the families. However it could be argued if adaptability under strict rules set by someone else is true adaptability. As with all languages “A Pattern Language” consists of a set of rules, by Alexander called tools (you can put lipstick on a pig…). Can true freedom, and thereby true adaptation really be obtained within these? “A Pattern Language” is also clearly aimed for the traditional family, a husband, his wife and their children. In today’s society where family and/or living constellations can be far more complex than this the book might in many ways prove to be irrelevant.

26 Garcia-Huidobro, Torres Torriti and Tugas, 2008, p. 102. 27 ibid., p. 104.

29 Garcia-Huidobro, Torres Torriti and Tugas, 2008, p. 98.

28 M. Svensson, “Axonometric of Christopher Alexander house in PREVI”, Lund, 2014, after diagram in Garcia-Huidobro, Torres Torriti

30 J. McGuirk, ‘PREVI: The metabolist utopia’, (http://www.domusweb.it/en/architecture/2011/04/21/previ-the-metabolist-utopia.html), (accessed 2 oktober 2014).

and Tugas, 2008, p. 104.


Short-term dwellings Authors: Jūratė Cirtautaitė Kristina Finné Tobias Henriks Christopher Polteg Hanna Sahlstrom Negash

Short-term dwellings

DEFINITION OF THE TOPIC/GENERAL BACKGROUND We discussed the topic of temporary dwellings and tried to define what short-term means when discussing dwellings. A simple definition was not easy to conclude but we were able to have a really good discussion. One of the aspects of short-term is the lack of the feeling of home another the duration of time one intends to spend in the specific dwelling. The social aspect can also be a part of the topic of temporary dwellings, ones regular social network may not be in the proximity of this temporary dwelling which puts even more pressure on the aspect of social consideration in the architecture. In various of the examples that we have examined some of traditionally private space is moved into shared spaces such as social areas, kitchens, bathroom. The short term stay is many times assumed in need of near places for social encounter. STRATEGY OF RESEARCH Step by step how we reached the result of the assignment: -Discuss. At the beginning we tried to find the definition for short term living. We tried to raise the questions which are the key to our research: What type of dwellings are included in this topic? What is short-term living? What is temporary and what is permanent dwellings and is it the same as short and long term living? -Search for the material in general about short term living. We looked at different resources: library, internet, LUBsearch and Lovisa search engines, magazines and etc. -Discuss and try to subcategorize the topic. After searching for answers to our questions in the resources, we discussed again about what we have found. We decided to make a list of dwelling types, which could help to continue with the research. The list of different type of short term dwellings which we came in: 1. Hotels/hostels/pub’s (historical) 2. Student housing 3. Refugee camps 4. Homeless people housing 5. Temporary living for people after extreme situations 6. “Couchsurfing” and “Airbnb” 7. Elderly people houses 8. Trailer parks - camps for tents 9. Slums 10. Prisons 11. Psychiatric clinics 12. Children camps 13. Seasonal workers 14. Soldiers housing 15. Convent 1

Caravan picture, http://theroadhasnoend.soup.io/, 2006, (accessed October 03, 2014)

-Continue with the research with different subcategories. After writing down all different types of short term living dwellings we made a 5 categories list: Human shelters - Jurate Short term apartments - Kristina Hotels - Tobias Extreme situations dwellings - Christopher Institutional housing - Hanna The subcategories were divided for each one of us and we continued with the research separately. 1 In human shelter subcategory the main key was to find what qualities can be found on the situation, when dwellings has to be built very fast, cheap and are sometimes used for more than 20 years. Analysis was based on looking at traditions of different cultures, materials, insulation, site planning and etc. - Chosen example: Shigeru Banâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Paper Log Houses. 2 Short term apartments we defined as mainly being student apartments and apartments that are hybrids between a hotel and a long-term apartment. We tried to define what needs short-term dwellers have and how this translates into the design of apartments and common areas. The example we chose is Mosvangen student housing. 3 Under the topic of hotels we will investigate the spatial qualities of modern hotels through comparing them with the oldest style of hotels in the world, the Japanese Ryokan. 4 On this subject we have investigated the qualities obtainable in extreme environments. We have looked on studies on environmental psychology and what basic qualities in space are necessary for our well being. The example of further examination Halley Research Station VI in Antarctica. 5 Here we looked one what kind of institutions serve as short term stay and in what situations. We have focused on distribution and hierarchy of space when usage is divided between caregivers and caretakers. We present the Art Center in Hedesunda -Skaparbyn, Creative Village for childrens picture weaving camps, as another example of space made for caretakers/caregivers and administered short term living. This is to show other types of qualities under the same categories. -Together discuss about our results in different subcategory After major amount of individual research, we discussed about the results and tried to find main factors or key points to summarise all of our research. -Make conclusions about our topic The main idea was to take all common aspects from each subcategory and tried to make a general conclusions for short term living topic. -Individual work with graphic stage


Hospital example





Diagram of spaces in human shelter camps

31 Human shelters INTRO. Human shelters is a subcategory of short term living. Usually it is meant to give a temporary shelter for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees, who under some circumstances, like war, natural disasters or political persecution lost their homes1. It is specific form of dwelling, because a great number of people at the same time looses their homes and needs a temporary living space. It is also an extreme situation of housing: you don’t have the right to choose your dwelling as we are used to it in everyday life and the quality of these dwellings depends on good fast decisions and reaction. It’s also hard to foreknow possible period of using them (Dabaad, Kenya refugee camp example, which exists more than 20 years, which meant to be for a few years2). A very important organization is UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), responsible for the quality of dwellings and camp areas. For example, they regulate square meters inside the unit for 1 person, site planning details and etc3. But the government and architects have to find best solutions of fast, cheap and at the same point sustainable and livable dwellings with the best possible qualities. It’s important that units could be explored for more years than expected, to reduce costs if the termn lasts longer. And also to avoid becoming a slums because of bad materials and choices. SHIGERU BAN AND PAPER LOG HOUSES. Shigeru Ban (born in 1957) is an architect from Japan, Tokyo. From young age he was interested in paper, wood and bamboo materials. In 1985-86 he started to use paper for his designs. First it was used for the installation for Alvaro Aalto exhibition. And after that he started a case study of paper-tube structures, by designing “PC Pile House”, “Furniture House” and etc4. At the beginning he faced a lot of problems by testing paper tubes as house construction materials, but soon he saw that this material is even stronger than he thought. He also found that it’s possible to make it water and fire proof. At the moment Shigeru Ban is the only architect in the world, who is creating paper houses. As architect mentioned, he faced a lot of difficulties, to convince government and organizations to start these types of buildings, especially in post-disaster regions. But after few tested examples, it was obvious that it can be used as a house material5 and it is strong enough to stand more than 10 years.


Daabad, Kenya, areal photo of refugee camp


Sh. Ban’s Paper Log houses, Turkey



Sh. Ban’s Paper Log houses, Kirinda, Sri Lanka



Sh. Ban’s Paper concert hall, L’Aquila, Italy

Sh. Ban’s Paper Log houses, Bhuj, India

Sh. Ban’s 1800 patrition syste of paper tubes, Japan


Sh. Ban’s Cardboard Cathedral, Christchurch, New Zealand


Sh. Ban’s Paper Log houses, Philippines


S. Ban’s Tents with paper tube system, Rwandan, Byumba camp


Sh. Ban’s papper church, Kobe, Japan


Sh. Ban’s emergency shelters on the world map

2000 2001 2007 2008

Paper Log house

Kirinda houses

Hualin temporary elementary school



Paper log houses

Christchurch, New Zealand Cantenbury earthquake

Cardboard cathedral as a symbol of city reconstruction

Japan, The Great East Japan earthquake

Port-au-Prince, Haiti earthquake


1800 paper patrition system for more privacy


Paper emergency shelters

L’Aquila, Italy earthquake

Paper concert hall

Chengdu, China Sichuan earthquake

Kirinda, Sri Lanka

Bhuj, India


Rwandan Byumba camp


Paper Log house


Paper refugees shelters

Kobe, Japan Takatori earthquake

Paper church

Kobe, Japan Takatori earthquake

Paper Log house






ANALYSIS. There are some analystic aspects of the dwelling and threw thees aspects we can deffine quality in the shelters. MATERIALS AND ECOLOGICAL ISSUES. Shigeru Ban started to talk about ecological architecture even before the World started to talk about it. So when he got a permission to build first shelters, it was very important for him to do it with recycled materials and not leave industrial vastes afterwards as shelters are meant to be tore down.6 All materials which are used for paper log houses can be found on site. And these materials vary depending of situation and site where it is built. Usually it is 10 different material layers used for the houses and almost all can be recycled. Some of them are beer crates, paper-cardboard tubes, wood planks or even woven bamboo sheets. Most of the units cost less than 2000 U.S. dollars with all finishing materials.7 HUMAN RESOURCE. Other resources of creating shelters are human labor. It’s important to make living units as fast as possible and easily built up. Shigeru Ban adds this valuable aspect to his shelters and involves future residence for building units. To build 1 paper log house there is need of 1 – 20 people and it takes around 6 hours to finish it.8 After that, residences evaluate there homes more than it would be done by others. It also creates more tight community in the camp.

12.5 m

Latrine and shower (men) Water point 15 m Patrition

40 m

Common area

Latrine and shower (women)

5.5 m

50 m 12.5 m Garbage point 12

M. Lolachi, Site plan of refugee camp

SITE PLANNING. Short term living houses has a few asspects in common. One of them is shared facilities, like cooking places, latrines and etc. On camps there are also personnel staff who are bringing food, medicines, clean water and other donations, doctors, nurses and psychiatrist.By expanding common areas, living units are quite small and organized to participate in a smaller community. As “Refugee camp planning and construction handbook” points out, all common facilities (toilets, clean water, doctors and supply desks) has to be easily accessible.9 There are two different organizations UHNCR and USAID, who are taking care of right site planning and quality of camps and shelters. The main common facilities have to be in this way: •Minimum living space for 1 person: 3.5 m2; • 1 latrine for 20 people; 50 meters from latrine to any shelter; • Water supply point should be 100 meters from any shelter; • After every 300 m there should be 50 meter fire break area; • There shouldn’t be more than 35 people living in the multi family shelter. 10 ECONOMICAL ASPECT. Economical aspect sometimes is the key for good or bad shelter. Depending on situation, different amount of money can be spent for 1 unit. It also depends for how long the shelter will be used. In Rwanda, refugee camp units had only 50 $ budget and UNHCR sent only plastic sheets to them. So Shigeru Ban made the cardboard tube construction for the tent structure and covered it with plastic tent, sent from UHNCR.11 Another example with low budget is partition system in Kobe. After earthquake people there brought to big school sports hall. And there were no privacy, since people were sleeping and living at the same place on mattresses. Shigeru Ban with his students made paper tube construction and put the curtains on it to make “walls” and to give displaced people more privacy in a big space. 12

41 m

Plastic covering


Cardboard tubes

Plywood joints Cardboard tubes Ø106 mm


Cardboard tubes Ø106 mm



Plywood pegs Plywood floors Cardboard tubes Ø106 mm Plywood floors

Beer crates


Sh.z Ban’s Paper Log house material scheme



Weaved bamboo leaves


-Materials. Unit is made of 10 material layers - Ø 106 mm cardboard tubes, plastic covering – tent, plywood joints, pegs for plywood, plywood floors, beer crates. All materials can be found on site, they can be changed with traditional materials in the area. -Recycling/sustainability. Materials can be recycled very easily, easy to dismantle. -Insulation. Good, can be improved. -Culture. Great attention is to the culture needs and traditions. -Quality of space. Possible cooking place, Outside terrace, private + open spaces. -Site planning. -

2 000 $ 16 sq.m.

Possible transformation

h x 1-20


-Materials. Lightweight semi-hard plastic sheets, shade-net for microclimate regulation, solar panels, metal frame (with connectors and wires), plastic fasteners. -Recycling/sustainability. Ecological lighting in the houses brings more sustainability in units. -Insulation. Shade-net regulates microclimate; covers from wind and nature fall; water proof. -Culture. It’s not fitted for culture or tradition needs. -Quality of space. It has curtains to separate rooms. It has electricity to feel cosier. -Site planning. -

1 000 $ 17.5 sq.m. Not possible transformation +




-Materials. Aircraft-grade aluminum, skylights. -Recycling/sustainability. It can be used a few times in different places to give shelter for humans. -Insulation. Climate-controlled environment. It is also protected from criminals. Water and fire proof. -Culture. It’s not fitted for culture or tradition needs. -Quality of space. Skylights are improving quality of life, easy to connect with electricity. -Site planning. Small communities can be created by organizing position of shelters on the site and it’s easy to change it because of light materials. 3 type of planning is offered: communal pods, interconnected, rows.

5 000 $ 7.9 sq.m.

Possible transformation +


Sh. Ban’s , IKEA, EXO shelter comparison

min x

INSULATION. It’s important to have a good insulation during rainy seasons, winter time (in some countries) and extremely hot periods. Off course it really depends of the situation. Like in Haiti project of human shelters, Shigeru Ban built houses on bear crates filled with sand bags, to avoid floods causing the units. 13Usually insulation in Paper Log houses are create with extra plywood planks. Natural materials also gives possibility for better ventilation, greater thick of roof and cardboard tubes (works like ventilated facade) gives possibility to have warmer dwelling during night, and cooler unit during the day.



CULTURE AND TRADITIONS. The quality of living also can be described as how you can fit your traditions and culture needs to the house. For describing this factor there are examples from Turkey and Sri Lanka. In Turkey architect Shigeru Ban made bigger houses, because of the greater family sizes in that area. In Sri Lanka houses there made with separated rooms, because women’s of the house can’t see the guest coming in to the house.14 Also in Haiti, the houses were covered by traditional material – planks of waved bamboo leaves.15

Scheme I

QUALITY OF LIVING The quality of living space in human shelters should be one of the most important aspect. People experienced disaster-included displacement or refugees are in a very extreme psychological condition. 16 So to create comfortable, private and good quality units is the key to reduce people suffering. Shigeru Ban’s paper log houses have more qualities than it looks like. First of all natural materials, good microclimate inside and even after few years, shelters looks nice. The aesthetic factor is also important to give displaced people at least some quality in their life. It is also important to have possibility to make more private rooms for sleeping, a place to cook meal and to have common areas outside the house with small community, who also suffered the same disaster. 17 In some surveys, people living in human shelters usually mentioned a possibility to change your unit, because every family and resident of the human shelter are different from each other and have different needs. So possibility to make bigger windows, doors or make more rooms and private spaces is very important. 18 Getting back to Shigeru Ban, it is very easy to make changes on the façade and inside the house, by putting or taking some of the cardboard tubes or even cutting them. Shigeru Ban by himself made some different schemes of transformation without losing any other qualities, like ventilation or good connection with outside. Ban is also offering different schemes with different outside and inside spaces: 16 m2 of inside; 9 m2 of inside and 7 m2 of outside; 9.3 m2 – 6.7 m2; 11 m2– 5 m2; 10 m2– 6 m2. 19

Layout Indoors - 16 sq.m. Outdoors - 0 sq.m.


Scheme II

Layout Indoors - 9.3 sq.m. Outdoors - 6.7 sq.m.

Scheme III

Layout Indoors - 10 sq.m. Outdoors - 5 sq.m.

Views in the plan

Views in the plan

Views in the plan

Ventilation plan

Ventilation plan

Ventilation plan

Sh. Ban’s Paper Log house transformation schemes

DISSCUSIONS. Shigeru Ban’s work and way of thinking is viral and can infect a lot of architects minds. As Shigeru mentioned: “Architects are creating for privileged and rich people, building them monuments, but they are not working for the society and simple people. And after disasters there are no architects around, building shelters for displaced people. “20 This phrase gives a different attitude to Shigeru Ban’s work, because he CARES. Talking about human shelters it is impossible to avoid question what is temporary and what is permanent. 21 You can add another Shigeru Ban’s notice. He is considering what defines it to be like that? And in his own words, permanent building becomes when people likes it and it doesn’t matter of what type of materials it is made. And even concrete buildings, made by developers, can become temporary if people don’t like it and it is not working as it should work. 22 Going back$to Shigeru Ban’s paper log houses, there are a lot of 2 000 good qualities, brought to the units: privacy, flexibility to change spaces, adaptation to the environment, cultural awareness and traditions, terraces (helps to create neighborhoods community). It is also easy to build, so people who are going to live there are also participating in the construction stage. Of course, it’s not the perfect way of building homes for displaced persons. Major minuses are: it takes quite a lot of time to build 1 unit, comparing to an amount of -Materials. Aircraft-grade aluminum, skylights. people, who do not have a homes. There are need of great amount -Recycling/sustainability. can be used a few times of people, to build 1 unit. Colder climate countries wouldn’tItbe in different places to give shelter able to built these kind of shelters because of insulation. But it is for humans. -Insulation. Climate-controlled possible to say, that Shigeru Ban’s Paper Log houses are between environment. It is also protected from criminals. Water and fire proof. tent and permanent houses. And comparing with other shelters, -Culture. It’s not fitted for culture or tradition needs. who are replacements for tents (like IKEA shelter or EXO shelter), -Quality of space. Skylights it’s a very good solution, because the price of it is not high at all. are improving quality of life, easy to UNHCR connect 23 with electricity. Usually the tents are the first choice of the , because of -Site planning. Small communities can be created by it’s easier production and construction. But as Ban improved, it is organizing position of shelters on the site and it’s easy also possible to adapt this cardboard tube construction type to the to change it because of light materials. 3 type of plantents, with really low budget. ning is offered: communal pods, interconnected, rows.

16 sq.m.

7.9 sq.m.


Living in the camp relation scheme

5 000 $ Possible transformation









Secretary Of The Air Force Washington, D, Refugee Camp Planning And Construction Handbook, 10222, Volume 22, 15 June 2000, p. 12.



R. Jonathan, B. Liz, K. Patrick, P. Dan, V. Katherine, K. Phil, V. Katherine, „Shelter Report 2014 Supporting Incremental Building Through Housing Microfinance“, 270 Peachtree St. N.W., Suite 1300 Atlanta, GA 30303 USA 800-HABITAT 229-924-6935, 2014, p. 14


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B. Shigeru emergency shelters around the world, Infographic scheme.






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United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Handbook for Emergencies, Geneva, Third Edition, February, 2007, p. 275. 18

Pin’s Case Study: Shigeru Ban’s Paper Log House, http://indayear2studio-1314s1.blogspot.se/2013/09/ pins-case-study-shigeru-bans-paper-log.html, (accessed September 21, 2014). 19

B. Shigeru and S. Kartikeya, „Paper-Tube Housing“, The MIT Press on behalf of Perspecta, Perspecta, Vol. 34 (2003), p. 154-155+158-159 20

Leupen, Bernard, M. Harald, U. Rudy, J. Birgit, N. Robert, Z. John, S. Ali Mohamad, Z. van Alexander, B. Pierre, and V. Laura, Housing design : a manual / Bernard Leupen & Harald Mooij ; with contributions by Rudy Uytenhaak ... ; [drawings, Mohamad Ali Sedighi, Alexander van Zweeden ; translation, Pierre Bouvier, Laura Vroomen]. n.p.: Rotterdam : NAi publ., 2011., p. 16-19 21

B. Shigeru in Tedx Tokyo, Emergency shelters made from paper [online video], https://www.ted.com/ talks/shigeru_ban_emergency_shelters_made_from_paper, 2013, (accessed October 03, 2014). 22

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Handbook for Emergencies, Geneva, Third Edition, February, 2007, p. 52. 23


Plywood material, http://www.globalply.de/, (accessed October 03, 2014). 15

Woven bamboo texture, http://www.textureonline.com/bambootexture-17, (accessed October 03, 2014). 16

B. Shigeru , IKEA, EXO shelter comparison, Infographic scheme.


Pin’s Case Study: Shigeru Ban’s Paper Log House, http:// indayear2studio-1314s1.blogspot.se/2013/09/pins-case-studyshigeru-bans-paper-log.html, (accessed September 21, 2014). 18

Living in the camp relation scheme, Infographic scheme.


United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Handbook for Emergencies, Geneva, Third Edition, February, 2007, p. 214 12

Pin’s Case Study: Shigeru Ban’s Paper Log House, http:// indayear2studio-1314s1.blogspot.se/2013/09/pins-case-studyshigeru-bans-paper-log.html, (accessed September 21, 2014). 13

32 Short-term apartments One of the sub-categories we chose under the theme short-term housing we named short-term apartments. By this we mean apartments that are developed to be suited for short-term living. Student apartments are a typical example and another example is the hybrid between a hotel room and a regular apartment, which is aimed at professionals who are temporarily working in another city. Sometimes regular apartments are used as short-term apartments in situations of a more temporary character like people being evacuated, people having their apartments refurbished, people in need of shelter, etc. We have chosen to discard these from our category short-term apartments since our focus here is apartments that are purpose built for short-term use. In terms of definition, there is no exact time limit for how long or short time a person is supposed to live in a short-term apartment. The time the tenants stay can vary from a few weeks to a few years but they all have a few things in common. They usually come to a city where they have no friends or family and thus their social life is very limited, at least in the beginning of the stay. Therefore less space for socialising in the apartment is needed. However, they are in greater need of common spaces where they can see and meet other people and maybe start to form a new social network. Usually, tenants don’t bring all of their belongings to a short-term apartment since they also have a permanent place to stay back home, which mean they don’t need as much storage space as they would in normal apartment. In many cases, these dwellers don’t cook as much either since they only have themselves to feed and therefore it is usually enough with a small kitchenette. The need for space is in general less than it would be in a permanent housing situation and short-term apartment are usually much smaller than long-term apartments. Especially when it comes to student apartments, this is also connected to the fact that they need to be affordable on a student budget. As previously mentioned there are in short-term apartments usually a few functions that has been removed compared to long-term apartments and these functions are instead placed in common areas. Often it is the function “socializing” and/or the function “cooking” that are moved out of the private space and in to a common space. In Sweden, the government has even made up certain rules regarding that you are allowed to make student apartments smaller than “Swedish standard” if you take away a function and put it in a common space. However, if the kitchen is moved to a common space, no more than 12 apartments are allowed to share it. But there are no restrictions regarding how large a common area for socializing should be. It is stated that it should be “adequate” and what is adequate will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.1

Von Lingens väg 132



Thomsonsväg 28B

Thomsonsväg 28C

Thomsonsväg 28D

Thomsonsväg 30A

Thomsonsväg 30B

Thomsonsväg 30C

Thomsonsväg 30D

Thomsonsväg 32A

Thomsonsväg 32B

Thomsonsväg 32C

Thomsonsväg 34A

Thomsonsväg 34B

Thomsonsväg 34C

Café & Pizzeria

Gästlägenhetv Gästlägenhetv Boservice/Office



Tvättstuga Laundry room Gemensammautrymen

Common area outside the laundry room, Malmö Studenthus1

Typology of Tietgenkollegiet student housing in Copenhagen3

Common space at 17 John Cotel6


Site plan, Malmö Studenthus showing common areas and functions such as gym, café & pizza restaurant, laundry room, lounge, etc.2

Outdoor common space at Tietgenkollegiet student housing4

Common kitchen at Tietgenkollegiet student housing5

Café at Scape student housing, London7

In the more successful recently built short-term apartments, a lot of effort has been put into the common areas. The spaces are centrally located in the buildings and the interior design appealing even though they are created with very different budgets. The pictures show a few examples from a few student apartments in Malmö, Copenhagen and London as well as from a “cotel” (which is a hybrid between a hotel and an apartment) in New York. In some cases it is not only laundry-rooms and kitchens in the common areas but also study seats, meeting rooms and lounges where you can hang out. A few of the short-term apartment buildings also have gyms, cafés and restaurants within the building (17 John Cotel, Scape and Malmö Studenthus) in order to create a high service level for the tenants and provide additional places where people can meet. The common areas outdoors are also getting increasingly important which is nicely illustrated in the picture from the courtyard at Tietgenkollegiet in Copenhagen.

Mosvangen Student Apartments Type: Student housing Location: Stavanger, Norway No. of apartments: 19 Size of apartments: 22-60 sqm Building year: 1930 Reconstruction year: 2003 Architects: Helen & Hard Mosvangen, foto montage of exterior before and after the refurbishment8

The example we chose to study up close in the category shortterm apartments is Mosvangen Student Housing in Stavanger, Norway. The house was built in 1930 and had been extended and refurbished many times over the years. There were discussion regarding whether to demolish it and build a new house, but the fact that a refurbishment would be cheaper and that this was also the recommendation of the architects led to the decision of refurbishment.2 The building was an aging youth hostel when the architects Helen & Hard got the assignment to transform into student apartments. The old building was very deep which resulted in lack of daylight in the middle of the building. The architects decided to construct an inner court yard that also could function as a common space and party area. Several incisions were made, ground was dug out and extensions were made on the roof in order to get light into the building and enhance the spatial qualities. All the new parts and add-ons are clearly shown by different material than the original building or bright colours.3

Diagrams showing incisions and dig out, new common areas and roof extensions.9

The refurbishment resulted in 19 unconventional student apartments, all unique. There is one apartment that is built over three floors, some with different roof extensions and patios, one with an emerald garden, a party apartment in the basement and even an open plan apartment where the living room extends into the common entry area of the building. The majority of the apartments are suitable for two people living together, but there are a few small apartments and a few suited for a young family. Every single apartment has its own very special qualities and they either have double ceiling height or extends over more than one floor.4

Roof extensions from above10

Roof terrace12

Floor layout11

Mosvangen Student Apartments From an environmental perspective it was better to keep the existing building. Ground material, windows, door, stairs, floor boards and concrete slabs have been moved and used in other parts of the building. More insulation have been added to the floors, walls and roofs and the new windows have a low U-value.5 The reuse also means that it is financially sustainable since the construction cost as well as the operating cost is reduced. There might also be some cultural value in keeping the old building.6 But the absolute greatest value creation in this specific project concerns the social dimension. Because of the use of an existing building all the apartments became different. They also have very different spatial qualities compared to regular student apartments. They are spread over many floors or have double ceiling height or roofscapes and are flooded with daylight. The fact that the space is larger than an average apartment also makes it possible for the students to adapt it according to his or her needs and there is also room for personalization. All the common areas also add to the qualities of the life in the building. The central courtyard with communication and party space as well as the large entry hall that blends over into the living room of one of the apartments are quite unusual common spaces that adds special qualities to the interior. There are both private and communal outdoor space on different levels around the building, where the emerald garden with recycled glass might be the most spectacular. Students are different and the fact that the apartments also are different makes them cater to different needs. The new external identity of the building adds to the feeling of having a special place to live in. The only potentially negative aspect of this project is that it took a great deal of involvement from the architects for a very long period of time in order to secure the sought values in the building. In the future when our cities gets denser, we will to a larger extent need to make new use of unused buildings as well as make extensions to those. This opens up new opportunities for reaching ecological, financial and social sustainability when developing short-term apartments. The old buildings will set the guidelines and serve as inspiration for what typologies can be achieved, but if the redevelopments are made with a fresh innovative but sensitive touch like Helen and Hard did with Mosvangen, the dwellings will be able to deliver fantastic living qualities for itsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; inhabitants.

Images on this page: two different section drawings and five differents interior images at Mosvangen student housing 13





Boverket, Utforma för gemenskap - goda exempel för studentboende, Boverket, 2012, p. 11-25.


Common area outside the laundry room, Malmö Studenthus, http://www.beta.boplatssyd.se, (accessed 29 September 2014).


H. Sørby, Arkitektur i Norge 2004, http://www.arkitektur.no/ mosvangen-studenthjem?tid=158202, 2005, (accessed 24 September 2014).


Site plan, Malmö Studenthus showing common areas and functions, http://en.malmostudenthus.com/Nya-hyresgaster/Omhuset/Karta-over-omradet/, (accessed 29 September 2014).


S. H. Stangeland, Projects, Student dwellings on Mosvangen, http://www.helenhard.no/projects/student_dwellings_on_ mosvangen, (accessed 23 September 2014).


Typology of Tietgenkollegiet student housing in Copenhagen, http://tietgenkollegiet.dk/en/the-building/the-architecture/, (accessed 29 September 2014).


S. H. Stangeland, Projects, Student dwellings on Mosvangen, http://www.helenhard.no/projects/student_dwellings_on_ mosvangen, (accessed 23 September 2014).


Outdoor common space at Tietgenkollegiet student housing, http://tietgenkollegiet.dk/en/the-building/the-architecture/, (accessed 29 September 2014).


H. Sørby, Arkitektur i Norge 2004, http://www.arkitektur.no/ mosvangen-studenthjem?tid=158202, 2005, (accessed 24 September 2014).


Common kitchen at Tietgenkollegiet student housing, http:// tietgenkollegiet.dk/en/the-building/kitchens-and-commonrooms/, (accessed 29 September 2014).


J. Song and W. Zhang, Beyond Green - 5 Case Studies of Sustainable Renovation Projects in Europe, Master Thesis, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, 2011, p. 174-202


Common space at 17 John Cotel, http://en.prodigynetwork. com/uncategorized/pdl-prodigy-design-labs-winnersannounced/, (accessed 29 September 2014).


Café at Scape student housing, London, http://www.dezeen. com/2013/01/14/scape-student-housing-by-ab-rogers-design/ (accessed 23 September 2014).


Mosvangen, foto montage of exterior before and after the refurbishment, http://www.helenhard.no/projects/student_ dwellings_on_mosvangen, (accessed 24 September 2014).


Diagrams showing incisions and dig out, new common areas and roof extensions, http://www.arkitektur.no/mosvangenstudenthjem?tid=158202, 2005, (accessed 24 September 2014).


Roof extensions, http://www.helenhard.no/projects/student_ dwellings_on_mosvangen, (accessed 24 September 2014).


Floor layout, http://publications.lib.chalmers.se/records/ fulltext/155807.pdf, (accessed 24 Sept 2014).


Roof terrace, http://www.helenhard.no/projects/ student_dwellings_on_mosvangen, (accessed 24 Sept 2014).


Sections and interior images, http://www.helenhard.noprojects/ student_dwellings_on_mosvangen, (accessed 24 Sept 2014).

33 Modern hotels When discussing Short-Term housing hotels is a given, this form of housing is one of the most widespread businesses there is. If one were to define what a hotel is it would sound something like this, “A commercial establishment providing lodging, meals and other guest services”1. These mostly being on a short term basis. A hotel is an facility where one stays for limited periods of time, when being out of town on for example vacation or business trips. Few cities anywhere in the world lack at least one building hosting this lucrative function. Atop this, the variety in hotels is astonishing! From widespread, standardised commons to small customized rarities. There is something to suit all needs and tastes. But in order to be able to discuss the great variety and diversity of the hotel world from a spatial perspective, and look at the architectural qualities, there is need of some restrictions. In doing this we have chosen to focus on the spatial housing dynamics of the luxurious Japanese Ryokans and how this varies from the traditional Western style hotel. Through this we hope to get a deeper understanding of how the existing spaces function within these establishments, where visitors might reside.


2.045 HOTELS IN SWEDEN 2013 29.432.574






8.518 HOTELS 61.583 RYOKANS




178,76 MILLION


Infograph showing statistics about the hotel industry1

Firstly, in order to be able to address and discuss this, there is need to understand some about what exactly a traditional Ryokan is. The worlds first hotel was in fact an Japanese Ryokan. The Houshi Ryokan in Ishikawa Japan, is the oldest documented hotel in the world, dating back over 1300 years2. We will start in the field of traditional Japanese Architecture, describing how an classic Japanese residence, also known as a “Minka”3might function. In the book “Japanska Rum”, Kristina Fridh takes it upon herself to try and define the Japanese concept of spatiality. In the first chapter or her work there is a quote from a Professor Fred Thompson of University of Waterloo that reads; “... the West speaks of ‘space’; the East speaks of ‘spacing’”4. Another person whom have worked towards defining the differences in perception of space and architecture between the two cultures is Kazuo Shinohara. He argues that whilst the western world looks upon space as something constant and defined based on the scientific facts and measurements. The Japanese way of perceiving space is more with a focus on the unification of space and emptiness in time. How space and emptiness are intertwined in a continuous interaction, unified and each dependent on the other5.

Hekkeitei Ryokan1 View from the inside of a Ryokan3


Staff greeting guests visiting at Kagaya Ryokan in Noto

An assistant in the traditional waiting pose2 at Gora Kadan Ryokan, Hakone

When entering into a traditional Japanese Minka, the room structure is completely different from that of which we (westerners) are used to. As can be seen in “Housing: A Design Manual”6, there within is presented an example from Kiyoyuki Nishiharas book “Japanese Houses: Patterns for Living”7. Whilst in the west way of thinking, each room has their own defining name and function; bathroom, bedroom, kitchen etc. The Japanese rooms are divided into a completely different structure. An example is the equivalent of our living room, the zashiki (Main room). This room can in the traditional Japanese Minka be used for a great number of things. From watching Television with the family, to eating dinner, to sleeping. A good way of describing the difference in spatial room structure can be seen in the following diagram on the right. Translation to what some of the room names means: Zashiki -- Main Room Tsugi-no-ma -- Room next to Main Room Nakano-no-ma -- Middle Room Cha-no-ma -- Tea Room

Graph showing where traditional activities takes place in the house5 8

Daidokoro -- Kitchen Yudono -- Washroom Otearai -- Bathroom

This difference defines how the very thinking and working with space differ between the cultures. Fasade of an traditional Japanese Minka6

Traditional tea arrangement at Gora Kadan Ryokan, Hakone7

In a Japanese Minka the difference between whats a door and wall is blurred



Normative example of an Hotel Plan8 9

Example of hotel room plan



EATING AREA Situational Plan of The Okami Ryokan10

During the day the room is scarcely funished. When staying at a Ryokan time is generally spent in the special baths known as Onsen, out working or touristing in the city. When spending time in the

room it is mostly spent

sitting on the tatami mats on the floor or lying down.

Special slippers are used for different activites such as the bathroom or when walking outside.

When residents wish to sleep an assistant brings forth a futon and bedsheets with whom makes the beds.

Compared to Western style hotel suites

all activities are done by changing the room and how it is used.


Japanese Ryokans are best compared to Western style hotels and spas due to their general high standard and emphasis on their guests wellbeing and their health.

When guest residents wish to eat their meals an room assistant produces the table along with seating When eating in your room food is prepared and presented by the assistant inhered to the servce.















The assistant enters and leaves the room through a separate entrance so they are able to slip in and out without disturbing the guests and also give the impression to appear and disappear in an theatrical manner.


The spatial qualities concerning hotels are interesting, especially when looking at the differences in spatial qualities between our examples. The regular Western Style hotel and the Japanese Ryokan.

The structure of Hotels in general is very specific. Heavily designed common areas and eye catching, meticulously planned facades pulling at your attention. Almost like flowers trying to get the attention of bees and butterflies looking for somewhere to land. But as you get past these “petals” and enter further into the buildings you are met with the stem of the building, and there is only structural monotony. Long corridors, all rooms look the same, have the same furniture and are extremely standardized. Depending on the standard of the hotel the rooms may of course still hold a high visual and architectural quality, but odds are that the room next to it and the room next to that one look exactly like this one. Modern Hotels are divided, just like the rooms, into clear functions.

The spaces used in an hotel is design to provide an level of temporary luxury when travelling. A high emphasis is put in the caretaking of the inhabited space. Here the two styles of hotels are similar, but not alike. The Ryokan delivers a higher level of caretaking in the form of an Assistant or Servant. Whom physically sets the room for you before every activity you might do inside the room, and even stays in it with you. Serving food and during tea ceremonies. While both styles provides the making of beds and cleaning of rooms, the Ryokan takes this a step longer as well, in the assistant physically taking the beds out and preparing them while the guest is out eating dinner or entertaining themselves.

And maybe this is a winning concept?

Through this the spatial aspects become interesting. The difference in the using of space can be referred back to what is spoken of in the earlier texts, that the western and Japanese ways of looking at living space differ in such a great way. The identifying of space is very different. While you can almost always see what door leads to the bathroom, the balcony or the closet, this is not the case in the Ryokan. Since they use traditional Shoji as doors to most rooms. Shoji doors look just like the walls in the traditional Minka houses, and function to enhance the feeling of flow and connectedness in the occupied space. The visual aspects in this is also something to consider when looking at the differences. The western style hotel room is designed to be luxurious but the emphasis on in the room is most often for it to only be a comfortable space to spend time in while resting from doing activities outside of the room. The Ryokan room is designed to be pleasant to spend time in and to dwell in. The use of windows and what they show for example. While hotels in general has windows to provide natural light and maybe a view out in the city. The Ryokan tries to always have good, soothing sights when viewing out from the window. Rather than a view out on a street, the view will be of a garden or green space, intricately planned to provide a sense of peace and calm. Looking at this fact, one could consider if the need for a pleasant visual connection between outside and inside is something not considered very important in western temporary housing. Also the fact that both western hotel and Japanese Ryokan rooms generally consists of only one room.

When only staying at place for a short time, the surroundings doesn’t matter as much. Especially in this digitalised age, when uploading a picture to instagram it doesn’t matter how the neighbouring rooms look, a picture can’t show what’s behind a wall. It can however show how classy and elegantly designed the hotel lobby is, or how much work the architect put on the facades. 1

Sheraton Huzhou in China11 13

Holiday Inn Thames Ditton in London

Darling Hotel in Australia12




WebFinance Inc, September 29, 2014 http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/hotel.html (29/09/2014).



Z. Jr, ‘Guiness World Record of the Oldest Hotel, the Hoshi Ryokan Hotel’, March 7, 2011 http://www.viahouse.com/2011/03/guinness-world-records-ofthe-oldest-hotel-the-hoshi-ryokan-hotel/ (29/09/2014).


K. Fridh, Japanska Rum, Göteborg , Chalmers Tekniska Högskola, 2001. 3

K. Fridh, Japanska Rum, Göteborg , Chalmers Tekniska Högskola, 2001, p 27. 4

K. Bjorner, D. Bjorner, The Hakkeitei Ryokan, Hikone, (Online Image), http://www.jaist.ac.jp/~bjorner/ diary/h-out/, (29/09/2014). Å. Lindman, Gora Kadan Ryokan, Kanagawa, Japan (Online Image), http://www.lindmanphotography.com/wplindman/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/kadandip11200x818.jpg, (30/09/2014).


M. Doe, Nara, Japan, Febuary, 2013, http://www.martatravelblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/IMG_2167.jpg, (29/09/2014).


Jetsettimes.com ,Kagaya Ryokan, Noto, Japan, September, 2012, http://jetsettimes.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/kagaya3.jpeg, (29/09/2014)



B. Leupen, H. Mooji, ‘Housing: A Design Manual’, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 2011, p. 67.


K. Shinohara, ‘The Japanese Conecption of Space’, The Japan Architect, Vol 57, 1964.

N. F. Carver, Daigo-Sanbo-In, Kyoto, Japan, 1955, ‘Form and space of Japanese Architecture’, p. 101, obj. 81.

B. Leupen, H. Mooji, ‘Housing: A Design Manual’, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 2011, p. 67.



K. Nishihara, ‘Japanese Houses: Patterns for Living’, Tokyo, Japan Publications, 1697. 7

‘Marser’, Tamamo Park, Kagawa, Japan, http://www.pinterest.com/pin/72339137737830456/ (1/10/2014)



Å. Lindman, Gora Kadan Ryokan, Kanagawa, Japan (Online Image), http://www.lindmanphotography.com/wplindman/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/kadandip11200x818.jpg, (30/09/2014). Plan of Hotel Lobby floor, Garden Place Suites Hotel Project, R. Barnes, Raymond E. Barnes Design Architecture LLC, University of Arizona Degree example project, http://architecture.arizona.edu/sites/default/files/photo_album/GPS%20Hotel%20Presentation%20 Plan%20PNG2FW.png (29/09/2014).


Plan of Hotel room, Pull man Sanya Hotel, Hainan, China, http://cdn.archinect.net/images/1200x/os/osi4xr12hm2wmpar.jpg, (1/10/2014).


Situational Plan of The Okami Ryokan, Izu, Japan, http://www.the-okami.jp/images/img_center/img_arairyokan/img_carai_flplan01.jpg, (1/10/2014). 10

INFOGRAPHICS REFERENCE LIST Info taken from ‘Statistiska centralbyrån’, (28/09/2014) http://www.statista.com/topics/1102/hotels/, (29/09/2014) http://www.mlit.go.jp/kankocho/en/siryou/whitepaper.html (29/09/2014)


Axonometries made from Plan taken from Yuyarurusaisai Ryokan. http://www.yuyarurusaisai.jp/room/room3.html (28/09/2014)


Sheraton Huzhou, Nanjing, China, July 18, 2013, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/18/ horseshoe-hotel-china_n_3617478.html, (02/10/2014).


Darling Hotel, Sydney, Australia, February 16, 2014, http://www.foodtravelandbeyond.com/2013/04/ darling-hotel-in-australia.html 12

P. Goff, Holiday Inn Thames Ditton, Kingston, London, England, April 2009, http://www.hoteldesigns.net/review/image_19800.html 13

M. Budhani, Mumbai Hotel, Mumbai, India, October 2012 http://bookmumbaihotel.blogspot.se/2012/10/day-room-concept-of-cheap-day-use-hotel.html 14

34 Extreme temporary dwellings Temporary dwellings in extreme environments is the focus point in this section.  Extreme is something out of the ordinary, in this case the extreme has to do with the location and the extreme weather that needs to be adressed. It deals with something extreme rather than being extreme in it self.  The Halley Research Station, Halley VI, is chosen on the facts that it is located in an extreme environment, the Antarctic. It is completely isolated from february to november. And it’s architecture is designed with environmental psychology aspects that aims to benefit the well-being of the inhabitants.1  The architects, Hugh Broughton architecture, have been looking in to research that deals with humans in extreme environments and the psychological and physical effect that an extreme environment poses.2  Other examples of this extreme aspect of temporary dwellings could be the international space station or planned habitats on either Mars or the Moon. But this example is more suitable to the overall topic of this book because it is directly comparable to other earth dwellings due to the fact that it does not have to account for strange space and non-earth planet circumstances as variation in gravity or radiation problems etc.  Located on the Brunt Ice Shelf a location that is constantly


British Antarctic Survey


British Antarctic Survey


Hugh Broughton Architects

moving towards the sea, 400m annually and is under the threat to be buried by the snow which accumulates 1m annually.3 The need for relocation and snow countermeasures is of great importance, to not let the base suffer the same destiny as previous, to be slowly buried and later scuffed into the sea.4 These problems are solved by the skies that can be used to move the base and hydraulically jack it up as the snow level rises.  Besides the fact that this new type of architecture for antarctic research bases has environmental benefits due to it’s much increased lifespan.5 It also has numeral of architectural qualities that is proven and/or believed to be of great importance for the well-being of the researchers and other personnel that inhabits the base. 6  Much research of humans in extreme environments is collected and/or carried out by NASA. Which have extensive documents concerning how to optimize the design of spacecrafts and bases on other places than Earth. Which is a good way to turn when dealing with extreme environments, even on Earth. Other environmental psychology research that deals entirely with more “normal” conditions is also applicable but misses out on the psychological aspect of the extreme, as in direct life-threatening environment and the building as the sole protection. 4

Hugh Broughton Architects


Hugh Broughton Architects


British Antarctis Survey

The aspects of architectural quality is grounded upon these definitions of extreme and the psychological benefit. Private vs. Public Under these circumstances the concept of private and public needs to be slightly adjusted. Different activities needs to be examined to conclude what grade of privacy that is needed.




Cortisol Melatonin Night

Spaciousness As mission times increases the need for larger habitable volume increases. But the design of space also has effects on psychological perception of space as space is subjectively perceived by humans.  As viewing distance increase, the overestimation of space increases. Therefore long view axes is of desire.  Irregularly shaped rooms is perceived as more spacious than regularly shaped.  Brightness, color saturation and level of illumination affects the perceived space of a given volume.  Visually distracting object that interferes with view axes has a negative impact on perception of space.  Windows allow for crewmembers to focus on objects outside the habitat which can significantly increase the psychological well-being and the sense of spaciousness.7 Light The lighting in the environment affects the performance of humans, as seen in many experiments “Lights of different wavelengths also affect blood pressure, pulse, respiration rates, brain activity, and biorhythms.”8 Light can expedite the recovery for hospitalized, increase learning of children and increase performance in cognitive tasks.9 Color The color of light and surfaces has significant effects on performance and well-being.10 This needs to be considered in design of any space, but maybe more in extreme environment dwellings, schools and hospitals.

Graph showing how the rise and decent of Cortison and Melatonin during one day. Melatonin plays an important roll in human sleep-cycle. 11 Cortisol is a hormone connected to stress. 12

Intimate Space Personal Space Social Space (1.2 m) Public Space (3.6 m)

The influence of color on mood is something that has been researched during many years and numerous of studies and experiments has been conducted. But the link between mood and color has not been proven, at least not for longer periods of time. During shorter time periods affect on mood has been observed. One study regarding prison-cell color showed that the use of “BakerMiller pink” led to a decrease in violent and aggressive behaviour. 13

Comparison The comparison that is needed to shine light on the qualities of this project is the comparison with buildings in the same environment and built for the same purpose. Therefore, comparing it to previous british antarctic bases seems apparent. Since the first base Halley I to VI the development and mitigation of snowfall caused problems has been going two directions. One where the structure of the habitat was reinforced to survive the pressure of the snow building up. And one where the relocation and the hydraulic jacking is the solution to the problem. The Halley III was even more reinforced than Halley II and managed to stay operational for twelve years before it had to be abandoned, due to safety concerns regarding accessing the base as it was located several meters below the snow. The base was later seen reemerging from the ice shelf and fell into the water. 14 窶サhe Halley V and VI were great improvements over preceding structures. The main idea, to stay above the snow build-up has significant benefits as ventilation, light, windows, accessibility etc. And in the architecture inside the base, more concern is put in the environmental factors that improved performance and well-being of the crew. For instance the previous station lacked different sizes of rooms, was very cramped and monotonous. 窶ィut the Halley VI has many architectural qualities. Some degree of spatial complexity, good lighting, large windows, main social hub in an double height room that can be arranged to crew desire. Both private and public spaces, and places that are somewhere in between. It is easy to see that it is a big upgrade from previous bases but it is even comparable to architecture that is not dealing with extreme environments. It has good spatial qualities, lighting, connection to environment, deals with human well-being from a scientific point of view. Architecturally it is more well off than many projects, built, being built and even planned.


British Antarctis Survey

Discussion Projects in extreme environments is an interesting category of architecture which can give new ideas and different solutions to problems that otherwise is not as addressed. The aspect of human performance is thoroughly looked in to and optimized to suit within given boundaries. This type of concern for human well-being is often missed out even though there is an increase of this during recent years. Utilizing research regarding environmental-psychology and optimizing architecture with support of science is maybe something we will see more of in the future. 4

British Antarctis Survey




Brougthon, Hugh; Hugh Broughton Architects. Clear Lake. Halley Research Station, lecture 2013-10-15.





British Antarctic Survey, http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/images/ in_pictures/halley.php, 2014, (accessed 1 October 2014).



Brougthon, Hugh; Hugh Broughton Architects. http://www. hbarchitects.co.uk/, 2012, (accessed 1 October 2014).


British Antarctic Survey, http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/living_and_ working/research_stations/halley/index.php, 2014, (accessed 1 October 2014).



Broughthon, Hugh; Hugh Broughton Architects. http://www. hbarchitects.co.uk/, 2012, (accessed 1 October 2014).

Broughthon, Hugh; Hugh Broughton Architects. http://www. hbarchitects.co.uk/, 2012, (accessed 1 October 2014). British Antarctic Survey, http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/images/ in_pictures/halley.php, 2014, (accessed 1 October 2014).



NASA, Man-Systems Integrations Standards. Section 8. http:// msis.jsc.nasa.gov/Volume1.htm, 1995, (accessed 1 October 2014).


Man-System Integration Standards. Section 8. “Visual design considerations”, http://msis.jsc.nasa.gov/Volume1.htm, 1995, (accessed 1 October 2014).


Illuminating the Effects of Dynamic Lighting on Student Learning. Michael S. Mott, Daniel H. Robinson, Ashley Walden, Jodie Burnette, Angela S. Rutherford. SAGE OpenJun 2012,2(2). p. 1.



ibid. p. 2.


ibid. p. 2.

Sleepdex - resource for better sleep, http://www.sleepdex.org/ melatonin.htm, (accessed 1 October 2014). 11

Wüst S, Federenko I, Hellhammer DH, Kirschbaum C. (2000). Genetic factors, perceived chronic stress, and the free cortisol response to awakening. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 25(7):707–20. 12

Hilary Dalke, Jenny Little, Elga Niemann, Nilgun Camgoz, Guillaume Steadman, Sarah Hill, Laura Stott. (2006). Color and lighting in hospital design. Optics and Laser Technology June-Sept. 2006, vol.38, no.4-6, pp. 343-65. 13

British Antarctic Survey, http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/living_ and_working/research_stations/halley/halleyvi, 2014, (accessed 1 October 2014). 14



British Antarctic Survey, http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/images/ in_pictures/halley.php, 2014, (accessed 1 October 2014).






35 Institutions

Some of the institution that serve as short time housing at different stages and situations in life are the hospital, prison, military, home for the elderly and different types of schools and care taking for children and youth. General for institutional organisation of space for short term stay is the administration and the special relationship between caregivers and caretakers or in the case of prisons between guards and inmates. In the military rank dictates distribution of space for short term stay. These types of hierarchy are essential to the planning of space. We have chosen to present and discuss the category of institutional short term housing by describing the hospital. Everyone of us will sooner or later enter a hospital. Many things in life undoubtedly leads us there; to receive treatment, to give birth, to visit loved ones, to bid farewell to loved ones etc. Some of these very important moments in life are common to us and organized in the hospital. We also chose the hospital because it is one of the institutional places for healing; thus charged with well intentions from it’s planners and our ideas on health and well being are put into form. As opposed to prison i. e. even though similarities are obvious. Another feature that interest us is how the hospital or residential institution relates to the city and when the hospital or residential institution becomes a city in itself. As to the example to further examine we have chosen Skaparbyn, Art Center i Hedesunda witch’s raison d’être is to host camps of picture-weaving courses for children and youths. It is designed with inspiration from the romantic idea of an american indian tipi village. It’s institutional in its administration of taking care of and being responsible for the children visiting the camp and ties to the history on hospitals being an institution with intentions to promote health and healthy living but quite different in it’s way on imposing, or not imposing hierarchy. The scale is different from other large institutions and it is planned for the use of children. This lets us understand relations in hierarchy and spotlight other types of qualities of space. To your right two diagrams on distribution of space in a rational and clear way. The circular diagram is not unlike the british philosophers Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon that was studied and analysed by Michel Foucault. The one above is a simplification of a Le Corbusier plan, Hospital i Venice (never built) that examine the way of introducing small gardens as center of communication/distribution within the big hospital complex. These are schemes of the most basic organisation and administration of caring for persons situated in individual units with communications for care taking.

Diagram of distribuition. A simplification of plan of Le Corbusier’s Venice Hospital Project- (1964-1966)1

Diagram of distribuition. A simplification of plan of Bertrand Goldberg’s Prentice Hospital in Chicago 19692

Emergency and infectious diseases unit at SkĂĽne University Hospital in MalmĂś3

Art Center Skaparbyn in Hedesunda 4

Art Center Hedesunda

Hedesunda Art Center was designed by Swedish/English architect Ralph Erskine 1989. Built in 2001 this complex of wooden tentlike buildings is owned and managed by the Hedesunda Weavers Foundation. Artist Birger Forsberg here initiated egyptian technique of picture-weaving for children and youths.2 Birger Forsberg was also a friend of architect Ralph Erskine who spent ten years designing this little village free of charge. It consists of three houses for sleeping and two houses for administration; teaching, learning, eating and socializing. The houses for sleeping are just one room without any partitions. In the middle of the tent-like room there is a staircase to a loft just big enough for one bed. It’s planned for ten children to sleep in each of the sleeping houses. The main building hold an open kitchen, a big fireplace and various entre-sol floors wich creates more private places in the open space. Many staircases communicate between the different levels and visual communication lead to interesting meetings. Supposedly thirty children and ten leaders/teachers were thought to use this main space and one would think it is too small but it fills it’s purpose geniously. This is one of Ralph Erskine features, to dare to use every bit of space possible. The plan of the village is an open spiral which has a closed facade facing north with it’s steep roof and to the wet the caracol opens to the river Dalälven and the sun set in the water. Interesting to this form is the very special typology that is created for a specific situation but gives a lot of spacial qualities even to other situations. Those other situations mainly being used by adults rather than children. Adults that are not related are in the swedish context seldomly asked to sleep together, more than two persons, in the same room. This is normal, and the only way to stay, at Skaparbyn in Hedesunda. The social space is open but differentiated and functions well for different kinds of activities. It becomes clear in this complex that architecture more than anything is the creator of atmosphere and narrative. The founder of the weaving camps first started these activies as temporary camps, platforms on the ground and sheets on poles for shade. On the contrary of big institutional building complexes based one individual short term dwelling with communication feeding for caretakers and administration (a city in the city) this complex does really make social encounters even closer than the neighbor in a village. It is the camp of the Nomads, the extended family were you wake up and go into the community just to reach the bathroom. The center of the open spiral is filled with cobblestone. Skaparbyn is situated in the outskirts of the small town Hedesunda in the comune of Gävle in Dalarna, Sweden. Architecture means much more than simply the design of architectonic forms. Architecture can shape the sensory organization of functional usage and the design of social spaces; it is thus able to direct perception and guide encounters.1

Plan of Skaparbyn Art Center - Hedesunda, built 20015

Section of Skaparbyn Art Center - Hedesunda, built 20016

Elevation of Skaparbyn Art Center - Hedesunda, built 20017

Exterior Skaparbyn Hedesunda8

Interior Skaparbyn Hedesunda10

Exterior Skaparbyn Hedesunda9

Exterior Skaparbyn Hedesunda11





Christine Nickl-Weller and Hans Nickl Healing, Architecture, Salenstein, Braun, 2013, p. 20

System for an open thoroughfare Christine Nickl-Weller and Hans Nickl Healing, Architecture, Salenstein, Braun, 2013, p. 25

Peter Davey,The architecture of Ralph Erskine [essay: Peter Davey, Olof Hultin ; photo: Åke E:son Lindman] , Stockholm, Arkitektur, Arkitekturmuséet, 2008, p 52




System for a closed thoroughfare Christine Nickl-Weller and Hans Nickl Healing, Architecture, Salenstein, Braun, 2013, p. 24 Emergency and infectuos diseases unit at Skåne University Hospital in Malmö built 2006-2010. C. F Architecs in collaboration with SAMARK architecs. Picture taken 2014-09-28 from website: skyskrapercity.com


Plan of Art Center Hedesunda - Skaparbyn, built 2001 Davey Peter,The architecture of Ralph Erskine [essay: Peter Davey, Olof Hultin ; photo: Åke E:son Lindman] , Stockholm, Arkitektur, Arkitekturmuséet, 2008, p 52


Section of Art Center Hedesunda - Skaparbyn, built 2001 Davey Peter,The architecture of Ralph Erskine [essay: Peter Davey, Olof Hultin ; photo: Åke E:son Lindman] , Stockholm, Arkitektur, Arkitekturmuséet, 2008, p 52


Elevation of Art Center Hedesunda - Skaparbyn, built 2001 Davey Peter,The architecture of Ralph Erskine [essay: Peter Davey, Olof Hultin ; photo: Åke E:son Lindman] , Stockholm, Arkitektur, Arkitekturmuséet, 2008, p 52


Exterior Art Center Hedesunda - Skaparbyn, built 2001, architect Ralph Erskine. Photograf by Berit Sahlström


Exterior Art Center Hedesunda - Skaparbyn, built 2001, architect Ralph Erskine. Photograf by Berit Sahlström


Exterior Art Center Hedesunda - Skaparbyn, built 2001, architect Ralph Erskine. Picture taken 2014-0929 from website: flickr.com. Photograf by Peter Ghutrie


Interior Art Center Hedesunda - Skaparbyn, nuilt 2001, architect Raplh Erskine. Photograf by Berit Sahlström 10

Exterior Art Center Hedesunda - Skaparbyn, built 2001, architect Ralph Erskine. Picture taken 2014-0929 from website: bergslagen-enresa.se 11

Davey Peter,The architecture of Ralph Erskine [essay: Peter Davey, Olof Hultin ; photo: Åke E:son Lindman] , Stockholm, Arkitektur, Arkitekturmuséet, 2008, p 52 2


Secretary Of The Air Force Washington, D, Refugee Camp Planning And Construction Handbook, 10222, Volume 22, 15 June 2000, p. 12. Shinohara, K., ‘The Japanese Conecption of Space’, The Japan Architect, Vol 57, 1964. Shigeru, B., in Tedx Tokyo, Emergency shelters made from paper [online video], https://www.ted.com/ talks/shigeru_ban_emergency_shelters_made_from_paper, 2013, (accessed October 03, 2014). Shigeru, B., Paper Log House, 2014, Cebu, Philippines, http://www.shigerubanarchitects.com/ works/2014_PaperEmergencyShelter-Philippines/index.html, 2014, (accessed September 18, 2014). Sleepdex - resource for better sleep, http://www.sleepdex.org/melatonin.htm, (accessed 1 October 2014). Stangeland, S. H., Projects, Student dwellings on Mosvangen, http://www.helenhard.no/projects/ student_dwellings_on_mosvangen, (accessed 23 September 2010). Song, J., Zhang, W., Beyond Green - 5 Case Studies of Sustainable Renovation Projects in Europe, Master Thesis, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, 2011, p. 174-202. Sørby, H., Arkitektur i Norge 2004, http://www.arkitektur.no/mosvangen-studenthjem?tid=158202, 2005, (accessed 24 September 2014). The Hyatt Foundation, Biography of Shigeru Ban, http://www.pritzkerprize.com/2014/biography, 2014, (accessed October 03, 2014). United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Handbook for Emergencies, Geneva, Third Edition, February, 2007, p. 213. WebFinance Inc, September 29, 2014 http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/hotel.html (29/09/2014). Wüst S, Federenko I, Hellhammer DH, Kirschbaum C. (2000). Genetic factors, perceived chronic stress, and the free cortisol response to awakening. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 25(7):707–20. ‘Marser’, Tamamo Park, Kagawa, Japan, http://www.pinterest.com/pin/72339137737830456/ (1/10/2014)

Boverket, Utforma för gemenskap - goda exempel för studentboende, Boverket, 2012, p. 11-25. British Antarctic Survey, http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/living_and_working/research_stations/halley/ index.php, 2014, (accessed 1 October 2014). Broughthon, H., Hugh Broughton Architects, http://www.hbarchitects.co.uk/, 2012, (accessed 1 October 2014). Broughthon, H., Hugh Broughton Architects, Clear Lake, Halley Research Station, lecture 2013-10-15. Dalke, H., Little, J., Niemann, E., Camgoz, N., Steadman, G., Hill, S., Stott, L., (2006). Color and lighting in hospital design. Optics and Laser Technology June-Sept. 2006, vol.38, no.4-6, pp. 343-65. Davey P., The architecture of Ralph Erskine [essay: Peter Davey, Olof Hultin ; photo: Åke E:son Lindman] , Stockholm, Arkitektur, Arkitekturmuséet, 2008. Fridh, K. , Japanska Rum, Göteborg , Chalmers Tekniska Högskola, 2001. http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/living_and_working/research_stations/halley/halleyvi. Illuminating the Effects of Dynamic Lighting on Student Learning. Michael S. Mott, Daniel H. Robinson, Ashley Walden, Jodie Burnette, Angela S. Rutherford. SAGE OpenJun 2012,2(2). p. 1. Jonathan, R. ,Liz, B., Patrick, K., Dan, P., Katherine, V., Phil, K., Katherine, V., Shelter Report 2014 Supporting Incremental Building Through Housing Microfinance“, 270 Peachtree St. N.W., Suite 1300 Atlanta, GA 30303 USA 800-HABITAT 229-924-6935, 2014, p. 14 Jr, Z., ‘Guiness World Record of the Oldest Hotel, the Hoshi Ryokan Hotel’, March 7, 2011 http://www.viahouse.com/2011/03/guinness-world-records-of-the-oldest-hotel-the-hoshi-ryokanhotel/ (29/09/2014). Leupen, B., Mooji, H., ‘Housing: A Design Manual’, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 2011, p. 67. Man-System Integration Standards, Section 8. “Visual design considerations”, http://msis.jsc. nasa.gov/Volume1.htm, 1995, (accessed 1 October 2014). Mark, L., New Statesman, Critic at Large ,“How a cardboard tube inspired a cathedral, and other happy accidents in architecture“, 2014 april, p. 4-10. NASA, Man-Systems Integrations Standards, Section 8, http://msis.jsc.nasa.gov/Volume1.htm, 1995, (accessed 1 October 2014). Nishihara, K., ‘Japanese Houses: Patterns for Living’, Tokyo, Japan Publications, 1697. Pin’s Case Study: Shigeru Ban’s Paper Log House, http://indayear2studio-1314s1.blogspot.se/2013/09/ pins-case-study-shigeru-bans-paper-log.html, (accessed September 21, 2014).


Sustainable Dwellings Authors: Olaf DuĹ&#x201E;ski David Falk Camilla Henricson Linus Mannervik Anna Palmeira

Sustainable dwellings

7 000 000 000

We live in a time of extremes: extreme environmental change, extreme urbanization, extreme poverty and extreme use of natural recourses, just to mention a few. With a constantly accelerating increase in population the world faces massive challenges in fields such as the production and use of energy, depletion of resources and provision of good dwellings and a dignified existence for all. These extremes and challenges are nowadays collectively discussed under the label of sustainability. Sustainability in term is defined as a development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”1. The key elements are social, ecological and economical sustainability which are considered to be equally important for the future development.

Population Growth and Urbanization The population has been growing rapidly during the twentieth century. At the same time we have witnessed a rapid urbanization of the world’s population. In 1900 a mere 13% lived in urban areas, a number that reached 49% in 2005 and by 2030 60% of the global population is expected to live in cities. This causes a great pressure on the cities not only to provide food and resources to its inhabitants, but also regarding housing, transportation and city planning.3

When it comes to dwellings these aspects are relevant in many different ways. The production and maintenance of dwellings demand a certain input of materials and energy as well as economical resources. The process often produces waste and emissions that effect the natural environment and the climate. Ultimately, housing is something essential to every humans’ wellbeing and considered by the UN to be a human right. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.2 In housing there are many different takes on sustainability, ranging from esthetic and commercial strategies to efforts to achieve energy efficiency or affordability. Ambitious efforts to deal with all the key aspects have been made but a successful applicable solution is yet to be achieved on any larger scale. United Nations, ‘Our Common Future’, Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987.

2  United Nations, ‘The Universal Declaration of Human Rights’, http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/, [no date], (accessed 2014-09-30).

Crowded street in Hong Kong.4


3 000 000 000

Rural population Urban population 5 000 000 000 2 000 000 000

0 2030


Change of population in urban and rural areas.5

1 000 000 000

United Nations, ‘World Urbanization Prospects: the 2005 Revision’,

http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/WUP2005/2005wup.htm, 2005, (accessed 24 September 2014). 4  Hamedog, Crowd in Hong Kong, 2005 [online photograph], http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowd#mediaviewer/File:Crowd_in_ HK.JPG, (accessed 2 October 2014). 5 


5 000 000 000

4 000 000 000

3  1 

6 000 000 000

United Nations, ‘World Urbanization Prospects: the 2005 Revision’, op. cit.



2000 Increasing world population.5

Use and Distribution of Resources


The global hectare (gha) is a hectare with world-average ability to produce resources and absorb wastes. In 2010 the Earth’s total biocapacity was estimated to 12 billion gha, or 1.7 gha per capita.6 As suggested in the Living Planet Report 2010, for over 40 years humans have been using more ecological goods and services than the planet can replenish. In 2010 human demand for biologically productive land and sea reached the level of 2.6 gha per person, which means that more than one and a half planet would be necessary for a steady replenishment of the resources that are currently being used.6 To keep our use of resources within the earth’s capacity, we must live of the average 1,7 ha each of us has.

Urban and rural areas are mutually dependent on each other. The massive flow of goods and people into, out from and whitin the growing urban areas demand efficient means of transportation that support the life in the cities rather than making it unbearable and unhealty. Traffic has a great impact on the environment and it is evident that how and to what extend we move around affect for instance the emission of CO2 gasses.

Most of the countries with high Human Development Index (by 2014 census)7 can also be found at the top of the Ecological Footprint List8. These highly developed countries (Sweden among them), are the ones which may have both responsibility and the potential to decrease the ecological impact of their built environment. Traffic jam in Delhi. Photo: Lingaraj G J. CC BY 2.0

Material Cycles

7  United Nations Development Programme: Human Development Reports. Data: Download 2014 Human Development Statistical Tables, Table 1: Human Development Index and its components, http://hdr.undp.org/en/data, (Accessed 2014-09-29). 8 


USA cities


Australian/NZ cities

Western European cities

High Income Asian cities

Eastern European cities

Middle Eastern cities

Latin American cities

African cities

Low Income Asian cities

Private transport Public transport

Canadian cities

6  Richard McLellan, Iyengar, Leena, Jeffries, Barney and Oerlemans, Natasja (eds.). Livging Planet Report 2014. Species and spaces, people and places. Gland: WWF International, 2014, p. 33.


Chinese cities

The current production method is based on a non-restorative cycle in which the used products are often not reused or recycled. These processes generate lots of residual materials that could actually be reused if the technical and biological cycles (exemplified in the picture) were implemented in the entire production process. The cycles show how it can work with two different types of materials. The main idea in the technical cycle is that the materials could be used in continuous cycles as the same product without losing their integrity or quality, over and over again, ultimately becoming waste. For the biological cycle, the materials are supposed to come back to the natural environment and decompose into the soil, completing the cycle.9



Passenger transport CO2 emission (kg/person/year) as of 199510.

Richard McLellan, et. al., p36, op. cit.

9  William McDonough and Michael Braungart, ‘Toward a Sustaining Architecture for the 21st Century: The Promise of Cradle-toCradle Design’, http://www.mcdonough.com/speaking-writing/toward-a-sustaining-architecture-for-the-21st-centurythe-promise-ofcradle-to-cradle-design/, 2003, (accessed 30 September 2014).

10  J.R. Kenworthy, ‘Transport Energy Use and Greenhouse Gases in Urban Passenger Transport Systems: A Study of 84 Global Cities’, Murdoch University, Murdoch, (2003).

Passenger transport CO2 emission (kg/person/year)


Example 2: Self-sufficiency of a cooperative - Hockerton Perhaps it can work for a community of several households to be self-sufficient at least to a certain degree. With partial specialisation of tasks within the group, an individual can still have time for a career in a broader modern society.

Self-sufficient housing A private autonomous structure is not always friendly to the environment. The goal of independence is often associated with, but is not identical to other goals of environmental responsibility. It is very difficult for a single household to achieve a complete independence from the society and, at the same time, to have the same technical means that can be at the societyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s disposal. The inhabitants of such a household aiming at absolute self-sufficiency can hardly be able to sustain lifestyles typical for the modern highly developed countries. It is because the steady technical advancements rely on distribution of tasks within a society and on specialisation, which in turn limits the individual independence.

The Hockerton Housing Project, Nottinghamshire , UK comprises 5 households. The development aims to be self-sufficient in food and energy production.2 However, the housing project in Hockerton relies much on its rural location, and the bonds within the small community. It is difficult to determine if its solutions can be transfered to a highly urbanised location.

Fig. 2

Producing and processing food and water, as well as operating the technical tools, all take much time in a household with only several inhabitants. When it comes to producing renewable energy, passive solar techniques, water treatment installations, alternative toilet and sewage systems, concious thermal massing, basement battery systems or extra-efficient insulation and windowing are still nonstandard construction systems. They add expense and maintenance, and could easily reduce an occupant of a single dwelling to solely a keeper in his own house.

If the developed countries are to adjust their consumption to the actual capacity of Earth3, they must find some alternatives to the inefficiencies of collecting and transporting resources from remote locations. Next to supply chains, we must look at our energy sources. Centralised urban systems made millions of people dependent on large-scale power plants. It is now beyond the scope of our involvement and expertise to tackle the problems of the sustainable energy production in private. With the proceeding decentralisation we must learn what part of energy can be produced localy. Full autonomy for each dwelling in a dense city does not seem probable but some degree of urban self-sufficiency should be sought for.

Example 1: Absolute autonomy - Biosphere 2

Example 3: Self-sufficiency in urban scale - BedZED

Biosphere 2 is a research facility built between 1987 and 1991 in Oracle, Arizona, US. Constructed to be an artificial selfsustainable ecological system, it became the living space for a group of 8 on a mission between 1991 and 1993. The crew members grew their own crops and ther sole occupation was to manage the network of miniature ecosystems housed within the facility, including plant and animal species. The total control of all the factors like oxygen levels proved difficult.1 Being a curious experiment, the site bares the intransferable difficulties of not only consuming, but also controling an environment.

BedZED: Beddington Zero Energy Development, stands as an example of a mixed-use community which introduces sustainable dwellings in an urban scale. Completed in 2002 by ZEDFactory architects, the estate aimed at sustainability in many respects and was reported to be the UK´s first of a kind.4 Apart from zero carbon emission ambitions, it adopted a high degree of self-sufficiency, with lowered energy consumption, own power plant and water treatment facility - all incorporated into estate´s structure and the the surrounding cityscape. As a pioneering project for a city, BedZED experienced some technical difficulties but set a new course.

Fig. 1

Fig. 3


Density To make it possible for the environmental approach to be incorporated into the cityscape, it is necessary to find a way of implementation which will not work against the crucial features of big cities – density being one of the foremost. The designers have to embrace the environmental issues, the cities must get more complex, and these two tendencies cannot run in contradiction. Surprisingly, for the BedZED the principles of low CO₂ emission and self-sufficiency worked in favour of a higher density in the development. The initial planning permission for this site envisioned 250 habitable rooms (85 habitable rooms / acre). In the design this number was increased to 271 habitable rooms and additional 2500m² of spaces for offices and community facilities.5









The different kinds of spaces are complementary In terms of energy management as they are occupied in different times of day. Being naturally heated, the spaces for activities can take northern side, leaving the southern exposition for houses accumulating sunset gains. It is therefore a reasonable guideline for municipalities to allow the developers to build more densely, under the condition that they will commit some of their profit to energy efficient design and environmentally friendly innovations.6








1. Bio Spherics, BIOSPHERE 2: Experiment, http://www.biospherics.org/biosphere2/experiment/ (Accessed 2014-09-19)


2. Hockerton Housing Project: About us, http://www.hockertonhousingproject.org.uk/about-us/ (Accessed 2014-09-21)

GSEducationalVersion 3. McLellan, Richard, Iyengar, Leena, Jeffries, Barney and Oerlemans, Natasja (eds.). Livging Planet Report 2014. Species and spaces, people and places. Gland: WWF International, 2014, 34


4. BioRegional, BedZED Brochure 2010, Wallington: BioRegional Development Group, BedZED Centre, 2010, 1 SUFFICIENCY

5. Lazarus, Nicole. BedZED: Toolkit Part II. A practical guide to producing affordable carbon neutral developments. Wallington: BioRegional Development Group, BedZED Centre, 2003, 8 6. Ibid, 8 7. Ibid, 10

Fig. 1. UA Science: Biosphere 2, http://b2science.org/who/history, (Accessed 2014-09-19)


Fig. 2. Hockerton Housing Project: About us, http://www.hockertonhousingproject.org.uk/about-us/ (Accessed 2014-09-21) Fig. 3.BioRegional, BedZED Brochure 2010, Wallington: BioRegional Development Group, BedZED Centre, 2010, 1



The first step towards the energetic efficiency in heating is to make the building maximally airtight and well insulated. Triple- or quadruple-glazed and thickly insulated, the houses in BedZED are reported to have only minor heat losses that can be compensated with the heat produced from every-day activities and cooking. With the interiors which are very efficient in keeping comfortable temperatures, the need for central heating systems Is reported to be eliminated.7 Of course, this increases highly the self-sufficiency of a building, especially in temperate climates, where many dwellings rely on expanded centralized systems to keep warm.

Self-sufficiency in construction As it is pointed in the BedZED report, the annual use of construction materials in the UK is equal to 7 tonnes per person. This is compared with the total annual consumption by weight, which is 11.3 tonnes per person. The conclusion is driven, that while construction accounts for over half of the resource use by weight, the wise use of materials can be substantial to reducing the environmental impact. (REF) The less materials are used per person, the more possible it becomes to build self-sufficiently within a stated area. The types of materials envisioned in the design and specifications given for the construction are also of great importance to the sustainability and self-sufficiency levels. The BedZED construction aimed at sourcing materials from the area within a 35 mile radius from the site. It required active approach on the site of contractor, but also calls for development of local industries, if the performance of the building is not to be compromised - e.g. windows in BedZED had to be shipped from Denmark.1

Fig. 1

Water harvesting In BedZED development the rainwater is harvested and stored in storage tanks located along the foundations. The water is then pumped into the flats and used for toilet flushing and garden watering. The rainfall is collected from rooflight and actual roof but not from the sky gardens to avoid contamination from pets. With the average annual rainfall for the site at 770mm, the 472 m² of roof are said to collect 363 m³ of water/year. However, because the semi-succulent plants are grown on the roofs in BedZED, which absorb some of the water, the final rainwater yield is 174 m³/year. This replaces an equal volume of mains water used.4

Fig. 2

Fig. 3

Fig. 3

Fig. 4

Water treatment The BedZED planned for its own water treatment system. In principle it means water is being treated in an on-site Green Water Treatment Plant which comprises two underground in-line septic tanks and a greenhouse structure that houses tanks for biological treatment. After being cleared with the use of plants on floating rafts, the water is disinfected by UV rays. The treated water is directed to the storage tanks to supplement the rainwater, and then is used again for gardening and toilet flushing. The surplus water from the Treatment Plant is discharged to an artificial pond on the boundary of the development. All odours are to be eliminated within the plant, and as the process is silent, the system has no impact on the neighbouring dwellings.2 In reality the costs of operating and maintaining the GWTP did not allow for it to be further used as it was – on commercial basis. The plant needs more energy than conventional sewage treatment as its limited size does not allow for the economies of scale. The plant was substituted by another system on terms of a research project – a membrane bioreactor, which is meant to recycle waste water for non-potable domestic use.3 However, the systems are only being tried and it is not currently certain how the on-site water treatment can be made sustainable, both in environmental and financial terms.

Fig. 5

Fig. 6 Fig. 7

Renewable energy Through a combination of design approach and strategies for saving, the BedZED is said to have achieved lowered demands for energy; compared to the UK national average it uses: for space heating – 12%, for hot water 43%, for electricity – 75% of the energy. The plan for the development assumed it is realistic to meet these energy levels with the use of an on-site Combined Heat and Power plant. The chosen system would use biomass as the scheme had access to cheap tree waste. The woodchips would be burnt to form a gas for the combustion engine and the process would produce hot water for the estate and electricity.

The CHP plant for woodchips was a prototype solution and designed to be automated. In reality it never reached the planned outputs of electricity and heat, and it also required full-time manning. The equipment did not prove reliable enough to work continuously and required frequent modifications. With operating costs growing the pioneer biomass gasifying plant was decommissioned, leaving open the question of replacement with a more tested system.

Fig. 11

Fig. 10 1. Lazarus, Nicole. BedZED: Toolkit Part I. A guide to construction materials for carbon neutral developments. Wallington: BioRegional Development Group, BedZED Centre, 2002, 17 2. Hodge, Jessica and Haltrecht, Julia. BedZED seven years on. The impact of the UK’s best known eco-village and its residents. Wallington: BioRegional Development Group, BedZED Centre, 2009,25 3. Ibid, 37 4. Lazarus, Nicole. BedZED: Toolkit Part II. A practical guide to producing affordable carbon neutral developments. Wallington: BioRegional Development Group, BedZED Centre, 2003, 8 5. Lazarus, Nicole. BedZED: Toolkit Part II. A practical guide to producing affordable carbon neutral developments. Wallington: BioRegional Development Group, BedZED Centre, 2003, 8 6. Hodge, Jessica and Haltrecht, Julia. BedZED seven years on. The impact of the UK’s best known eco-village and its residents. Wallington: BioRegional Development Group, BedZED Centre, 2009, 31 7. Ibid, 32 Fig. 1. - 7. Lazarus, Nicole. BedZED: Toolkit Part II. A practical guide to producing affordable carbon neutral developments. Wallington: BioRegional Development Group, BedZED Centre, 2003 Fig. 8. - 11. BioRegional, BedZED Brochure 2010, Wallington: BioRegional Development Group, BedZED Centre, 2010, 4

37 Affordable Housing One of the cornerstones of sustainability is the social aspect. How can we sustain a good social environment and a highly liveable situation for the people of today and for generations to come? According to UN-Habitat, affordability in housing is the key factor to achieving social as well as environmental and economic sustainability1. Without affordable solutions to the many challenges that we face we cannot ever expect to see any change. For people to be able to dwell in a sustainable way they must simply afford it.

Neighbourhood quality Relationships in the comunity Transport


Housing Quality

Ultimate Needs

Quinta Monroy, incremental housing Iquique4

Intermediate Needs Fundamental Needs

Affordability Overall Social Sustainability Social Sustainability2

Affordability is pointless without acceptable housing qualities but if both can be achieved the fundamental necessities of housing have been met, according to The Social Sustainability of Medium Density Housing by Ancell and Thompson-Fawcett.To complement these requirements Ancell and Thompson-Fawcett add the existence of sufficient societal facilities and good transportation to such. They also argue that ultimately neighborhood quality and relationships in the community is what completes the picture making it socially sustainable3. Attempts to achieve good quality housing are being made all around the globe, with different results. Carabanchel, Social Housing Madrid5

1 A. Badyina and O. Golubchikov, Sustainable Housing for Sustainable Cities: A Policy Framework for Developing Countries, Nairobi, UN-habitat, 2012. 2 S. Ancell and M. Thompson-Fawcett, The Social Sustainability of Medium Density Housing: a conceptual model and Christchurch case study, Dunedin, 2008. 3



Elemental, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Quinta Monroyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, http://www.elementalchile.cl/en/proyecto/quinta-monroy-2/, (accessed 2014-10-02).

5 F. Andeyro, Carabanchel Social Housing, [online photograph], http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carabanchel_Social_ Housing_-_Alejandro_Garc%C3%ADa_Gonz%C3%A1lez_%26_Francisco_Andeyro.jpg, (accessed 2014-10-02).

La Cité Manifeste The main example that will be discussed in this case is a row of terraced houses designed by French architects Lacaton & Vassal for the experimental development La Cité Manifeste in Valhouse in France. This project is of an experimental character and tries to challenge the whole concept of how we live in order to further the qualities of affordable housing whilst keeping the cost of construction low. La Cité Manifeste, organized by local developer SAMCO, was finished in 2005 and consists of five different projects developed by equally many invited architectural teams coordinated by the host of the project Jean Nouvel1. The projects have been developed on the standard budget of French social housing mainly to challenge the standard solutions and the homogenous social housing stock. Lacaton & Vassal were the only participants who managed to stay within the budget and at the same time they produced dwellings with twice the floor area and twice the volume of standard social housing2. This can be compared to the project Némausus 1 (1987) by hosting architect Jean Novels which aimed to offer a 160m2 flat for the price of an 80m2 flat; a goal which was not achieved3.

La Cité Manifeste consists of a total of 61 dwellings in terraced houses. Out of these, fourteen are designed by Lacaton & Vassal. The houses consist of two floors constructed in two different ways. The bottom floor was built using reinforced concrete slabs, beams and pillars and the second floor is constructed as a greenhouse with transparent plastic in a galvanized steel frame. The greenhouse is divided into one insulated part and one that is uninsulated, the latter acts as a winter garden accessed through sliding glass walls from the flats. Sliding glass panels and floor-toroof windows, both transparent and semi-opaque, make out the remaining outer walls of both floors. Within these set structures the flats have been arranged so that every flat should get a part of each of the different qualities5.

Plan 1 6

Plan 2 7

La Cité Manifeste4 1 S. Gromark, Visions of Residential Futures: Spatial Advention as Creative Catalyst. The Case of Cité Manifeste in Mulhouse 2005, Renewed approaches to research and design strategies, Göteborg, 2008. 2

S. Guth, J.M. Léger,F.X. Trivière, Analyse-évaluation La Cité Manifeste à Mulhouse, 2013

3 S. Gromark, Visions of Residential Futures: Spatial Advention as Creative Catalyst. The Case of Cité Manifeste in Mulhouse 2005, Renewed approaches to research and design strategies, Göteborg, 2008. 4 Lacaton & Vassal, La Cité Manifeste, [online photograph], http://www.lacatonvassal.com/index.php?idp=19#, (accessed 201410-02).


N. Yoshida (Ed), ‘Lacaton & Vassal’, A+U, no. 3, 2012 p. 52-58. 12:03 498 - Paperback – February 27, 2012.

6 Lacaton & Vassal, La Cité Manifeste, [online photograph], http://www.lacatonvassal.com/index.php?idp=19#, (accessed 201410-02). 7


Qualities The flats come with a set of qualities that are quite rarely seen in social housing. One of the more obvious qualities is the space. Both room heights and floor areas are very generous which allows for a more flexible use of spaces. The standard size for a four-room-apartment (T4) in social housing in France is 80m2.1 In The Locaton & Vassal project the T4 flats have a floor area of 175 square meters2. Professor Sten Gromark argues that the space gives new possibilities for the inhabitants to express their identity and induce their home with more personality3. Another quality related to flexible use is the open plan with few and large rooms. These rooms in turn are not very programed allowing for creativity in the personal adaptation of the dwelling. This is also true for the winter gardens. These are also large rooms but uninsulated and sort of a trademark for Lacaton & Vassal. This room typology offers a mix between indoors and outdoors which gives the inhabitants yet another opportunity to invent their way of using the space based on their own needs and preferences. Sten Gromark notes that this quality has been a bit uncomfortable to some of the inhabitants but also that many have set out to find a use best suited for their life style. For one of the flats he describes how children have appropriated the winter gardens as a playground semi-protected from the weather4. If we look at the project at a larger scale the structure itself offers some additional merits. Due to the two different structural principles of the house you get a big variation in the lighting and the atmosphere between the lower and upper floor. Whereas the depth of the building creates a more closed off and private space in the ground floor the transparency of the greenhouse structure allows for natural lighting and gives a feeling of lightness.

Different takes on the Winter Gardens 5

1 Ministère de la Décentralication et de la Function Publiqe, ’Aide sur le nombre de pièces et la surface du logement’ http:// www.fonction-publique.gouv.fr/fonction-publique/action-sociale-23, 2008 (accessed 2014-10-02). 2

Lacaton & Vassal, La Cité Manifeste, http://www.lacatonvassal.com/index.php?idp=19#, (accessed 2014-10-02).


S. Gromark, lecture, 2014-09-30, Lund University, Lund

4 S. Gromark, Visions of Residential Futures: Spatial Advention as Creative Catalyst. The Case of Cité Manifeste in Mulhouse 2005, Renewed approaches to research and design strategies, Göteborg, 2008. 5 Lacaton & Vassal, La Cité Manifeste, [online photograph], http://www.lacatonvassal.com/index.php?idp=19#, (accessed 201410-02). 6



S. Gromark, Exterior detail of Façade, La Cité Manifeste 2006 Lacaton & Vassal’s project, 2006.

Self-built Kitchen 6

Playground in Winter Gardens 7



Despite all the qualities the project does raise some questions when looked at from a socially sustainable perspective. The Cité Manifeste is situated in an old working class residential area and albeit a welcome variation to the uniformity of housing it does nothing to help the functional monoculture of the area. Building more low income housing in a low income area must be weighed against the potential benefits. Another question that the project raises is that of its’ actual flexibility. Whereas the rooms are not that programmed and quite spacious the infrastructure of the house with only a narrow spiral staircase connecting the two floors restricts usability for elder groups or people with limited mobility. An interesting thing to look at is whether the same kind of project could be reproduced elsewhere. The typology although not universal seems to be possible to reuse in other contexts of similar climate. When discussing sustainability it seems negligent not to address the fact that larger dwellings are slightly problematic from an environmental perspective, considering the use of energy and material. At the same time what Locaton & Vassal has done is raise the question of how or rather for whom that space and those materials are being used. Their way of using the large winter gardens also suggests that there is a way of using unheated space in our dwellings that could actually reduce the need of energy. All of these qualities of space, flexibility and the possibility to express one’s identity must be considered, together with the problems, in relation to the low price. These are all assets that are scarcely found in low-income urban housing and problems that are too seldom discussed when building for the wealthy.

To conclude the Lacaton & Vassal project in La Cité Manifeste raises the very urgent issue of affordable housing as a crucial part of sustainable housing development. It also addresses the topic of standardized building strategies and questions whether such standards are as rational and economical as they are supposed to be. Without being a proper answer to the question of sustainable housing the project touches upon all of the key aspects and finds some interesting ways of commenting on them.

38 Sustainability by Proximity and Variety

Mixed-use “Centre Jeanne Hachette”, Ivry-sur-Seine, France. 7

“Living in the city offers irreplaceable advantages as soon as the variety of urban life is played out within reach right in front of one’s own door step. City cannot be replaced by suburban periphery or country retreats.”8

What does sustainability mean in a mixed, dense city? The world population is growing rapidly with the urbanization proceeding simultaneously. Consequently, the cities must adapt to a higher number of inhabitants and all the difficulties attached; larger need of dwellings, food, energy and transportation. Can proximity to everything you need decrease the amount of commute and transport? Can flats squeezed together in a dense block diminish the need of heating per dwelling, compared to single-family homes? Already 70 years ago Le Corbusier wrote in his book “La ville radieuse” how everything could be included in one building; space, view, sun, vertical gardens and immediate communication (both vertical and horizontal). He proposed a way of creating singlefamily homes in a high-density housing with streets, squares and other meeting points far from the ground level. The building should not only include housing but also a post office, a grocery store, a day-care centre and everything else one might need.1 Was this a good idea? Should we go back to trying to gather everything close to us? What if everything you ever need is within a walking distance? Could a vertical garden in a city centre fulfil man’s need of being close to nature?

Social housing “Mirador” in Madrid, Spain. 4

A square 40 meters above ground - the dense city’s meeting point?

People all over the world spend a large part of each day commuting, which is a sacrifice of both time and money. “Assuming a commuting trip of only half an hour to and from work, /…/ each individual loses two working years during an average working life of thirty years.”2 This generates a loss of money not only for the individual but also for the companies and in the end the state. Imagine if all the time spent commuting for all the people in the world could be used in a more efficient way. “It is the task of the city planner not merely to improve transportation facilities, but rather to reduce the need for them.”3

1 C. Schittich, High-Density Housing - Concepts, planning, construction, DETAIL - Review of Architecture and Birkhäauser Publishers for Architecture, München, Germany, 2004, p. 13-16 2 W. Gropius, “Houses, Walk-ups or High-rise Apartment Blocks?”, http://modernistarchitecture.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/ walter-gropius’-“houses-walk-ups-or-high-rise-apartment-blocks”-1931/, 2010, (accessed 30 September 2014) 3



MVRDV, Mirador, [online photograph], http://www.mvrdv.nl/en/projects/mirador/, (accessed 28 September 2014)


Schittich, p. 82


Schittich, p. 16

7 A+T architecture publishers, Jean Renaudie. Mixed use building Jeanne Hachette. Ivry sur Seine. Paris, 2010, [online photograph], http://aplust.net/blog/jeanrenaudie_mixed_use_building_jeanne_hachette_ivry_sur_seine_paris/, (accessed 28 September 2014) 8

Schittich, p. 13

9 P. Blanc, Rue Alsace end of Septembre 09, ensemble sous porche, 2008, [online photograph], http://www. verticalgardenpatrickblanc.com/realisations/paris/rue-dalsace-paris, (accessed 28 September 2014).

Housing block in Gifu, Japan. 5

“The current goal of creating an ecological city is surely unattainable without densification and redensification.”6

Vertical garden in rue d’Alsace, Paris, France.9

Vertical gardens - a way of bringing nature into the dense city?

An attempt to bring the city closer to the people has been made in a project in the neighbourhood Rosengård in Malmö called Bokalerna. The neighbourhood, which used to be a homogenous housing area with few activities and stores, is now transformed into a lively market place called Bennets Bazaar. The word bokal is a compound of the two Swedish words bo [to live] and lokal [business premises]. It refers to the fact that one rents both the flat and the business premises, connected both physically and in the rental contract.1 This means that one lives and works in the same place and no commute is needed – a future in dense cities?

bokal 3 bokal 4 bokal 5

bokal 6 bokal 7 bokal 8

lokal 1

lokal 2 trottoar cykelväg

kundparkering miljöhus


In the area Rosengård most of the buildings are from the 1960’s and 1970’s and designed by the architects Jaenecke & Samuelson, Richard Weichselbaume, Allbetonghus/Skånska cementgjuteriet and H Olsson. The neighbourhood is completely car free, which creates great conditions for children to play in, but complicates the ways of access.2 Rosengård has a typical structure from that time, with big bars of housing, lawns in between and all commercial features gathered in one place; Rosengård centrum. In the early 2000’s the city-planning office of Malmö and MKB, the municipally-owned company that possesses most of the buildings in Rosengård, started working together on a new pathway throughout Rosengård. The idea was to disperse the commercial features from the centre towards the West and a train stop that is planned along the existing railway. Many investigations were made and in 2009 the buildings were ready to open. In 2013 the square in front of the shops was refurbished as well.3

bokal 2


WC för kunder

del av miljöhus att nyttjas av bokaler

BENNETS VÄG Site plan of Bennets väg.6

SITUATIONSPLAN Plats för upplyst skyltning


Bennets väg before the transformation.7



M. Alevra, interviewed by Camilla Henricson, 2014, Malmö Stadsbyggnadskontor


MKB Fastighet, http://www.mkbfastighet.se/templates/AreaPage.aspx?id=2035, (accessed 14 September 2014)


M. Alevra


Google Earth


Google Maps

Bennets väg.5

6 MKB Fastighet, http://www.mkbfastighet.se/upload/Ritningar/Bokaler/Informationsblad-bokaler.pdf, (accessed 14 September 2014) 7

M. Alevra

8 C. Henricson, 23 September 2014 [photograph]

Bennets väg after the transformation.8



bokal 1


MKB Fastigheter Box 50405 202 14 Malmö

HUS 3b

tel. 040 313 300



B-HALL 7,5m 2

B-BAD 4m2

Brandcellsgräns. Dörr ska normalt Invara Sweden most flats are quite similar but not everybody wants to stängd.

The Project The project Bokalerna was designed by Jeanecke Arkitekter and V built by MKB.1 The project consists of eight flats remade into “bokaler” and the premises are filled with different business types such as fruit and vegetable store, travel agency, hairdresser, juice bar and a baklava-café. The architect has chosen a round form del med låg takhöjd for the roof, as contrast to the surrounding buildings’ quite sharp angles, which gives the building a new architectural identity. The original building is from 1969 and the original floor plan was kept, except for a few improvements to the kitchen and bathroom. During the renovation the flats on the ground floor were emptied and a door installed to the back, where the business premises were built. As a result, what used to be the building’s backside is now a well-frequented market place and pathway for bikes and pedestrians. The stores are placed in a row, with a glass façade to the new pathway and sturdy concrete pillars hold the curved concrete roof. That the store area has a glass façade and big skylights means a reduced need for artificial lighting. However, this increases the need for heating in the winter.2

live the same way and this initiative to create a new kind of living is a great idea. The flats are of different sizes, as well as the business B-SOV 14m 2 at your neighbour’s areas, and the fact that you can get a haircut L-LAGER creates a stronger feeling of belonging than traditional flats where / KONTOR you often don’t know your neighbours. To have your living space 20,5m 2 A connected to your store is very common in other countries, and used to be so in Sweden as well some time ago. The fact that this initiative started in Rosengård is not a coincidence since the area was in great need of more business premises. Small business close to where people live encourage people to walk instead of going by car to big shopping centres, otherwise typical for the 1970’s.4


In 2010 the project Bokalerna won the award “Skånes Arkitekturpris” [Architecture Prize of Skåne]. The focus of the award is “small changes that make great impressions” and “architecture expressing the possibilities of the urban space”. The motivation was that the project managed to integrate the urban GÅRD space with its inhabitants in a new and natural way.5

The premises are quite small and are therefore suited for smaller businesses. There is a space in between the living area and the store that can be used as storage or office for the business. This space was taken away from the existing flats and as a result the MKB Fastigheter 50405 flats are smaller today than before the renovation. AfterBox the 202 14 Malmö renovation the rent was raised to a level slightly higher than in tel. 040 313 300 surrounding flats, however MKB subsidize part of the rent to keep the businesses running.3 B L-WC = rum som tillhör bostad

Nyttjas gemensamt av angränsande bokaler för privat bruk.


B-VARD.RUM 18,5m 2


öppning med bröstning h=90cm

B-BAD 4m2


J 1,5m B-SOV 14m 2

L-LAGER / KONTOR 20,5m 2

del med låg takhöjd




surrounding businesses.



M. Alevra, interviewed by Camilla Henricson, 2014, Malmö Stadsbyggnadskontor. M. Sehlin.


Region Skåne.




C. Henricson, 23 September 2014 [photograph].





J 1,5m

6 MKB Fastighet, http://www.mkbfastighet.se/upload/Ritningar/Bokaler/Informationsblad-bokaler.pdf, (accessed 14 September 2014). 7


del med rumshöjd 2.3 m

L-WC 3,5m2

2 M. Sehlin, “Arbete och fritid går hand i hand”, Sydsvenskan, 4 May 2010, http://www.sydsvenskan.se/hemma/bogranskarna/ arbete-och-fritid-gar-hand-i-hand/, (accessed 28 September 2014). 4

Nyttjas gemensamt av angränsande bokaler för privat bruk.

Section through Bokal 4.6

1 Region Skåne, http://www.skane.se/sv/Stodfunktioner/Skanese_old/Press/Presskontakt/Kultur/Arkiv/Skanes-basta-arkitekturoch-design-belonas/, (accessed 16 September 2014).


A room that could be used as office or storage serves as a A Område 1,5m ut från fasad som buffer between the business får användas av verksamhet till varuexponering, cykelparkering,premises and the living area. cafébord och liknande. B-BALKONG trottoar skall hållas fri Resterande för gående. A courtyard is shared by

0 SEKTION A-A genom bokal


B-HALL 7,5m 2

Brandcellsgräns. Dörr ska normalt vara stängd.


2,3m 2,9m

B-KÖK 8m2


L-FÖRRUM 2,5m 2


The flat has a separate entrance from the back.

del med rumshöjd 2.3 m

L = rum som2tillhör lokal V = ventillationsaggregat J = aluminiumjalusi


Bokal with glass façade, concrete pillars and curved concrete roof.8

A Bostad

Skyltplats Gård

2,3m 2,9m



0 SEKTION A-A genom bokal

Område 1,5m ut från fasad som får användas av verksamhet Plan of Bokal 4.7 till varuexponering, cykelparkering, cafébord och liknande. Resterande trottoar skall hållas fri för gående.






An area of 1,5 meters can be used as serving area, exposition area, bike parking etc.

Discussion The project is considered successful by MKB, the Malmö cityplanning office and the inhabitants. Not only did it bring people to the streets and draw attention from the public, but it has also created a space for events such as markets and outdoor TVscreens during the FIFA world cup. Nevertheless, there are several aspects that can be problematic. For example, the flat and the commercial space are connected in the contract, which means one is not allowed to rent only one or the other. Consequently, if your company goes bankrupt you have to leave your home, or if your family grows and you need a bigger flat you cannot keep the space for your company. However, MKB has created a safety net for the business owners, if they go bankrupt MKB will find them a new flat within the area, a promise that is only possible to make if you own a large percentage of the surrounding buildings.1 When the stores in Bennets Bazaar opened there were some troubles with vandalism, especially youngsters kicking the stores’ shutters and destroying things, and there were even a few attempts of breaking and entering. The storeowners requested surveillance cameras and a larger promotion for the area to increase the number of customers, and through that achieve a safer environment.2 MKB and the Malmö city-planning office decided to refurbish the square in front of the stores as another way of dealing with the problems. The square is now an important meeting point in the area and since it can be seen from both the stores and the surrounding flats there is a perceived security. Young women, who used to be afraid of going there, now have the

courage to be on the square alone, even at night. The new square also created the publicity requested from the storeowners.3 Since the renovation was initiated and paid for by MKB, they had a thorough screening process when deciding on the residents of the bokaler. They wanted a great variety of businesses, with a local touch. They also helped the business owners with financial support and business plans. A great amount of money was invested in this project and it is considered a tactic urban acupuncture that will improve the living situation in the whole area of Rosengård.4 One reason for the project’s big success was probably that the structure in the area, with lots of housing and almost no stores, had created a great demand of commercial activity. Since the stores are adapted to the people living in the area, they are prosperous. Could this model be as successfully reproduced in another city or another area? In order for the concept to function well it probably needs to be an area close enough to the city centre that it has a big enough customer base, but far enough that the customers would stay there instead of going to the city centre. The variety of stores would understandably have to be adapted to the local demand. There is a next step planned in Rosengård called “Culture Casbah”, which is also financed by MKB. It is an extension of the shopping street and includes both housing and new commercial activity. Ultimately, it will connect the Rosengård centre to the new train stop and Malmö city centre through Möllevångstorget.5

Bennets väg at night.6 1

M. Alevra, interviewed by Camilla Henricson, 2014, Malmö Stadsbyggnadskontor.

2 L. Johansson, “Ungdomsgäng problem för Bennets Bazaar”, Skånska Dagbladet, 9 December 2010, http://www.skanskan.se/ article/20101209/MALMO/712099947&template=printart, (accessed 16 September 2014). 3

M. Alevra. op. cit.








Material Resources and Waste Management

Sustainability through Adaptive Reuse Reuse of existing buildings is a broad topic and its relevance as an approach to reach sustainability varies widely, depending on the nature of the case studied, what forms of sustainability that are addressed and what temporal and spatial scale that is implied. What is rejected by a developer with a short-term and economical view on sustainability could at the same time be a good case for sustainability if viewed from a wider societal long-term perspective. The following section will serve as an introduction for three different angles from which adaptive reuse could be advised for sustainability purposes.

Urban Regeneration The post-industrial development and current urbanisation brings about changed conditions in urban areas. While lack of housing is a big issue in many parts of the world other types of buildings, such as office and industrial buildings, have sometimes become redundant and abandoned as they prove unsuitable for new and changed practices. Gann and Barlow note that ”the end of the commercial office building boom in the early 1990s resulted in an enormous oversupply of office space in many cities around the world”1. Bullen and Love point out that the reuse of such obsolete buildings ”has been regarded by building owners and developers as uneconomic” and seen ”as a barrier to progress and a hindrance to the regeneration of older urban areas” but they however also note that seen from wider societal perspective ”the advantages … in terms of sustainability appear to outweigh the advantages of demolition and new development”2. Reuse of such obsolete buildings and areas for residential use can in fact be a way to strengthen urban qualities in existing city centers and contain sprawl.

1  David M. Gann and James Barlow. ‘Flexibility in building use: the technical feasibility of converting redundant offices into flats’, Construction Management and Economics, no. 14, 1996, pp. 55-66. 2  Peter A. Bullen and Peter E.D. Love, ‘Residential regeneration and adaptive reuse: learning from the experiences of Los Angeles’, Structural Survey, vol. 27, no. 5, 2009, pp. 351-360. 3  Debra F. Laefer and Jonathan P. Manke. ‘Building Reuse Assessment for Sustainable Urban Reconstruction’, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, vol. 134, no. 3, 2008, pp. 217-227.


ibid., p. 217.



6  Esther H. K. Yung, Edwin H. W. Chan and Ying Xu. ‘Community-Initiated Adaptive Reuse of Historic Buildings and Sustainable Development in the Inner City of Shanghai’, Journal of Urban Planning and Development, vol. 140, no. 3, 2014. 7 


From an ecological point of view reuse of existing buildings, if compared to demolition and rebuilding, is of great relevance when considering the management of material resources. Laefer and Manke3 describe how the massive amount of debris generated by the building industry is a growing problem in many countries and discuss the relevance of adaptive reuse to limit of landfill waste. Ireland provides an example of the importance of this issue, where over 90% of nonagricultural waste is C&D [construction and demolition] waste ... The repercussions of this scenario are an anticipated filling of all available landfills in only three more years4 The rapid technological developments and higher standard of living in the twenty-first century are surpassing the environment’s ability to replace consumed resources.5 Laefer and Manke propose a procedure for assessing possible cost benefits from reuse and conclude that the possible savings highly depend on the amount of the existing that is possible to reuse.

Social and Cultural Values As clearly stated by Yung et. al. ”adaptive reuse does not only extend the building’s life, avoid the creation of demolition waste, and reuse the embodied energy, but also offers other significant social, cultural, and economical benefits to the society”6. This is possibly most evident in the reuse of historically or culturally important buildings where the significance of the existing building is easily assessed, but is however relevant also for more common and unremarkable structures. In their study of community-initiated adaptive reuse in the inner city of Shanghai the authors defines the concept of social sustainability through seven factors: Quality of life; social inclusion and social cohesion; social network; sense of place; conserving the original way of social life; community development and satisfaction of the new use. The authors conclude that ”conservation of architectural and historical values and the promotion of economic growth”7 is not enough to achieve sustainability in adaptive reuse and argue that the perspective need to be broadened to include the physical as well as the social context. Even though reuse of buildings as such is not enough to achieve social sustainability, an adapted but retained built environment can support the existing socio-cultural context and and serve as a base for it’s continued development.

Ribbingska sjukhemmet An association for nursing of the terminally ill was founded in Lund in 1901 and started the construction of a nursing home in 1914. The original building, Ribbingska sjukhemmet, designed by architect Alfred Hellerström, could house 60-70 patients distributed over four floors. An extension to the building was made in the 1950s to accommodate some new functions, but apart from that most of the building was left more or less the same until the nursing home moved out in 20071. When the nursing home left the building the municipality housing corporation started the transformation into a modern residential building with rental flats. This transformation, in the hands of architect Wiggo Marsvik, was done with care for the original character of the building and especially the exterior, with its high quality masonry, large arched windows and french balconies, was carefully retained2. In 2009 the renovation and rebuilding was finished and the new lodgers could move in. Important to note is that the rent for these flats is quite high and that access is explicitly restricted to persons at the age of 45 (originally 55) or older with no children staying in the flat.

Facade facing west, A. Hellerström, 1913.5

Crown princess Margareta initiates the construction of the nursing home in. May 1913.4

The nursing home, mid 20th century.3

Section through north wing, A. Hellerström, 1913.6

1  Lunds bevaringsprogram, ‘Ribbingska sjukhemmet’, http://bevaringsprogram.lund.se/wiki/Bevaringsprogram/ index.php? title=Ribbingska_sjukhemmet&oldid=13994, 2013, (accessed 28 September 2014). 2  Lunds Kommuns Fastighets AB (LKF), ‘Ribbingska huset’, http://www.lkf.se/ImageVault/Images/id_3516/ ImageVaultHandler.aspx, [no date], (accessed September 2014). 3  Sydsvenska Medicinhistoriska Sällskapet, Ribbingska sjukhemmet, [no date] [online photograph], http://www. medicinhistoriskasyd.se/SMHS_bilder/displayimage. php?album=20&pid=1460#top_display_media, (accessed 2 October 2014). 4  Sydsvenska Medicinhistoriska Sällskapet, Ribbingska sjukhemmet, [no date] [online photograph], http://www. medicinhistoriskasyd.se/SMHS_bilder/displayimage.php?albu m=search&cat=0&pid=1474#top_display_media, (accessed 2 October 2014). 5 A. Hellerström, Ribbingska sjukhemmet – Fasad mot väster, 1913. First floor [today the third floor], A. Hellerström, 1913.7

6 A. Hellerström, Ribbingska sjukhemmet – Sektion norra flygeln, 1913. 7 A. Hellerström, Ribbingska sjukhemmet – Plan 1 tr., 1913.

Retained Qualities As already mentioned, the original building has been retained to a very large extent. The partitioning walls that formed rooms along a central corridor on each plan has however been rearranged to form flats with entrances connected directly to the stairwells. What was originally the corridor has been transformed into functional spaces such as kitchens and toilets in the flats. This is also where space-consuming horizontal installations such as ventilation are located. Cieling heights in the rest of the flats have been retained, in the third floor as high as about 3.6 meters. The original building brings about some distinct qualities that are otherwise rarely seen in contemporary residential buildings. The generous cieling height, the large and carefully crafted windows and profiled wall bases are probably some of the most evident examples. Since these details are specific for a certain type of buildings in a certain time and place they serve as manifestations and reminders of the history of the building. When a group of architects review the new flats for the local newspaper1 they seem consistent in their critique against what they see as an unsuccessfull interior design. The architects oppose against how some retained details no longer fit their purpose and how some of the new parts seem misfit in the old building and also the layout of the plan; ”They have introduced a modernistic open plan in a classical building. … the somewhat strict but airy character has been lost”2. Even though this opposition is, at least in parts, relevant and qualified one could still argue that the overall character of the building – how it differ from its surroundings, the expressive facades and retained interior details – make its history present and help to raise an interest in the building.

Part of first floor [today the third floor], A. Hellerström, 1913.6

1  Maria Sehlin, ‘Sjukhuskänslan finns kvar’, Sydsvenskan, 15 April 2010, http://www.sydsvenskan.se/hemma/nybyggt/ sjukhemskanslan-finns-kvar/, (accessed 28 september 2014). 2 



Photograph by author, 25 September 2014.


Photograph by author, 2 October 2014.


Photograph by author, 2 October 2014.

6 A. Hellerström, Ribbingska sjukhemmet – Plan 1 tr., 1913. 7 Hegelund & Marsvik Arkitekter AB, Ribbingska huset – Plan 3, 2007.

Brick laying as practiced in the beginning of the 20th century.4

Daylight pouring into the living room in a flat on the third floor.3

Part of third floor, Hegelund & Marsvik Arkitekter, 2007.7

The main entrance with the old sign.5

Urban Potential It is evident that the powerful appearance of this building affects the surrounding area, giving it a certain character. The dignity of the building is amplified by the surrounding green park with its trees, bringing a lush atmosphere to the adjacent street. The fact that the building now serve as home for ”ordinary” people can be said to bring it closer to the everyday life in the city, rather than being an, for most people, unknown exception. The age limit and the fact that children are not allowed to live in the building might be seen as giving an opportunity for a certain group of people to find a flat that is sheltered from the younger generation but still within the city limits. It can on the other hand definitly be argued that this reinforce the segregation of different groups whithin the society. However these limitations are not connected to the building per se and could change over time without requiring changes to the physical environment. The facade facing the park and the street.1

To Care for a Building One question that the architects in the mentioned article never touches directly upon is how the fact that this is a building that once served other purposes impacts the everyday lives of its new inhabitants. One current resident tells a story about how it has happend when lying in her bed that she comes to wonder how many people who have died in this very place. For her this is nothing unpleasant or unwanted but rather coinciding with her dream of living in an old house with a history1. The couple we visited seemed to have quite strong feelings for and engagement in the building they live in. This could be seen, amongst other things, in the fact that they took part in dwellerinitiated meetings and activities concerning the maintenance and development of the building and their dwellings. The way in which they talked about the life in the building signaled a sense of belonging that suggest a feeling of collective responsibility for the entire property, rather than focusing on an individual responsibility for each dwelling unit. This sense of collectivity and the residents’ ability to, seemingly spontaneously, organise themselves can to some extent be attributed to the building itself and is also supported by the way in which the dwellers are provided with actual acting space and power by the housing corporation. All residents are for instance provided with keys to the community room and guest rooms on the ground floor and are thereby expected to organise the use and care of these rooms themselves collectively. The housing corporation seem to have a similar attitude towards the use of the outdoor areas, giving room for the dwellers’ own initiatives regarding gardening etcetera. This collective responsibility can also be seen as bringing the residents together and facilitating social interaction which in itself is an important objective when it comes to social sustainability.


Photograph by author, 2 October 2014.

2 Anonymous resident, interviewed by Linus Mannervik, 2014, Ribbingska huset, Lund.


Maria Sehlin, op. cit.


Photograph by author, 2 October 2014.

All in all, looked at an urban scale it is hard to argue against this reuse of the building, even though there are parts of the project that could be discussed or criticized. How would an abolishment of the leasing restrictions affect the composition of residents and how would that in turn affect the social environment in and around the building? What if parts of the building could be used for other than purely residential purposes? What would be the consequences of really offering the ”park” in front of the building to public use?

Use of Resources Since this is a building appreciated in the light of its history demolition has never been an option. It is however easy to see that tearing down this building would have resulted in a vast amount of debris and the preservation of the building might thereby be seen as favorable from an ecological sustainability perspective. According to the local newspaper the building does however not fulfill the requirements by the national board of housing (Boverket) regarding energy use3, which of course is a disadvantage compared to a more energy efficient new-built construction. To conclude it could be said that ‘‘sustainability implies the protection of non-renewable resources at an acceptable cost to benefit the society and the state’’4, and in this case the nonrenewable resources include not only the bricks in the walls and the energy sources that heat the building but also the history of a place and the quality of an urban environment.

A small garden plot has been established by the residents.4


Sustainability through materials reuse The Building Industry produces large amounts of waste materials every year, in both construction and demolition processes. These materials that are wasted are often good enough to be reused or recycled but it does not happen a lot. It usually becomes ordinary garbage and that is not a sustainable option since the solid-waste generation is already substantial in the global scenario.

Earthships Concept Though sustainability has many different concepts, they are all based on the idea of causing less harm to the natural and human environment. The Earthships concept was introduced in the 1970s by the American architect Michael Reynolds with the main concept of ‘creating a structure that would be minimally impacting of the environment; off the grid and making its own water, heat and cooling.²’ Also, the Earthship structure is supposed to be built using waste tires, glass, bottles and cans. It can basically use whichever available material next to the building site. There are some basic mechanisms that define the Earthship as sustainable buildings, such as getting the electricity from the sun and the wind and catching water from the sky for drinking, bathing, cleaning, showering, washing, flushing, etc. Another important quality is that this building can maintain comfortable temperatures inside itself, which means that the heating and cooling costs can be significantly reduced.

The usual construction techniques are mostly based on the use of non-renewable materials, such as concrete, steel or even wood. Consequently, there is a constant need for producing these materials for the maintenance of the building industry. These facts show that the search for sustainable materials and construction techniques is really important.

3. Digital Model of an Earthship - Tires and water reservatories showing

1. Construction & Demolition (C&D) waste by composition (US EPA 2007)

The diagram numbers were collected in the US. It is estimated that annually in the United States 200 million tons of concrete construction and demolition waste are produced (Concrete accounts for approximately 40-50% of all C&D waste generated), but only 50% of concrete waste is recycled (Sandler 2003).

By now about a 1000 Earthships have been built worldwide in different countries. The construction plans need to be adapted to each different climate and situation, though they all follow the same module of construction.

1. United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). 2007. Basic Information on Construction and Demolition Debris. Retrieved 27 September 2014 from http://www.epa.gov/ epaoswer/non-hw/debris-new/basic.htm 2. ‘Earthship Pros and Cons’, http://www.archinia.com/index.php/58-publications/ publications/216-earthship-pros-and-cons, (accessed 1 October 2014) 3. ‘Simple Survival Model Earthship’, [online video], 2011, https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=wTqSpx0Vgv4, (accessed 24 September 2014) 4. ‘Earthship Global Model: Radically Sustainable Buildings’, [online video], 2011, https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=N2so9hyNWxc, (accessed 24 September 2014)

4. Digital Model of an Earthship - Inside walls showing

Earthships Operating Mechanisms Earthships are passive solar homes, which makes them extremely energy efficient. They are built with south-facing walls made almost entirely of glass – many people incorporate a greenhouse into this part of the house.

8. Perspective showing how the components could be organized in an Earthship

5. Plan and Section showing the sun incidence and the natural ventilation in the Earthship

‘A major component to the construction of Earthships are recycled tires. These can be hammered full of local dirt, sand, and debris to form 136kg (300lb) “bricks”. These preform in a similar way to a thick earthen wall, but have the added bonus of being wrapped in an extremely durable tire. The tires are wide enough so that no foundation is required; the ground can be leveled and the first row of tires pounded into place with no major preparation to the ground. This also mates the hut with the Earth. This provides another degree of insurance against earthquakes. 6’

By now about a thousand Earthships have been built worldwide in different countries. The construction plans need to be adapted to each different climate and situation, though they all follow the same module of construction.

9. Section showing the sun incidence

The Earthship was project as a try of being self sufficient. All the operating mechanisms are related to this concept somehow.

10. Section showing the natural ventilation

5. ‘Off the grid on the grid’, http://offthegridonthegrid.wordpress.com/case-studies/ earthship/, (accessed 28 September 2014) 6. ‘Earthship Huts – Low Hanging Fruit in the Fight Against Poverty’, Mark Feineigle, http:// permaculturenews.org/2012/02/08/earthship-huts-low-hanging-fruit-in-the-fight-againstpoverty/, (accessed 27 September 2014) 7. Ibid 8. ‘ Earthship Project in New York’, http://ecobrooklyn.com/earthship-project-york/, (accessed 30 September 2014) 9. Ibid 7. Perspective showing how the water is collected on the roof and how it is treated inside the Earthship

10. Drawing made by the group

The Project “Fredrik Lundahl is a boat builder and Ammi Chambert is a cabinetmaker. Their history in the earth and grass house started by a good friend took the initiative. He had heard that Landskrona municipality wanted to find someone who could renovate an old mill. “To implement the project, we received permission to build a garage next door, and now also has a home in the workshop”, said Ammi Chambert. It has been about adapting to the elements but also do something that works geographically and architecturally, and in addition consume as little energy as possible. Frederick and Ammi had contact with the architect Jürgen Sass and discussed their way to the solution of the soil ball of 360 square meters with a small compact house consisting of bedroom, bathroom and a living room with an open kitchen on a total of 55 square meters. Eventually, the family intend to move into the mill.” 11

12. Picture showing the project’s structure

13. Picture showing the Earthship front

15. Drawing showing the Building Faces

Location: between Borstahusen and Alabodarna (near Helsinborg and Landskrona) along the Skane Sound coast, Sweden. From the start of construction to occupancy, it took eighteen months. The materials used in the construction came from places near the building site: siporexen comes from a demolition industry in Malmo, rafters from a public dental clinic and the ceiling is made up of second-rate goods directly from a manufacturer. 14. Picture showing walls construction with tires

17. Schematic drawing showing the earthship mechanisms

The house is built to be energy efficient. The surrounding earth is never colder than five or six degrees Celsius in winter and provides wind and weather protection. The building’s low profile reduces the wind load, and the design of the glass facade takes advantage of sunlight and heat. 16. Faces and Section

Discussion 11. Architect Website, http://rodamollan.se/om-platsen/, (accessed 30 September 2014) 12. Ibid 13. Ibid 14. ‘Earthship lives up to name’, http://dvalnews.com/bookmark/3227612-Earthship-lives-up-to-name, (accessed 29 September 2014) 15. Ibid 16. Ibid 17. Ibid

Since Earthships are made from relatively inexpensive materials that are available close to the building site it can be considered an affordable way of building. Also, this method of construction is related to many processes of traditional construction – the concept is based on the idea of having the houses constructed by the residents themselves. It consolidates the ‘affordable housing’ idea. There are different levels of ‘sustainability’ inside the Earthship single concept. Even if all the possibilities of sustainable features are not used for the Earthship construction (such as the use of photovoltaic panels, that can be an expensive add), this building is still sustainable in a way of reusing waste materials that were actually produced for another purpose.


Small Dwellings Authors: Cristina Soler de Loma Ossorio Rebecka Engvall Tin Pui Wong Wiktor Bergh

Small dwellings

The question of “What is small dwelling?” is in a sense our point of depature. We believe that the thought of something being “small” is another way of referencing to something else, something that somehow is bigger. This referencing is, according to our experiences, very much linked to the dweller’s choice or inability to choose his or her way of framing life. Thus being about that person’s internal and external factors that impose rules or structures. In other words, it is the dweller’s cultural background and the natural context he or she belongs to. Our mean of progressing from this point was through rigourous debate and various referential research. We ended up with a way of defining small dwellings by five different typologies. These typologies are best described by five different reasons of why someone, somewhere; both geographically and different periods of time that people would consider a small dwelling. Through these fives typologies, we were able to extract the essential living characteristics and especially the related qualities.

Hermit Cabin

Lego House


Syria Beehive

Katskhi Pillar

Small dwelling

Definition of “small”

Smaller than “normal”

Not “big”

What is “normal”?

Defined by frames

What defines the frames?

5 typologies

5 reasons for living small

41 Considerate The Hermit’s Cabin is a completely prefabricated cabin made to be able to be shipped anywhere on the planet. It’s made out of recycled wood with organic insulation and with an optional bespoke interior design. The cabins’ 7.5m2 is furnished with a bed, a wardrobe, a chair, a table and a wood-burning stove and water boiler.1 “Throughout the Swedish countryside there are thousands of barns and small houses that were used decades ago in farming. Today Arvesund is not only reusing the old wood from the barns. We are also trying to use the design and functions that were found in the barns and small houses but in a modern way. […] The vision is that the Barn House should look just like a barn when it’s not used and all doors and windows are covered. Just like a natural element in the landscape.”2


ARVESUND LIVING AB. The Hermit ́s Cabin. 2014-09-29. http://www.arvesund.com/en/eremitens_koja_info_en/ (Hämtad 2014-10-01).


Alter, Lloyd. Hermit Cabin By Mats Theselius and Arvesund. treehugger. 2008-09-18. http://www.treehugger.com/modular-design/hermit-cabin-by-mats-theselius-and-arvesund.html (Hämtad 2014-10-01).

Typology Defining Aspects -External imposed structure or by individual choice -An adaptation made either by choice or by force -Tradition carried out through generations -The adaption might be about limiting the footprint, the sight or the knowlegde of the building

Hermit Cabin

Typology Diagram

Surrounding & Situation


Toilet Area


Kitchen Area

Daily Activities

Working Area

Daily Routine

Sleeping Area

Free Zone


ATTENTION ON YOUR SURROUNDINGS ANONYMOUSNESS To be considerate is to step aside. Whether youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re on a hill side or on a field. The considerate dwelling might be the one waiting for you invisible behind the tree. The one small enough to hide behind the slope of a hill.

42 Density Large numbers of people are flocking to cities in search of work as the mechanization of farming is reducing the demand for labor in the countryside. Cities grow around activities best carried out centrally and together, such as government, manufacturing, wholesaling and ports. They offer culture and the opportunities to socialize and enjoy recreation. Even though cities occupy less than 2 per cent of the Earthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s land surface it house almost half of human population and uses 75 per cent of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s resources. The proportion of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s population that lies in cities is constantly increasing. Cities represent, for many, the good life and opportunity of work . Cities also represent efficiency, culture and participation. In fact, urban dwellers, on average, have higher incomes and live healthier, easier lives than their rural counterparts. But the benefits are not universal. The dense cities are also known for its dubbled edged impact on its population. One one hand it generates efficiency and social interaction and on the other hand it is known for creating stress and poor health. As in every economically segregated city the difference in health and how you benefit from the city depends on economy och social background. While on the whole urban populations have greater access to clean water and sanitation than their rural counterparts, between a quarter and a half of urban inhabitants in developing countries live in slums and squatter settlements with extremely limited services. Such overcrowded situations enables for the spread of diseases and epidemics. Worldwide, more than a billion people live in urban areas where air pollution exceeds acceptable levels.

Above text is based on:

American Association for the Advancement of Science. Human Geography. AAAS Atlas of Population & Environment. 2012. http://atlas.aaas.org/index.php?part=2&sec=landuse&sub=urbanization (Accessed 2014-09-18)

Typology Defining Aspects -External imposed structure -An adaptation made by force -A big variety of ways of adapting

Lego House

Typology Diagram

Surrounding & Situation


Toilet Area


Kitchen Area

Daily Activities

Working Area

Daily Routine

Sleeping Area

Free Zone


SOCIAL EVERYTHING IS CLOSE An increasing population density gives a greater amount of social contact. The dense city is sustainable both in its efficient use of resources and the links connected between people.

43 Economy The pauper, often elderly poor people without property or land, where sometimes allowed to stay on the common in what is called a Backstuga, in english Paupers Cottage. The location was often set in the foot of a hill where the ground was rocky and difficult to cultivate. The cottage was dug in to the ground so that the dweller could save both building material and fuel for heating. The typical floor was made by earth and the higher parts of the walls was then build up by stones. The floor was covered with pine and the walls with old news papers. The cottage was around 15 square meters and had one room an entry and a kitchen. Backstugor are to be found in Skåne, Blekinge, Halland, Småland, south coast of Östergötland and in the far south of Västergötland and Bohuslän.

Typology Defining Aspects -External imposed structure -An adaptation made by force -Tradition carried out through generations -The adaptation is based on a situation of economic shortage why the architecture is forced to be small

The historic example of the Backstuga is very much representative for the current world situation. Economy being the single most important factor in how you dwell effects whether you live small and dense or spacious and sprawled. People without resources are submitted to what is not desired by the wealthiest. In a contemporary context we can see that the growth of democracy and economy has not helped reduce inequalities in the world. The wealthiest 20 per cent of the world’s people account for 86 per cent of private consumption, while the poorest account for just 1 per cent. 1 This results in a situation of growing rural and urban slum. Evidence shows that in many developing countries, urban poverty is becoming as severe and as dehumanizing as rural poverty. Data over slum and rural populations in several countries show similar patterns: both groups tend to be younger and generally die sooner than non-slum population in other urban situation.


United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT). Cities, Slums and the Millennium Development Goals. The state of the world’s cities report 2006/2007. Earthscan 2012


Typology Diagram

Surrounding & Situation


Toilet Area


Kitchen Area

Working Area

Daily Activities

Daily Routine

Sleeping Area

Free Zone


INTEGRATION When economy is weak, your relations has to be strong. When the structure is mean, you have to share what is yours. Commons and Relations with others are your ways of surviving. By extracting and relocating parts of your home to the common sphere, the richness becomes greater; more is more.

44 Resources The per-capita consumption of key natural resources varies hugely around the world. Typically, but not universally, the citizens of rich industrialized nations use more of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s resources and produce more waste. Sometimes they thereby deplete their own environments; sometimes other peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. In parts of the world where resources are small, people are submitted to building material found in the immediate surrounding. This often means that consumption and thus waste are low. The environmentally friendly architecture seen in these situations are often site specific as the material comes with specific architectonical qualities.

Typology Defining Aspects -External imposed structure -An adaptation made by force -Tradition carried out through generations -The adaptation is based on a situation of shortage where limits and possibilities of a given material denes the architecture

It is believed that the conical homes continue to be built in areas of Syria as there are no alternative building materials available which were better suited to the environment. In Palestine they are built since the Israeli blockade makes it impossible both to import and to produce concrete. Beehive homes are built using mud bricks which are stacked in a conical shape which allows hot air to travel upwards allowing the ground floor where the residents live to stay cool. The beehive houses is an ancient dwelling with evidence of its existence going back to 3,700 B.C. There have been recorded examples of their construction in Palestine, Cyprus and Turkey although it is only in Syria and Palestine that they have persisted to this day. The Syrian beehive houses are located on the edge of the Syrian desert with whole beehive villages in Aleppo and are used for storage as well as housing.


United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT). Cities, Slums and the Millennium Development Goals. The state of the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cities report 2006/2007. Earthscan 2012

Syrian Beehive

Typology Diagram

Surrounding & Situation


Toilet Area


Kitchen Area

Daily Activities

Working Area

Daily Routine

Sleeping Area

Free Zone


GLOBAL ARCHITECTURAL VARIETY RESOURCES WILL HELP YOU DEFINE THE UNIQUENESS OF A SPECIFIC CULTURE Architecture is defined by resources generates a wide range of dwelling varieties. Beautiful site and specific varieties are grown from historical and geographical differences.

45 Sociology The Katskhi Pillar used to, in pagan times, be revered as a place of worship to the local god of fertility. However, since the conversion to Christianity in the fourth century, the Pillar has been a representation of seclusion through the first hermit who made it as his home. It stayed inhabited until the fifteenth century when the Byzantine empire invaded Georgia. The Katskhi Pillar’s current inhabitant is a 59 years old monk Maxime Qavtaradze who has been living there for the last twenty years. He used to be a drugdealer but after a life-changing time spent in prison, he decided on a different path.

Typology Defining Aspects -External imposed structure -An adaptation either made by choice or by force -The adaption creates big personal changes

“When I was young I drank, sold drugs, everything. When I ended up in prison I knew it was time for a change. I used to drink with friends in the hills around here and look up at this place, where land met sky. We knew the monks had lived up there before and I felt great respect for them.”1 Through the restoration work, Maxime also got to know the local farmers whom he got involved in his mission. They later started a religous community and built a place for worship at the foot of the pillar, where Maxime holds nightly masses twice a week. He is totally dependent on the community for everything he might need which includes winching him his meals every day. Maxime only allows visitors that are in need of his spiritual guidance, such as adolescents who’ve lost their way.


Nolan, Steve. Getting closer to God: Meet the monk who lives a life of virtual solitude on top of a 131ft pillar and has to have food winched up to him by his followers. MailOnline. 2013-09-05. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2384040/Maxime-Meet-monk-lives-life-virtual-solitude-131ft-pillar.html#ixzz3E3vfOLbp (Hämtad 2014-10-01).

Katskhi Pillar

Typology Diagram

Surrounding & Situation


Toilet Area


Kitchen Area

Daily Activities

Working Area

Daily Routine

Sleeping Area

Free Zone


EASIER LIVING / LESS CHOICES VIEWS SOCIAL In order to make the world bigger, you have to make yourself smaller. To see what is really important, you have to close your eyes to the immediate surrounding. You are the monk in a Caspar David Friedrich painting. Walking away from the world, small in the meeting with the world.


Flexible Dwellings Authors: Jon Bossuyt Jon Fjellstad Louise Mattsson Karin Nord Cristine Szemsyk

Flexible dwellings

What is flexibility? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Flexible housing is housing that can adapt to the changing needs of usersâ&#x20AC;?. Flexibility is the potential for one space to be used in a variety of ways, in different time spans. A short-term flexibility is capable of changes on a day-to-day basis, in an easy way and without alterations in the building fabric. In a long-term perspective, flexibility can be about adaptability, which is the potential to modify the fabric of a home with relative ease in an attempt to accomodate spatial changes. Why is flexibility important? There are many reasons why flexibility should be incorporated in architecture, and especially housing. Socially, the flexibility empowers users to control and shape their own dwelling. This relates to choices prior to construction or during the life span of the dwelling. Architects need to make room for different ways of living that will suit a wider range of people, putting more power in the hands of users. Enabling the users to affect the dwellings themselves promote a stronger identification with the home, and a richer experience of dwelling. A flexible design offers this benefit to everyone, whether they fit the architects presumptions or not. Societies are in a state of constant development and change, a flexible design can be adapted to fit different user groups or functions, saving the time and costs of reconfiguration or refurbishment. This last argument also pertains to societal economy and sustainability. Avoiding demolition and reconstruction on a large scale is a huge benefit to local and global natural environments. The likelyhood that a building will remain useful in the future also depends on how easy it is to install new technologies and upgrade the old ones.

Flexibility? 1

How is flexibility achieved? There are multiple methods of achieving flexibility and also many ways of organizing them in to categories. In the text Flexible housing: the means to the end by Jeremy Till and Tatjana Schneider, the flexibility are categorized by determinate or indeterminate design, or as they identify as “hard” and “soft” systems. Soft and hard are then divided into the subcategories use and technology. Use often discusses flexibility in plan and refers to “the way the design affects the way it is used over time”. Soft use could for example be rooms with no predetermine particular function which allows for a user to adapt the room according to their needs. In the case of hard use the architect determine how the flexible function should be used over time, for example a room that could be changed by sliding walls or moveable furniture. Technology refers to flexibility in construction and servicing. Soft technology and hard technology differs in respect to how free the user is to compose parts of the building to his/her measure, however, they both depend on laws and borders which have been set by the architect.2 Schneider & Till’s theory about categorization of flexible spaces is the basis for the research on the following pages.

Soft Use Bedre Billiger Boliger, Juul | Frost Kyoto-Type, Shigernori Uoya Architects Montereau, Les Frères Arsène-Henry Naked House, Shigeru Ban Traditional Japanese House

Hard Use De Eendracht, J. Van Den Broek Drawer House, Nendo House 14/15, Le Corbusier LiftEdited Apartment, Graham Hill Schröder Huis, Gerrit Rietveld

Soft Technology Weissenhof Siedlungstrut, Mies van der Rohe Järnbrottet , Anders William-Olsson Next 21, Yositika Utida Wohananlage Genter Strasse, Otto Steidle Diagoon House, Herman Hertzberger Hard Technology Burton Residence, Marmol Radziner Desert House , Marmol Radziner Hidden Vally, Marmol Radziner Kallebäck, Erik Friberger ONE +, Lars Frank Nielsen

Flexibility is not a style, but an inherent quality of the design! It does not have to mean that the walls shift and move, or that the building is constructed of modular steel plates. It does not have to be cost enhancing or even complicated. In the following pages we will show some examples of how different strategies can be applied to achieve results which are flexible in different ways. 1 Architecture Lab, A Real Prototype Of A Smart Home, <http://architecturelab.net/ openarch-a-real-prototype-of-a-smart-home/>, 2 October 2014 2 J. Till & T. Schneider, ‘Flexible Housing: the means to the end’, Arq: Architectural Research Quarterly, vol. 9, no. 3, 2005, p. 287-294

46 De Eendracht Architect: Johannes van den Broek Site: Rotterdam, the Netherlands 1937 De Eendracht, meaning the end of the row, is a housing complex in Rotterdam built in a time of housing- shortage. The Architect was inspired by Le Corbusier, and the construction of the building is very similar to the dom-ino scheme of 1914. The access staircase is also among the first of its kind, taking up a minimum of space, and with a small impact on the apartment layout. Each apartment is approximately 66 sqm. with 3 bedrooms and a living room. The lack of housing prompted Van den Broek to make efficient use of the space. In order to accomplish this the plan includes a number of extra doors and sliding wall partitions, enabling the inhabitants to transform the dwelling between a layout for the day, and one for the night.

4, Jacob Berend Bakema (left) and Johannes Van den Broek (right) working on a model of the Civil Engineering building of Delft University.

5, View of the living room with sliding glass partitions in the background 1, Originally intended as a blueprint for coming projects in the area, De Eendracht is an open perimeter block composed of three separate buildings, thereby avoiding difficult corner apartments. 2


The apartments were designed based on a careful study of how different members of a familiy use their dwelling during the day and night. It includes a set of sliding wall panels and folding beds that allow the bright and open central living space to be divided into two bedrooms and a small room for dining. An abundance of doors enable the inhabitants to access all parts of the apartment without walking through the bedrooms at night. 77 years later, the building is still in use. The concrete skeleton has proven flexible, most apartments have been changed, some have been joined. A study conducted by sosiologists in 1965 concluded that activities could be organised in 24-different ways within the space. Johannes Van den Broek teamed up with architect Jacob Berend Bakema after the second world war. They had both worked in the municipal housing agency of Rotterdam, and their ideas about dwelling design became hugely influential in the rebuilding of houses destroyed during the war. Bakema went on to become an important figure within Team 10. 1 2 7


OVERDAG ´S NACHTS Keuken Woon.Eetk Speelk. Zit.Werk Slaapk Ouders Slaapk Gr.Kind Slaapk Kl.Kind

- Daytime - Night - Kitchen - Living / Dining room - Room for playing - Study - Parents bedroom - Older childs bedroom - Younger childs bedroom

When designing changeable dwellings, an important issue to consider is the necessity and frequency of change. Some designs, like the seminal Rietveld-SchrĂśder house by Gerrit Rietveld, incorporate changeability but do not require spaces to transform in order for them to function. The flexible elements change the character and, in a certain way, the use of the space. However, the spaces do not overlap, and they perform their basic function regardless of the configuration of the walls. 3 In the case of De Eendracht, the spaces do require some transformation to allow different uses. The beds are folded into the walls so that the bedrooms can assume their daytime function. This transformation, although supplying a degree of flexibility to the apartment, demands a certain disipline from its users. Imagine having your private bedroom turned into a part of the familiy living room every day, and you will see what we are getting at here. Nevertheless, the transformation process itself is simple, requiring that the spaces change only two times per day. We can imagine that if you can accept the lack of individual privacy, the Eendracht demonstrates a space-efficient and flexible way of living relevant to a modern market. The concern with the efficiency of space has led to a number of highly specific and creative changeable designs in contemporary apartments. In the â&#x20AC;&#x153;LifeEdited apartmentâ&#x20AC;?, made by Graham Hill in Soho New York, the idea of multi-use space is taken to its extreme. The 39 sqm. apartment has the functionality of a complete house. This is accomplished with the help of specially designed furniture that allows all the utilities of daily life to be hidden in the walls. When needed, the user can pull out a certain utility to transform the space into a dining room, bedroom, study etc. Inspired by life on trains and boats, Graham Hill set out to prove how a high-end way of living can be achieved within a minimum of space. This kind of flexibile design, although certanly space-efficient, demands an almost minimalist disipline of the user. Some aspect of the furniture must be transformed for most changes of use, making life in the apartment a very active endeavor. 4 Although the apartment is certanly not without qualities, one can wonder whether the mere fulfillment of functions is sufficient to imbue the apartment with the qualities of a proper home.



Changeability should be incorporated to some degree in every dwelling design. We have seen that although some designs provide a lot of flexibility in use, a hard-use approach to flexibility can quickly lead to a complicated design that appeals to only narrow user groups. Still, the inclusion of changeable elements and multi-use spaces can be a significant benefit in terms of space efficiency. When designing dwellings with changeable features, care must be taken to imbue the result with qualities besides those pertaining to the flexible solutions themselves. It is imperative that the building construction and the resulting space allow a quality layout of both a static and a changeable nature, thus making the result flexible for both the short and the long term.

11, LifeEdited Apartment plan

10, Schroeder House Plan, 9 WC, 10 Bathroom, 11 Bedroom, 12 Living/Diningroom, 13 Study / Bedroom, 14 Balcony

TEXT 1. Jeremy Till and Tatjana Schneider, Flexible Housing research project; Vroesenlaan J.H. van den Broek; (http://www.afewthoughts.co.uk/flexiblehousing/ house.php?house=18&number=&total=&action=&data=&order=&dir=&message=& messagead=&photo=1) Accessed 03/10/2014. 2. Rotterdam municipality website, Bakema; (http://www.rotterdam.nl/ tekst:bakema) Accessed 03/10/2014 3. Unesco world heritage files, Rietveld Schrรถderhuis (Rietveld Schrรถder House); (http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/965/) Accessed 03/10/2014 4. Penelope Green, Selling the Pared-Down Life - The Founder of TreeHugger and His Apartment of the Future, The New York Times, 16/05/2012; (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/17/garden/the-founder-of-treehugger-and-hisapartment-of-the-future.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0) Accessed 03/10/2014

PICTURES 1. 2, 5, (http://www.bna-onderzoek.nl/uploads/doc/lezing%20Bernard%20 Leupen.pdf) Accessed 03/10/2014 3. (https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8212/8444794056_2661ccc1f1_z.jpg) Accessed 03/10/2014 4. Photo by Carel Blazer, 1960 (http://team10online.org/team10/bakema/ index.html) Accessed 03/10/2014 5. (see 2,) 6, 7, Jeremy Till and Tatjana Schneider, Flexible Housing research project; Vroesenlaan J.H. van den Broek; (http://www.afewthoughts.co.uk/flexiblehousing/ house.php?house=18&number=&total=&action=&data=&order=&dir=&message=& messagead=&photo=1) Accessed 03/10/2014. 8. (http://www.detail.de/uploads/pics/Rietveld_Schroeder_House_ interior.jpg) Accessed 03/10/2014. 9. Photos by Matthew Williams for LifeEdited; (http://www.lifeedited.com/ see-full-set-of-official-lifeedited-apartment-photos/) Accessed 03/10/2014. 10. (http://arpc167.epfl.ch/alice/WP_2013_SP/vanderwoude/?p=743) Accessed 03/10/2014. 11.


Otto Steidle München Germany 1972

Wohnanlage Genter straβe Wohnanlage Genter straβe is a multifamily terrace building designed by Otto Steidle & Partners. Their idea of creating a flexible construction was groundbreaking in 1972. The building is built with prefabricated components which are not permanently fixed to one-another.1 The components are divided in to two groups; The first group contains columns, beams, and floors, and put together they create a concrete frame. These frames can be merged together and multiply into a concrete skeleton.2 In the Wohnanlage Genter straβe building this primary structure is very viable and gives it a certain character. The second group is the so called infill, such as wall, windows, doors, installations and other building equipment. These two groups, the support and the infill, are separated from one-another in the construction, allowing the secondary non-loading components to be easily moved, added and taken away.3 This gives the possibility for the inhabitants to readjust the space within the concrete network. Over the last 30 years, volume, interiors, and uses have changed constantly with the residents’ changing needs and demands.4 This modular component structure goes under the soft technology category according to T. Schneider’s and J. Till’s theory, because resident have a certain freedom to use the components in a less determined manner.5



+ Support

= Infill



Located in the north of München in the urban periphery



Next 21 Yositika UTIDA Osaka, Japan 1993

Re-using building components

The concrete posts and beams adhere to each other by a technology called “dry joint” which uses no sticky adherent and can therefore easily be disassembled without breakage or demolition waste.6 5

A building’s different layers need to be changed more or less often. The loadbearing elements are often complex to change and have a lifecycle of 30-300 years. The room layout needs to be changed more often as it has a lifecycle of 3-30 years.7 A building with modular components separates these elements with different lifecycles, creating a building which can sustain for a long time as every separate part can be exchanged with ease.8


Maximize building’s lifecycle

The modular component system makes it easy to rebuild apartments when need and use are changed over time. The example shows a rebuild apartment in Next 21.10

1 year 3-30 years 7-15 years 30-300 years 20 years


Adaption to changing needs and uses



Allowing personalization

Otto Steidle’s building is an “incomplete” building with just a basic frame. This leaves space for residents to build their own apartments according to their own preferences without the involvement of architects. This concept of an “incomplete” building can also be found in the Diagoon house (Delft, Netherlands by Herman Hertzberger) and Next 21-building (Osaka, Japan by Yositika UTIDA with others), which contain good examples of personalization.11

Clarity in construction

Because of the clarity in distinction between load-bearing and non-loadbearing elements, residents can easily understand how the building can be changed.


Expansion instead of relocation

Residents don’t need to move when they require more space. Genter Straβe holds a lot of reserve space. Additional space can be released from within the concrete skeleton, either by addition of floors and infill on the outside in the non-filled parts of the skeleton, or on the inside by filling in initially one-and-a-half or two storey spaces. Otto Steidle even made it easier to add stories by designing the columns with corbels on every half-storey.9


Flexible services

The locations of services is crucial for future change and flexibility. In the Genter straβe services are located in a fixed core where it allows for many plan layouts.12 Next 21 utilizes a separate service floor containing all the plumbing and wiring. This separate service floor allows kitchen, bathroom etc. to be located anywhere.13 11

Creating a diverse population Provides urban density

Inhabitants can purchase a space in a 3d-grid and build their own apartment instead of purchasing land to constructing a villa. In a larger perspective this could prevent sprawl.

This modular component system creates a variety of apartment sizes and building sizes. The diversity of apartments and buildings has a potential of generating and sustaining diversity among the residents.


Critique The aesthetic of the modular component construction

Wohnanlage Genter Straβe is a building which allows residents to build their own apartments according to their personal preferences. However, building without an architect might result in a building with an incoherent appearance with a chaotic mixture of inharmonic styles which might be considered as aesthetically unappealing. This incoherent mixture is obvious in the façade of Next 21, where the windows are in different style. Both Genter Straβe and Next 21 are built with the same support and infill system, meaning both buildings therefore follow almost the same aesthetics: The exposed concrete frames give the buildings a brutalist style. This very specific style might not appeal to everyone due to its controversial appearance. This leads to a question of whether it is possible to design a modular component system without an exposed construction and thus with a less brutalist style. According to Schneider’s and Till such a construction could be achieved in a modernistic manner. As an example they mention Mies van der Rohe’s Weissenhofsiedlung in their text Flexible housing: opportunities and limits. In this case, the load-bearing elements consist of the exterior walls and two columns. This allows for the inner walls to be placed anywhere in the apartment, except where the fixed core (kitchen and bathroom) are located. The inner walls are made of plywood, easily allowing residents to change their units’ layout.14 But in comparison of the load-bearing constructions of Genter Straβe and Next 21, the load-bearing exterior walls in Weissenhofsiedlung are fixed and cannot be dismantled. The question still remains whether it is possible to avoid the characteristic appearance of an exposed framework when designing a modular load-bearing construction, which is possible to dismantle.

Technology and social qualities

A risk when using this modular construction system is that the architect could become obsessed with technical solutions and forget other social and spatial qualities of the design. We don’t know if this is the case with Wohnanlage Genter Straβe, but it is apparent that the technology itself generates a few social qualities. As an example from Wohnanlage Genter Straβe it is possible for residents to leave their personal mark on their unit. This personalization creates a strong sense of belonging which can increase the comfort. Further qualities come from the spacious frames, the loose joining of the posts and beams, and the clear distinction between the components which allows for the resident to easily imagine and understand the possibility for change, increasing freedom and quality of life.

The façade of Next 21


How flexible is it?

When analyzing the flexibility of Wohnanlage Genter Straβe it is necessary to separate the flexibility of the design process and the flexibility of building utilizing. During the design process the resident has, according to Schneider’s and Till, a greater freedom to combine and use components in a less predetermined manner.15 The residents can decide size, layout and purpose of each room. But the flexibility and the options are limited by the designed components. A designed modular component structure has fixed dimensions and technology which has to be followed. Schneider’s and Till write about the dilemma an architect faces. They argue that the involvment of an architect itself limits the flexibility because when designing, the architect determines rules and borders which the resident must follow.16 Furthermore it could be speculated that maximum flexibility for a resident is achieved when there is no designer involved, such as in a self-built villa on a lot. On the other hand, Wohnanlage Genter Straβe’s non-fixed structure allows, although designed by architects, for more self-building opportunities than the average architectdesigned building. Therefore it can be suggested that Wohnanlage Genter Straβe is very flexible. Regarding the flexibility of the building in use, the construction and the room layout of Wohnanlage Genter Straβe are advantageous as they can be changed relatively easy, both in comparison to the average building and the self-built house where the constructions are fixed.


This modular component technology is a good way of achieving a flexible construction, as it provides plenty of opportunities for residents to design and adjust their own space. The adaptability of the technology generates social sustainability. It generates a diversity of residents in the building/area and sense of belonging. But perhaps the style only appeals to a small group of people. The technology provides an environmental sustainability as the components can be reused and easily could be refurbished for building maintenance over a longer time. It largely satisfies the desire of the self-built house, equality to a villa. Therefore it could in an urban scale become a dense structure which has a potential to replace the widespread residential areas of only villas.

Bibliography 1. B. Smart, Adaptable Form & Rebirth of Function, Faculty of NewSchool of Architecture, 2013, p38 2. B. Smart, Adaptable Form & Rebirth of Function, Faculty of NewSchool of Architecture, 2013, p39 3. J. Till & S. Wigglesworth & T. Schneider, ‘Wohnanlage Genter strasse’, Flexible housing [website], 2004-6, <http://www.afewthoughts.co.uk/flexiblehousing/ house.php?house=54>, 27 September 2014. 4. Ibid 5. J. Till & T. Schneider, ‘FlexibleHousing: the means to the end’, Arq: Architectural Research Quarterly, vol. 9, no. 3, 2005, p. 294. 6. B. Smart, Adaptable Form & Rebirth of Function, Faculty of NewSchool of Architecture, 2013, p. 22 7. S. Brand, How Buildings Learn : What Happens After They`Re Built, Phoenix, London, 1997, p. 13 8. B. Smart, Adaptable Form & Rebirth of Function, Faculty of NewSchool of Architecture, 2013, p. 21 9. J. Till & S. Wigglesworth & T. Schneider, ‘Wohnanlage Genter strasse’, Flexible housing [website], 2006, <http://www.afewthoughts.co.uk/flexiblehousing/house. php?house=54>, 27 September 2014. 10. S. Kendall, Case studies of Residential Open Building, Building Futures Institute, Ball state Univerity, Muncie, p. 2. 11. J. Till & T. Schneider, ‘FlexibleHousing: the means to the end’, Arq: Architectural Research Quarterly, vol. 9, no. 3, 2005, p. 295. 12. J. Till & S. Wigglesworth & T. Schneider, ‘Wohnanlage Genter strasse’, Flexible housing [website], 2006, <http://www.afewthoughts.co.uk/flexiblehousing/house. php?house=54>, 27 September 2014. 13. J. Kim, R. Brouwer & J. Kearney, NEXT 21: A Prototype Multi-Family Housing Complex, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan, p. 14 14. J. Till & T. Schneider, ‘FlexibleHousing: the means to the end’, Arq: Architectural Research Quarterly, vol. 9, no. 3, 2005, p. 294. 15. J. Till & T. Schneider, ‘Flexible housing: opportunities and limits’, Arq: Architectural Research Quarterly, vol. 9, no. 2, 2005, p. 159. 16. Ibid

Pictures 1,2,4. Steidle-partner.de, <http://www.steidle-partner.de/bauten/genter/4.htm>, 27 September 2014. 3. J. Till & S. Wigglesworth & T. Schneider, ‘Wohnanlage Genter strasse’, Flexible housing [website], 2004-6, <http://www.afewthoughts.co.uk/flexiblehousing/house. php?house=54>, 27 September 2014. 5. B. Smart, Adaptable Form & Rebirth of Function, Faculty of NewSchool of Architecture, 2013, p42 6. S. Brand, How Buildings Learn : What Happens After They`Re Built, Phoenix, London, 1997, p. 13 7. Edited by Louise Mattsson; B. Smart, Adaptable Form & Rebirth of Function, Faculty of NewSchool of Architecture, 2013, p41 8. J. Till & S. Wigglesworth & T. Schneider, ‘Next 21’, Flexible housing [website], 2004-6, < http://www.afewthoughts.co.uk/flexiblehousing/house.php?house=93&number=3& total=5&action=country&data=Japan&order=keydate&dir=ASC&message=projects%20 in%20Japan&messagead=ordered%20chronologically>, 27 September 2014. 9. S. Kendall, Case studies of Residential Open Building, Building Futures Institute, Ball state Univerity, Muncie, p. 2. 10. Growing Urban Habitate [website], <http://faculty.virginia.edu/GrowUrbanHabitats/ case_studies/case_study_010122.html>, 27 September 2014 11.’Iso Floors, Installationsgolv’, Byggkatalogen [website], <http://byggkatalogen. byggtjanst.se/bergvik_flooring_ab/undergolvsystem/iso_floor_installationsgolv/ i116658/>, 27 September 2014 12. Edited by Louise Mattsson; ‘Next 21’, Open Buildings [website], <http://www.openbuilding.org/ob/next21.html>, 27 September 2014 13. ‘Otto Steidle’, Spatial Agency [website], <http://www.spatialagency.net/database/ where/physical%20relations/steidle>, 27 September 2014


48 Naked House はだかの家 The Naked House, by the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, is a single house family home in Kawagoe, Japan. Ban was faced with the challenge to design a house for a family of three generations who wished for a home where the family members were not secluded from each other, “a house that gives everyone the freedom to have individual activities in a shared atmosphere”1. The family of five - two adults, two children and their grandmother, had a vision of a home as open as possible, that could possess an atmosphere of closeness among family members. The family wanted to maximise the “communal space” within the house, since it could serve as an important space for interaction amongst the family members2. Ban’s reply was a house “naked” of partitions, as an attempt to encourage the relationships within the family. The concept was to fuse the lives of the different generations, making the living space as social as possible by reducing the private space to a minimum.

The Naked house is a house almost without partitions. The concept of the house is a large open communication space where four large moveable wooden boxes on casters serve as holders of the private space. Functional rooms such as kitchen and bathrooms are located along the perimeter and can be divided from the main space by using nylon curtains and sliding doors. Ban’s design can be seen as an experiment in testing the limits of material and kinetic possibilities of domestic environments3. The construction is based on braced frames and timber and the long exterior walls are made up of translucent white polythene, resembling the light-filled spatial effect given by the traditional Japanese rice paper walls.

Shigeru Ban Kawagoe, Japan 139 sqm (1,490 sq ft) 2000



3 Sections


fixed installations

4 Plan

fixed installations

6 sqm


5 sqm

Kinetic features The mobile cubicles can be viewed as private spaces within the large space, but also as room dividers or â&#x20AC;&#x153;sliding doorsâ&#x20AC;?, creating more intimate spaces in the common area when needed. The cubicles are designed as traditional Japanese rooms, complete with tatami mats and sliding screens. They are 5 and 6 square meters each and are just big enough for a futon (a Japanese fold-out mattress) and a lamp. Ideally they hold a minimum of furniture and fittings to make them lighter and easier to move around for everyone in the family. The cubicles can be rolled anywhere in the building, or even outside to the terrace. They can be fully enclosed or opened on two sides by the use of sliding screens. The openness enables them to be combined in a number of ways to expand and create different sequences of rooms within the large space. The boxes can be placed in front of fixed features such as heating or air condition to improve the ventilation through the boxes in different seasons. The top of the cubicles can be used for different activities and are well suited for children playing or studying4.



C C C (D)



The cubicles as room dividers

Indetermined layout An open space holds many opportunities, and that is the main quality of the Naked House. The indetermined plan provide freedom in useage and many options for the configuration of the living space. The users can form their own space freely after function, wishes and needs. A variation of placements of the cubicles transform the space. The different varations of layouts result in new ways of moving around in the house and changes the perception of the space, affecting the visual and physical connections. Everyday flexibility The Naked House is based on the ability to change the configuration of space in an instant, providing everyday flexibility in the useage of space. The main space can transform in a number of ways in a short amount of time, and the dwellers can on their own initiative regulate the division of space as well as the relationship between private/public and open/closed. The living space can transform from a large space for gathering into several semi-separated spaces in an instant.This is a nice quality in many situations, for example when the children wants to play but the grandmother needs peace and quiet.



Long-term flexibility The whole space can be converted in the future if the needs of the family changes or if there is a shift in the family constellation. One could easily add or reduce the amount of moveable rooms without major consequences for the space in general. It is also possible to transform the house into something other than a dwelling , for example a studio or a small office.


Construction Since the moveable rooms are separated from the construction, they are easy to replace and refurbish. The boxes are made of paper honeycomb panels on timber frames, so the choices in material and the lightness in construction make them easy to move and manoueuvre.


examples of possible cubicle configurations


8 Transformations within the Naked House



SKALA 1:100

SKALA 1:100

PELARE: 13,5 x 13,5 cm TATAMI: 90 x 180 cm BRÄDGOLV: INNERVÄGGAR:

PELARE: 13,5 x 13,5 cm TATAMI: 90 x 180 cm BRÄDGOLV: INNERVÄGGAR:




A traditional Japanese house is mainly constructed with load bearing pillars instead of walls. This enables the many openings towards neighbouring spaces, both inside and outside. The possibility of closing and opening by using sliding doors (shoji) means that the dweller can regulate the spaces in the home. The diagrams highlight the connections and difference in spatial configuration when the rooms are closed compared to entirely open.



The flexibility of Japanese dwellings The concept behind the Naked House follows the basic fundamental principles of Japanese tradition and lifestyle. Beside the more visible and tangible features, such as the sliding screens, the connection between inside and outside, the transluscent shell and the tatami replicated cubicles, it is the presence of the undefined spaces of the Naked House that is truly related to the Japanese model. Japanese architecture is centered around constantly evolving systems and trying to achieve the principles of change5. Japanese houses are therefore often adaptable structures, holding repositionable features and partitions that are changeable per user, in other words “The japanese house is functionally flexible”6. The idea of the changeable permeate all aspects in the Japanese model. The Naked House is, similar to the traditional, designed in relation to the concept of a cycle: the cycle of hours in the day, changing seasons and holidays etcetera. A common thought is that all buildings have a life cycle, and as the weather changes throughout the year, the building should change with it7.

11 Transluscent walls in the Naked House

Why is Japanese architecture flexible? In the Eastern tradition, philosophical discourse tends to revolve around the concept of change. This philosophical leaning is shared in Taoism, Zen Buddhism and Karate. In the east, the concept of improvisation and flexibility (“being like water”) is cental and often translated into architecture8.The ability to accomodate change is therefore essential to Japanese architecture. The traditional Japanese house is not thought of as a permanent dwelling, but a temporary place where the dwellers stay only a certain time. The Naked House is described to have the qualities of water in a river, that changes into different forms and never stands still9. One of the main reasons for flexibility in Japanese dwellings is the insight of that the prevalent family system is nonstatic. The family constellation constantly change. The contemporary architect Jun Aoki explains:

10 Transluscent sliding doors in a traditional house

12 Naked House, cubicle details

a b

A good house doesn’t have to fulfil all requirements - just the basic ones that are high on the list of priorities. The function of a house is not permanent, because family members get older and children grow rapidly. It should be a very flexible space. If you design a singular solution that meets only the current requirements, in five years the house will no longer be convenient for the family10.


13 Traditional tatami mat layouts

14 The transformation of space in a traditional Japanese dwelling

16 Transformations within the Naked House


Transformable & indetermined spaces

The floor as furniture

The Naked House raises an important question: what is the importance of a space with no program? The Japanese concept of space throughout history has been that rooms are not defined by the the space itself, but instead by the objects inside of the space. This is clearly reflected in the Naked House since the use of the space changes when the objects inside are moved.

To achieve the indeterminate spaces, the space need to be cleared from objects. “A room without furniture is a functional void”16. The floor is central in traditional Japanese architecture since it enables the reduction of objects and furniture. It is understood as a place of communication and often expressed as a platform which is part of the furniture. The danish architect Jörn Utzon expressed that the Japanese floor is where one is seated rather than standing, since it is “polished and clean as a table”17. The way of living in a Japanese house is motivated by movements that cares for the floor and it becomes a central part of everyday life. The basic movements of the Japanese domestic life are therefore sitting, lying or crawling.

The general model of the Western house differs from the Japanese house ideals. The Western model usually contain individual rooms named after certain functions and often cut off from each other by walls. The Western house is like a number of cells that are neighbouring each other while the Japanese model carries a notion of continous and interrupted space, where the rooms should not be excluded from each other11. In the west, the houses are usually built upon the idea that every function should have its own space. The spaces are named after their function and usually they cannot be easily transformed to fit other purposes. The Japanese house is different since its rooms are named not after their function, but of their placement. The rooms are isolated from their function and open to different uses. “Japanese spaces suits the function of occasion and need”12. Simply, the usage of a space varies with the time of day, the weather and the seasons. For example, a space for sleeping is also a place for eating and entertaining guests. Freedom within construction is a crucial concept in Japan13. Here, the idea of the indeterminate space is important. Many Japanese architects argue that both the traditional and contemporary “Japanese Space” accomodate an ambiguity in terms of the intermediary spaces14. For example, the verandah so often seen in the traditional is a very important intermediate space of indeterminate function. The emptiness, the “gap”, is important15. This kind of sensitivity towards the indetermined space is well illustrated in the Naked House, where the idea of the indeterminate and the presence of the intermediate space is tangible. The large indeterminate space give way for different kinds of intermediate spaces through a variation of formations shaped by the cubicles.

In the West the floor is where you put your furniture, while in Japan it is part of the furniture. There are many elements in Japanese architecture that directs attention to the floor. Sliding doors and moveable screens are horizontal features that frame the floors. By opening up the rooms in the house they connect to each other and create a continous space. The interrupted space demand an abscence of fixed elements within the rooms and therefore the floor need to be cleared and all the furniture need to be stacked away in favour of this continuation of space. By using Transformable furniture, the multifunctional use of space is encouraged by enabling a set of furniture to be folded away, as another is pulled out. Like in a traditional Japanese house, the floor plays a significant role in the Naked House. This is the communication space of the house and it is left without fixed functions or furniture. This is the basis for the indetermined, open space.

17 The domestic spaces easily transforms into public space

Soft or hard flexibility? The Naked House concept derives in the architects wish to experiment with the boundaries of private and public in a domestic space by the use of kinetic architecture. Ban’s translation of the clients wishes is a designed solution that demand a certain unconventional way of using the dwelling. Therefore, it is in a way a predetermined design with certain fixed arrangements. This would insinuate a tendency towards a hard use space. A hard space is generally connected to predetermined design, like a detailed plan or sliding walls and moveable furniture. These features can be found witin the Naked House, however the house is more flexible than this due to its indeterminate spaces and therefore translates into the soft space category. Soft use implies spaces with no particular function that allows a variety of uses and where the architect has created a building fabric capable of user adaptation. Indeterminacy is the keyword in soft use, where the architect or designer provide a physically fixed, but socially flexbile layout18. These traces can be found in the Naked House, which strengthens the connections to a soft use space. The dwellers seem to enjoy a large freedom within the framework set by the architect, due to the qualities that they can achieve via the moveable rooms. The opportunities in the large open space are numerous and the dwellers can change and regulate their configuration of space without consequences to the main construction or building fabric. CONCLUSION The non-program of the Naked House indicate numerous opportunities and choices at hand for the user of the space. Therefore it is providing a flexbile way of living. The indetermined space, that is the core of the dwelling, has the capacity of transformation and re-organization. It has the ability of adaptability in both a short-term and long-term perspective. The way of life within a dwelling similar to Naked House, although ideal to some people, might be too demanding and inconvenient for others. It is reasonable to believe that this kind of dwelling configuration is more sought after and accepted in certain cultural and social contexts. In the Japanese culture, flexiblity has shown to be an important part of the way of life, as well as the desire to live in closeness to ones family members in a more exposed setting than found in the West. It is therefore questionable if the concept of the Naked House could be applied as a universal solution for dwelling. However, the project raise important questions and demonstrate inspiring new ideas about the ability of personalized dwelling configurations. Further, it is challenging the traditional way of thinking about the boundaries between privacy and public space within domestic environments. Un-programmed spaces

18 Traditional house

19 Naked House




1 Shigeru Ban Architects, ‘NAKED HOUSE - Saitama, Japan, 2000’, [website] <http://www. shigerubanarchitects.com/works/2000_naked-house/index.html> 18 September 2014 2,7 S. Allman, A. Gontarz, V. Mantha-Blythe, J. Sinn, ‘Naked House Case Study’, 2012-12, [website] <http://nakedhousecasestudy.blogspot.se/p/overview.html> 18 September 2014 3,4 Phaidon Atlas, ‘Naked House’, 2014, [website] <http://phaidonatlas.com/building/nakedhouse/3385#nav-section-0> 25 September 2014 5 L. Bird, ‘Before and Beyond the Modern: Japanese society, Culture, and Design’, McGill University, 2002 6,16 K. Nishihara, translated by R.L Gage, Japanese Houses - Patterns for living, Japan Publications Inc., 2nd edition, Japan, 1971, p. 111. 8 Baan Mankong Collective Housing, ‘7 Space Saving Strategies’, [website] <http://www.codi.or.th/ housing/SpaceSaving.html> 27 September 2014 9 Stories of Houses, ‘The Naked House in Kawagoe’, [website] <http://storiesofhouses.blogspot. se/2005/10/naked-house-in-kawagoe-by-shigeru-ban.html> 22 September 2014 10 C. Nuijsink, ‘Suburban Toy House’, How to make a Japanese House, nai010 publishers, Belgium, 2012, p.34. 11,12 K. Nishihara, translated by R.L Gage, Japanese Houses - Patterns for living, Japan Publications Inc., 2nd edition, Japan, 1971, p. 106-108 13,14,15 L. Bird, Before and Beyond the Modern: Japanese society, Culture, and Design, McGill University, 2002 16,17 K. Nishihara, translated by R.L Gage, Japanese Houses - Patterns for living, Japan Publications Inc., 2nd edition, Japan, 1971, p. 220 18 J. Till & T. Schneider, ‘Flexible Housing: the means to the end’, Arq: Architectura Research Quarterly, vol. 9, no. 3, 2005


1,7,11,16,19 Naked House Case Study [website], <http://nakedhousecasestudy.blogspot.se/p/ overview.html> 26 September 2014 2 The Tree Mag, Naked House by Shigeru Ban, [website], < http://blog.espasso.com/wp-content/ uploads/2014/03/the-tree-mag_naked-house-by-shigeru-ban-16.jpg> 28 September 2014 3,4,5,12 Edited by Karin Nord, Naked House Case Study [website], < http://nakedhousecasestudy. blogspot.se/p/drawings.html> 27 September 2014 6,15 Shigeru Ban Architects <http://www.shigerubanarchitects.com/works/2000_naked-house/ NH_4.jpg> 29 September 2014 8 [website], <http://101planosdecasas.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/the-tree-mag_ nakedhouse-by-shigeru-ban-14.jpg> 29 September 2014 9 Edited by Karin Nord & Anna Postlind,‘Floor Plan of a Japanese House’, Chest of Books [website], <http://chestofbooks.com/architecture/House-Construction-2/images/FLOOR-PLAN-OF-AJAPANESE-HOUSE.jpg> 4 October 2013 10 [website], <http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-KJ8BtcD5o2A/TWHp-uwX3wI AAAAAAAAAQI/_4AOZUmGREY/s1600/DSC_1701.JPG> 4 October 2013 13 [website], <http://www.1981.co.jp/tatami/img/23.gif> 29 September 2014 14 ‘Space Saving Strategies’ [website], <http://www.codi.or.th/housing/SpaceSaving.html> 16 September 2014 17 [website], <http://www.gutenberg.org/files/13015/13015-h/images/228.jpg> 25 September 2014 18 N.F. Carver Jr, Form and Space of Japanese Architecture, 1st edition, Shokokusha Publishing Co., Tokyo, 1955, p. 109 20 [website], <http://faculty.virginia.edu/GrowUrbanHabitats/case_studies/case_study_010121. html> 22 September 2014 21 [website],<http://www.theworkhome.com/media/images/galleries/ban-naked-house-800web.jpg> 1 October 2014

49 Desert House



The desert house is a prototype of Marmol Radizner Prefab. It is oriented to the best view of San Jacinto peak and surroundings mountais in California, USA. It has 20,23 sqm and it was built in 2005. In this house, outdoors and indoors blend together, by covered outdoors living areas that double the size of the house, connecting the house to its site. The house employs four house modules and six deck modules. Because of the Californian climate, sunshade modules were developed to provide solar protection. All power needed are from solar panels, the concrete floor provide solar heat gain in the winter and sunshades on the west and south facades help to minimize the temperature of the summer sun, helping the house to be sustainable. The home is built with prefabricated technologies. It has three types of basic modules: interior modules, exterior modules and sunshade modules. Uses steel framing, twelve feet wide modules that can extend up to sixty four feet in length and can use any type of cladding, including metal, wood, or glass.

Desert House Plan 3

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Desert House Section 4

The system - Modules Prefabricated Marmol Radziner has incorporated prefab modules into larger projects since 1996. His first experimental work was the sustainable Desert House that was built completely out of prefabricated modules. Established in 2005, Marmol Radzine Prefab is an extension of his office. 7

A module is a three dimensional componente that attaches to other module and compose a prefab house. 6


The module can be 12 feet wide, 11 to 13 feet high and in varying lengths. It can be as narrow as 8 feet and wide as 16 feet. (diagram) They are built to be shipped almost ready in specialized trailers. The customizing process allow the owner to choose interior and exterior finishes. It is not possible to order a module without the cabinets (installations, like pipes and eletric wires) All appliances have an exactly size, so the client can only choose between the ones that the prefab company has already chosen. 9

This two projects are built with the same prefab system as the Desert House. Both projects use an open plan and are thought to be sustainable (the construction and the house afterwards). Modules are shipped to the site and lifted on the foundation with a crane, so the modules can connect with the site infrastructure and within each other.

Hidden Valley

Burton Residence

This residence is built in a 160 acre site on Mendoncino county, California, USA. It has 204 sqm and it has built in 2013. Its L shape is formed by 10 modules.


This house is located in the Desert Moah in Utah, USA. Sitting on a hundred-acre site, it was built in 2007 and has 232 sqm. The house is composed of 5 interiors modules and 7 deck modules.









(Escandinavian exemple)

ONE + is a project developed by add a room and w. On 2006, they started renovating summer houses and realized that was a gap in the market for it. So they created a method to meet the type of life we live today. Using a modular system, they pursued the small Scandinavia house concept, compact smart living. There are design to be sustainable and have unlimited link possibilities. The modules can be 10, 15, 20 or 25 sqm and can be plugged in different ways and in different occasions, according to the user needs. This modules includes deck, pergola and an outdoor kitchen or shower if wanted.







N AUTODESK EDUCATIONAL PRODUCT PRODUCEDBY BY ANAUTODESK AUTODESK EDUCATIONALPRODUCT PRODUCT PRODUCED ModularAN systems are developedEDUCATIONAL by an architect to be linked in many UCATIONAL different PRODUCT ways and made to adapt its self to its users in a variety of designs meeting different needs. It can be reconfigured, relocated and removed. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a lot easier to change over time and much faster and cheaper then the conventional way. Maximizes factory production leading to minimized construction waste, budgets a lot more precised and reduced construction time by 30% to 50%. The modules leave leave the factory as read as possible to be just linked together and became a house. Modular systems seek sustainability in many different ways. Since reducing the trips to the site to deliver materials and workers, to implementing solar panels in the modules.


Houses x

Housesxx Houses

Floors x

The modular system can be used to achieve high density as well. In this cases, it is easy for the project to lack identity for its users and loose quality of living. When building is built of modular units, the building becomes inflexible, no variation whatsoever. All the apartments are the same, designated to the same user. The problem is that the user often is not the same. Even so the modular building is cheaper and faster, the layout has to be very well thought.


oors x

Houses x

Houses x



Houses x


Floors x


Floors x





Floors Houses x x





“Desert House / Marmol Radziner”, ArchDaily [website], 09 May 2011, <http://www.archdaily. com/?p=133650>, accessed 22 September 2014. Marmol Radziner website, http://www.marmolradzinerprefab.com/, accessed 23 September 2014. “Burton Residence / Marmol Radziner”, ArchDaily [website], 27 May 2013, <http://www.archdaily. com/?p=377772>, accessed 22 September 2014. “Hidden Valley / Marmol Radziner Prefab”, ArchDaily [website], 03 Jun 2011, <http://www.archdaily. com/?p=140197>, accessed 22 September 2014. ‘A LITTLE HOUSE WITH GREAT POTENTIAL’, Add A Room, <http://www.addaroom.eu/ONE-houses.html>, Houses x accessed 25 Sep 2014. ‘HOW TO BUY’, Add A Room, <http://www.addaroom.eu/How-to-buy.html>, accessed 25 Sep 2014.

Pictures 1-5, 7-9. “Desert House / Marmol Radziner”, ArchDaily [website], 09 May 2011, <http://www.archdaily. com/?p=133650>, accessed 22 September 2014. 6. Marmol Radziner website, http://www.marmolradzinerprefab.com/, accessed 23 September 2014. 10-14. “Burton Residence / Marmol Radziner”, ArchDaily [website], 27 May 2013, <http://www.archdaily. com/?p=377772>, accessed 22 September 2014. 15-19. “Hidden Valley / Marmol Radziner Prefab”, ArchDaily [website], 03 Jun 2011, <http://www.archdaily. com/?p=140197>, accessed 22 September 2014. 20-22. ‘A LITTLE HOUSE WITH GREAT POTENTIAL’, Add A Room, <http://www.addaroom.eu/ONE-houses. html>, accessed 25 Sep 2014. 23. ‘HOW TO BUY’, Add A Room, <http://www.addaroom.eu/How-to-buy.html>, accessed 25 Sep 2014.

Houses x

Houses x

Houses x









When seeking flexibility, modular systems can be a smart choice. Having the modules prefabricated does not necessarily makes the work of the architect easier, as a lot of thought is needed to ensure that the building is right for the user. The initial phase of the project works in the same way as other type of construction, but the building phase is more efficient. This system works when used in a flexible way. It allows to be reconfigured when the user needs it. Modules should be used in a creative way, exploring each owners way of living.



Kyoto-Type Shigenori Uoya Kyoto, Japan 131 sqm 2007

Kyoto-Type Housing Model 京都型住宅モデル Kyoto-Type Housing Model is a 131 square meter house designed by Shigenori Uoya Architects and Associates, completed in 2007. Today, a couple lives there together with their cat. In the future it is easy to make additional space for a child, or gradparents who require living close to the family. The house is based on a very simple concept - three wooden load bearing frame walls. KyotoType is not only a house in Kyoto, it is also an idea about how contemporary housing in Kyoto could be built in general.

Exterior view of the front 1

Between the aforementioned walls, the dwelling can be constructed as the dwellers see fit. During construction the floor slabs can be placed anywhere in the structure1. These are together with the three main walls - more or less static. The inner walls constructed are however not load bearing, and can thus be torn down to redefine the living area. Kyoto-Type Housing has an undetermined flexibility - the building is designed in a way that allows for the inhabitants to over time reinvent the spaces and rooms they live in. The three main walls also allow for the building to be split up and half of it rented out, sold or even demolished. The middle wall has the same capabilities as the outer walls.

Street view of the Kyoto-Type facade 2


First, second and third floor plan drawings 3

Kyoto has a population of almost 1.5 million people and a density of 1 800 people per square kilometer. A small town in comparison to the Tokyo Metropolis. In Kyoto, the streets are set out neatly in a grid. Because of the big blocks however, most sites are long and narrow. The streets are of a specific character due to it’s many lowrise buildings and typical urban landscape, and the house faces the street2. This context restricts the building and its flexibility in a few ways - the facade is made to preserve the city landscape and changes thereof would break this. Kyoto-Type Housing Model is a housing framework that works in the context of Kyoto.


This is a very sustainable way of building flexible dwellings. It allows future inhabitants to plan and define how they want to live, as well as the current inhabitants to change how the building is utilised to best suit their needs. It does not rule out possibilities in the same way that defined flexibility does. It focuses on the long term use. Changes in the family constellation or in the general demography can easily be overcome. Tear out a wall here and put up a new one there and you’ve got a different house layout to accommodate whatever new needs have arisen. It is a permanent dwelling in which you don’t need to be afraid of changes in life.

Interior view, the middle wall of the building crosses the picture vertically 4

With flexibility of this type there is economic gain of different sorts to be had. A house that suits your needs throughout different periods of your life minimizes your need to move as you progress through life. Which also means less costs for wholesale refurbishment3. Generally - the inside spaces of buildings are redefined much more often than the skin and structure of the building4. A separation of structure and content from the beginning means that redoing the interior - be it for your own sake or because someone else is moving in - becomes an easier and more affordable job. If the need for increased or decreased living space arises, possibilities to expand or demolish exist as well. Kyoto-Type has similarities with the typical Amsterdam canal houses and the British terraced houses. The span between two of the three walls is barely 3.5 meters. The depth and height are generous however, allowing for both lofts and half stories as well as more room for a garden would one prefer that over indoor space. One can call this type of flexibility “soft use” - the user determines how the space is used within the frame provided by the architect5.

Kyoto-Type is a house that can be utilised in many different ways. Here is an example where a couple lives in the house for a period of 50 years. =

changes in the building


inaccessible to the couple

2010: Young couple living with their cat - original building layout.

2020: A couple and their children new rooms to make space for everyone.

2040: A couple and a renter - renting out half the house renders it inaccessible to the couple.

2060: Retired couple by themselves demolish half the house to get a bigger garden.














Kyoto-Type is a concept that is very easy to grasp. The flexibility of it seems realistic and straight forward. How well it works in reality is dependant on a number of things. I’ve boiled it down to the following factors:

Structural capabilities

Kyoto-Type allows for existing inner walls to be torn down, and new ones put up. The structure doesn’t allow for new floor slabs to be installed at a later date with ease, however. This is a flaw in its flexibility capabilities.

Installations and services

An important aspect - which I haven’t been able to dig deeper into - is how the installations and services are distributed throughout the building. If it is possible to place a kitchen or bathroom anywhere in the building due to easy access to water and electricity, in the main walls for example, that adds a lot to the flexibility of the structure. The lack of easy access to those things would be a a big restriction, however.

Knowledge of the building

Knowledge gets lost easily. New people moving in don’t necessarily know what the original inhabitants knew. What walls are load bearing and vital for the building, where is there access to water and electricity, and so forth. Without knowledge, flexibility is severely restricted.

Interior view facing the street 5

Since Kyoto-Type builds on soft use flexibility which is very dependant on the inhabitant, these are very important to take into consideration. The user is free within the frame the architect has created. The frame is supposed to provide flexibility for the user. Three walls can be a pretty tight framework, however.

Comparison to hard use flexibility

In hard use flexibility - like Maison Loucheur designed by Le Corbusier - space is used in a more efficient way. The flexibility of folding furniture and sliding walls allows different configurations for day and night. Le Corbusier argued that the purchaser in this case was paying for 46 square meters of space but through the cleverness of the design was getting 71 square meters of effective space6. In Kyoto-Model and other “soft use” buildings like it - you don’t get that kind of flexibility. In the day-to-day life, Kyoto-Type is not flexible. It offers a framework within which you adjust the house yourselves. One must also remember that choosing the carpet colour or the frontage of kitchen cabinets can’t quite be called flexibility7, even though this is one of the aspects the architect of Kyoto-Type calls attention to8. It does mean that you with Kyoto-Type can end up in “someone elses space” without possibility to adapt it to your own lifestyle - due to lack of knowledge or no budget. This is however always the case when it comes to examples in hard use buildings.

Interior view facing the backside and garden 6


Kyoto-Type provides a kind of soft use flexibility. While the framework can be called hard - the architect is the one who provides the framework, after all - the possibility to make later alterations without much effort makes it an example of soft use flexibility. It is the user who defines the options. Soft use flexibility has been done in different ways, Villa La Rotonda and Bedre Billigere Boliger are examples of this. All achieving the same general goal, but still in distinct ways. Common for all of these, is that one could call it adaptable housing. Housing that adjusts over the long term, not in the everyday life.

Villa Almerico Capra Villa La Rotonda Andrea Palladio Vicenza, Italy 1592

Backside terrace on the border between inside and ouside - can be transformed into a regular room should the need arise 8

Plan drawing of Villa La Rotonda 7

Villa La Rotonda tackles the concept of soft use flexibility in a different way. The rooms are static - but their functions are not. The layout with entrances from 4 different directions erase the hierarchy inbetween the rooms, and any space can be used for any purpose. This is of course more flexible than Kyoto-Type since no big operation is required when new needs arise. However - it is less flexible since all the walls in Villa Rotonda are as static as only the three main walls in Kyoto-Type, the structure.

Bedre Billigere Boliger JUUL | FROST Arkitekter Ølby, Denmark 2008


1, 2, 8 - Shigenori Uoya Architects and Associates. 3, 7 - J. Till & T. Schneider, ‘Flexible housing: opportunities and limits’, Arq: Architectural Research Quarterly, vol. 9, no. 2, 2005, p. 162 - 164. 4 - S. Brand, How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built, Phoenix, London, 1997, p. 13. 5, 6 - J. Till & T. Schneider, ‘Flexible housing: The means to the end’, Arq: Architectural Research Quarterly, vol. 9, no. 3, 2005. 9 - Juul | Frost, Bedre Billigere Boliger, juulfrost.dk, <http://www. juulfrost.dk/projekter/060/>, 1 October 2014 10 - B. Leupen & H. Mooij, Housing Design - A Manual, NAi Publishers, Rotterdam, 2011, p. 321.


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 - Shigenori Uoya Architects and Associates, photographs by Kei Sugino 7 - Wikimedia Commons, <http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/ File:Palladio_Rotonda_planta_Scamozzi_1778.jpg>, 1 October 2014 9 - Jon Bossuyt 10 - Juul | Frost, Bedre Billigere Boliger, juulfrost.dk, <http://www. juulfrost.dk/projekter/060/#8>, 1 October 2014

Diagram of a wooden floor with walls placed afterwards 9

The dwellings were designed as cheap and flexible starter homes for young people and families. The project is based on the Greek notion of space - “Chora” - where the room’s existence and quality is seen in relation to the objects placed in the room9. The floors are made out of solid wood that stretches from wall to wall. Partition walls and kitchen units will be placed on this solid wooden floor. This ensures that future rearrangements of the apartment layout will not result in strange grooves or cracks in the floor10. This is the same soft use concept as Kyoto-Type, but in another setting, with a different structure, and taken even further since the apartment in it’s basic state exists without inner walls.

Inside one of the apartments at Bedre Billigere Boliger 10

Profile for Advanced Architectural Design

Dwelling Typologies  

This publication is a collective outcome of the second task in the Advanced Architectural Design master studio at Lund School of Architectur...

Dwelling Typologies  

This publication is a collective outcome of the second task in the Advanced Architectural Design master studio at Lund School of Architectur...

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