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Architectural Design: Assembly Semester 2, 2009/10 Sigurd Strøm Nørsterud


Project 3 Strangely Familiar House for a Tapesty Weaver

Interpretation of Project Programme: The design of a private house must consider the assembly of spaces in relation to movement, activities and rituals, orientation, materials and thresholds. This ultimately influence the way in which people live. With a client working from home as a tapestry weaver, a public programme is introduced as well. The weaver requires a studio space to work and hold small workshops with visitors, and a gallery for displaying tapestries and meeting potensial customers. An important aspect is the combination or separation of work from the private accomodation, required for a growing family.

Inspiring precedent: Annie Residence by Bercy Chen Studios As a house built for two families it reflects the need of division in its two parallel pavillions, but is still connected through a glass hallway with walkway atop. Clever use of glass, screens and blinds, steel mesh with plants and site features, regulate the privacy of each space and integrates the garden with the interior.

Design Development: The separation of living and working in two rectangular buildings was the starting point for the overall design. These thereby divided the site into several zones of access. The connection between was developed from various walkways and bridges, to a long ramp serving as gallery. Assemby of spaces on two floors was determined by appropriate orientation for sunlight and views, with northlight for studio, morning sun for bedrooms, views from living/kitchen on second floor etc. A concept of weaving the circulation created impractical angles within rooms, which was resolved by loosening up the building envelope to refuse compromising the internal spaces.

Sigurd Strøm Nørsterud | Architectural Design: Assembly | semester 2, 2009-10


Roof level

Initial concept diagram By weaving the circulation through the house, all major spaces are assembled along a single path extending from the private access road, through bedrooms, living areas, gallery and studio, to the garden and public park.

Timber frame construction Gallery ramp of concrete

The sequence of spaces also resemble the activities of the weaver throughout a day. Vertical bars resembling the warp of a loom as a recurring motive will tie it together conceptually, at any point either holding up the path or supporting it from below.

Private Work Public First floor and gallery ramp

Loadbearing walls of brick and concrete

Circulation and private/work diagram Separate entrances terminate in the studio, as a threshold into the weavers workday.

Exterior access zones The exterior spaces are divided into a sequence of public, semi-public and private gardens by existing hedges, fences, and the intervention of the building. These thresholds gives obscure views of what lies behind.

Ground floor

Exploded isonometric drawing | scale 1:200


Site plan and landscaping | scale 1:200 The site is located in a corner of Victoria Park in Trinity, Edinburgh, on a triangular patch reaching out into the park. Surrounded by a large hedge, fences and tall deciduous trees, it retains privacy and enclose a “secret� garden within. A discreet public entrance gate at the tip of the site leads into a quiet oasis of the park. Landscaping and benches invite to explore and relax. A water feature weaves between the studio and main house visually linking to the private back yard.

Location plan | scale 1:1250

Inspirational observations on site visit The view from the park is restricted by a large hedge, but a sightline to an existing white concrete wall is mainained. Large windows in the main gallery / living space display the larger tapestries. Close-up of the hedge reveal a weaving of several levels of enclosure. The existing secret garden at the site is maintained, but discretely opened up as a space to be explored by the public.


Section along ramp connection gallery and studio | scale 1:100 A single fllight of stairs provides access from the isolated studio building to the main house. Smaller tapestires can be displayed along the ramp, terminating in a main gallery and living space for larger ones. From the outside it is perceived as an “extermal� element of different material and angle from the rest of the house.

Section through core of private accomodation | scale 1:100 The ramp is projecting through the roof of the bedroom and bathroom, but still maintaining ceiling height appropriate for the use of the space. On the first floor, the kitchen and dining area overlooks the park and has access to a roof terrace atop the studio.

Plan of ground- and first floor | scale 1:100 The ground floor consists of private accomodation and the separate studio space, oriented to take advantage of daylight. Both have access to the back yard and a small terrace. The stair in the studio divides the weavers workspace fom teaching facilities, but with visual contact to the entrance. A spiral staircase leads to the first floor with kitchen, dining and living/gallery area. Views are provided over both the park and the back yard, and the gallery has large skylights overhead.


Context elevation of public face from SSW | scale 1:100 The facade towards the park is partly concealed by the existing hedge, thereby decreasing the buildings presence and impact on the site. The ground flloor and garden is not visible. Tilting and angular roofplanes give movement to the composition with south-facing strips of windows along the gallery ramp for reflected light setting.

Context elevation of obscured view from NNE | scale 1:100 The backside of the building is sheltered by large trees and a high fence, allowing only an obscured view from the outside and complete privacy within the back yard. The walls shift at angles with the front facade, creating a “blocky� expression. This also responds to the plan of the adjacent row houses.


Perspective of private back yard The combination of brick masonry, conrete and vertical timber cladding express both its structural assembly and the function of the space within. Horizontal and vertical stip windows provide light and privacy into the bedrooms, while a double height glazing frame the spiral staircase. The roof terrace above the studio is accessed across a concrete bridge.

Perspective of interior living spaces and gallery The threshold between the gallery and living accomodation is implied by a small change of level and a curtain wall. The thin vertical metal bars resemble the warp of a loom, subdividing the space. Exhibiting tapestries along the ramp and opening a small viewing niche halfway, combines it into both a path and a place.


Images of physical model at 1:50 scale


Project 3a Precedent Studies Barnes House (1991-93) by Patkau Architects

Roof construction

The Barnes House is located on the shoreline of Vancouver Island overlooking the Strait of Georgia and the mainland of British Colombia. It is built for an artistic couple with a dedicated studio space on the ground floor.

First floor and terrace

Cross section

Sitting on a rocky outcrop surrounded by dense forest, it deliberately frames both the magnificent views and the immidiate surroundings of mossy rocks and tree trunks. The Patkau architects explores the relationship between modification of the ground and the shaping of the roofwork. Its construction further expresses the tectonic quality of the materials chosen and the way they are used. Two concrete pillars supports the complex framework of timber rafters in the roof, with black steel details.

Longitudinal section Ground floor

A maquette of the roof helped understanding the complex shape of tilting planes. As a precedent, the Barnes House serve as an excellent example of integration with the site, use of materials, assembly of spaces on an open plan and the fluidity of circulation between.

Plans and sections diagrams | scale 1:200

Group project in collaboration with Olle Blomquist Sigurd Strøm Nørsterud | Architectural Design: Assembly | semester 2, 2009-10


Project 2 Digital Skin Immateriality in architecture

Perspective of interior living spaces and gallery As a different approach to architecture we created a digital skin to be projected onto a building envelope. To explore the potensial of our connections across the world, I created a webpage to store the remote location of its visitors and “connect the dots” to its ancestry of sharing. The result was an animation mapping over 120 entries and their locations, from within the UK, Norway, Germany, France, the US, Uruguay, Hong Kong and Brazil, after just 24 hours online. The connections are drawn on the map in the same order and frequency as they were registered. After the exhibition it has continued to expand to several new locations from different visitors, and at time of writing seems to have halted at in total 163 unique entries.

Sharing the experiment through personal blog and social media

Group project | tutor Soledad Garcia Ferrari Sigurd Strøm Nørsterud | Architectural Design: Assembly | semester 2, 2009-10


Project 1 Material world Architectural assemblies of material

Sigurd Strøm Nørsterud | Architectural Design: Assembly | semester 2, 2009-10


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Longitudinal elevation/section, rendered at day and night | scale 1:50

Brick Modesty Box The ritual of changing and washing

Interpretation of the Project Brief A park for sports and leisure requires a spaces for visitors changing and washing. It must provide adequate privacy from the public realm through dividing and enclosing walls, while admitting light daylight from the outside. The tectonic nature of brick relates to the intimacy of the programme and its assembly of rythm and symmetry/asymmetri should be considered. An interesting aspect is the interaction between the two separate parts for male and female, which can be resolved in several ways.

Field work: Bricklaying

Inspiration: Glass brick

Design Proposal Using alternating layers of semi-transparent glass brick and masonry brick, the changing rooms explores the possibilities of transparency in a sequence of privacy. The linear building accommodates a meandering path from the public park, through a semi-public entrance court and semi-private changing area, to the private shower compartments. A glass brick screened cavity divides the building in two, separating the male and female showers. This space functions as a shared lightwell or lightbeacon, depending on time of day, yet is inaccessible to both. The semi-transparent properties of frosted glass brick distorts the passing light to ripples that may indicate movement on the other side. The masonry brick is also textured to seem dissolving. Existing trees are incorporated as vertical markers for each of the entrances, contrasting with the horizontal emphasis of the building.

Images of 1:50 model Plan and roof plan | scale 1:50 Section through shower area | scale 1:10


Steel Flower kiosk The ritual of working

Interpretation of the Project Brief An unused space on a corner of an urban junction is the site for a new flower kiosk. The programme incorporates the ritual of working and must accomodate the staff as well as inviting potensial buyers. The flexibility of a steel frame structure allows the space to be opened up to the surroundings, and closed when not in use during night. The arrangement of the structure in relation to pedestrian paths and how it connects inside to outside space, is of particular importance to the success of the proposal.

Inspirational images

Soap film model

“Secret� gateway

Suspended membrane

Design Proposal Taking a different approach to the site, the existing flat roofed building lends an oppurtunity to create a new semi-public space sheltered by a wire suspended tensile membrane on slender steel columns. Providing access to the roof garden with a flight of stairs, the display of flowers and plants becomes a destination itself as a calm retreat. The store counter is located on street level, movable to stow away underneath the stair at the end of the day. The proposal also improves the site by providing public accessible toilets.

Drawing collage on image of 1:50 site model Ground level plan | scale 1:50 Roof level plan | scale 1:50


Concrete Boathouse The ritual of leisure and socializing

Interpretation of the Project Brief A small rowing club needs storage, viewing and socializing facilities next to an inland river. It meanders across the site, creating riverbanks and “eddies“ with stillwater. The topography necessitate modification of the ground for boats to access the water, yet considering the changing water level of floods and droughts. Concrete as material touch upon aspects of solids and voids, and permit a high level of structural potensial.

Inspiration: Canoe Houses on the Solomon Islands Large tent structures were used to store sacred canoes for bonito fishing, a male initiation ritual at the Solomon Islands. Simple, yet monumental.

Design Proposal Taking inspiration from a simple triangular shape, the boathouse has been abstracted and fragmented to a series of angular planes resembling origami. From the entrance, stairs descent into the ground to a lower level where the canoes and kayaks are stored in slots inserted into the walls. As the planes twist, the triangle is inverted into a V-shape descending into the river. Large steps at sharp angles to eachother, gradually descent into the water and thereby accommodate any change of the water level. Approaching from upstream it is percieved as a monumental tent structure with cantilevered platforms for overlooking the river activity. It sits embedded in the ground and water, yet appeares as an interesting object in the landscape.

Graphic rendering of perspective from upstream Plan of lower level | scale 1:50 Section and elevation of descent to the water | scale 1:50


Stone Bothy The ritual of resting and sleeping

Interpretation of the Project Brief The bothy is characterized by its austerity in providing shelter from the elements and a place to rest and sleep. At the same time it’s relation to and “feeling” of nature is essential as an experience. Stone construction can be as traditional solid material or contemporary stone cladding, and its assembly, type and texture considered thereafter. The proposal should reflect solid, void and poché spaces. All facilities are provided for the elemental and practical demands of warmth, hygiene and comfort of its guests.

Field work: Visit to St. Anthony’s Chapel and Blackness Castle Excursions to traditional Scottish stone buildings gave some impression of the solidness of construction and vaulting techniques used to create voids. Design Proposal As a shelter providing temporary accommodation for mountain hikers, the bothy provides an enclosed bedroom and an “external” space protected from the elements, but open to the south for filtered views and sunlight. The central fireplace is double sided to heat both rooms simultaneously. The massive stone contrasts with reinforced glazed openings, while its niches function as internal seating. The roof’s double curvature give the structure a distinctive feature and provide a potensial for rainwater collection.

Rendering of bothy in setting Plan | scale 1:50 Sections | scale 1:50


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Timber Tea House The ritual of drinking and eating

Interpretation of the Project Brief A modest timber structure serves for the ritual of preparing and drinking food and tea, with a japanese touch. The beautiful site and framing of distant views is an essential aspect informing the design. This requires a platform raised above ground level.

Design Proposal Developed from a set of overlapping geometrical forms, the tea house consist of three different levels connected by a curving flight of stairs. From the entrance level, a visitor ascend to a platform for the host’s tea preparation. The upper tea room’s pitched ceiling urge the guests to sit on the strawmat floor covering with embedded tables. The orientation on the site creates a continuation of the path, guided by discovery of new views. Leaning over the loch, windows provide framed views to important features of the site and encourage contemplation. The construction is timber frame with exposed hemp and limecrete insulation, emphasizing simplicity and natural materials. The external cladding is spaced vertical timbers.

Context collage with section drawing | scale 1:50 Plan of entrance level | scale 1:50 Plan of tea room and roof | scale 1:50



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