Residential design, history and time; abstracts
URSZULA KOZMINSKA (Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark): Materiality and time in Danish sustainable architecture
Successful examples of sustainable architecture are developed as negotiations between the programme’s adequacy, buildings’ functionality, materials’ quality, environmental efficiency and the aesthetics of chosen solutions. Materials are often chosen at the later stage of the design process, and they are adjusted to the previously created architectural concept. This latter appropriation of the image often subdues the materiality of buildings (Bohme, 2016). The discussion about material choices in sustainable architecture involves the use of i.a., natural and locally sourced materials (Ashby, 2013), reused elements (Addis, 2006; Hebel et al., 2014), recyclable resources (Crowther, 2001) or dismantable systems (Vandkunsten, 2018). Present debate concerning the life-cycles of building elements focuses on their performance but often the design of currently built buildings does not address the issue of passing time and changing appearance of selected architectural solutions, which seems to deny the fact that ‘architecture carries within itself the traces of its future destruction’ (Derrida, 1990; Crains, Jacobs, 2014).
This paper aims to investigate, through the literature review, case studies’ analysis and interviews, how Danish sustainable architecture addresses the issue of passing time, changing qualities of materials and its evolving appearance. Are those issues explored by architects? Is thinking about patterns of usage, maintenance practices, time-related changes addressed in the design processes? Is the process of materials’ ageing considered as a value? Are traces of passing time and patina investigated in relation to the aesthetics of chosen architectural solutions? This article presents how materiality and time are currently addressed in Danish architectural practice.
Keywords: sustainable architecture, materiality, aesthetics, age value, design process
RANALD LAWRENCE (Sheffield School of Architecture, United Kingdom): Learning from Precedent – The (ir)reproducibility of home
This paper argues that precedent should play a fundamental role in the development of sustainable homes. It will describe how the design of two energy efficient family homes in Winchester, England, adopt a distinctive approach to environmental precedent.
The modern house is substantially a product of numerical calculation, such as the modeling of performance data and cost-benefit analysis. Construction (materials, u-values) and processes (energy use, assembly, airtightness) are quantified and assessed to ensure they achieve design objectives based on recognised standards of performance (Energy Performance Certificate: A; Code for Sustainable Homes: level 4).
However this technical analysis alone cannot inform the initial creative idea. The design of these houses was informed by intuitive reference to a range of diverse precedents, including the work of Alvar Aalto, Sverre Fehn, Robert Venturi and Gabi Fagan.
The asymmetric roofs of Aalto’s Housing for Ex-service Men in Tampere (1941) define thresholds to front and side doors, and a sheltered private space to the back overlooking the garden. Fehn’s Villa Norrkoping (1964) was designed around circadian rhythms, with day and night-time spaces defined by glazed corners (eyes) and alcoves, animated by daylight and shadow. Venturi’s Mother’s House (1964) symbolises in its idiosyncratic form and modest material treatment the pragmatic and egalitarian promise of a house and identity of one’s own. The stepping plan of Fagan’s Paradys (2003) exploits its solar orientation, admitting morning sun into the kitchen and framing sea views of the sunset in the bedrooms. The house is set into the dunes below the road, reflecting the topography of the Western Cape coastline.
This paper will describe how these two subtly different Winchester houses borrow from each of these examples to reconcile technical requirements with the poetic possibilities inherent in imagining other environments, informed by the specific climate and conditions of the site.
Keywords: precedent, housing design, environment, technics, poetics
CATHELIJNE NUIJSINK (ETH Zürich, Switzerland): Negotiating Comfort in the Metropolis: Peter Cook, Toyo Ito and the Shinkenchiku Residential Design Competition, 1977–1988
The rapidly growing Japanese city, and in particular the capital Tokyo, has been a major preoccupation for Japanese architects throughout the post-Second World War era. From charred ruins at the end of WWII, to bustling mega cities by the 1970s, the societal and economical transformations underlying the Japanese city have played a crucial role in house design; resulting in radical house experiments that have feverishly embraced, internalised or antagonised the urban ‘chaos.’ Emblematic examples of architect-designed houses in dialogue with the city are, for example, Takamitsu Azuma’s Tower House (1966), Toyo Ito’s White U (1971), Hiroshi Hara’s Hara House (1974), Atelier Bow Wow’s Ani House (1996) and Sou Fujimoto’s House N (2008e).
While an analysis of these radical house designs would suffice to explain how house design in Japan has evolved in response to socio-economical changes, this paper challenges a more complex, intertwined interpretation of the house-city dialectic. Using the annual Shinkenchiku Residential Design Competition (1965-present) as a case study, it aims to illustrate the way a decades-long discussion among architects in Japan about what makes a ‘good home’ opened up to, and was simultaneously activated by, foreign ideas.
In particular, the case study focuses on the 1977 and 1988 editions of the competition, in which judges Peter Cook, respectively Toyo Ito, both challenged architects to come up with new housing proposals attaining ‘comfort in the metropolis’. Using a synchronic approach, the study explores the competition brief, the particulars of the multiple winning entries, the judges’ final remarks, and the after effects of the competition, to understand how notions of ‘comfort’, ‘house’ and ‘metropolis’ were negotiated across multiple cultures at a particular moment. Next, by juxtaposing the outcomes of both editions, this study simultaneously provides a diachronic analysis of how architects have conceived the house and the city differently over time. As such, this paper opens up new, cross-cultural perspectives across time and place on the ‘fundamental human need of comfort’ whilst living in a metropolis.
Keywords: architect-designed houses, new ideas on living, cross-cultural, intertwined history
KSENIA YAKUNICHEVA (Tampere University, Finland): Architecture as a design object
The paper is based on the background concept of my ongoing PhD dissertation featuring a man-made living space as an intermediary in the interaction between the human being and the open nature (N. Yakunichev). As such intermediary this living space contains the organizational features of both – the open nature (a landscape) and the organism of a human; however under the impact of a human factor progressively develops towards the organism-likeness (E. Kapp, P. Florensky, W.R. Catton, M. McLuhan).
Since this concept unites all man-made environment as following the same pattern of organizational development, it is possible to discuss the actuality of such tendency as the gradual dissolution of previously strict boundaries between fields of design practice. The ability to operate by the principles of structural organization allows one designer creating a very wide spectrum of objects, from jewellery to architecture. An example here is the Ora Ito brand.
It is possible to guess that this tendency is based on the growing meaning of a human being as a user of man-made environment, which also affects contemporary architecture. Previously it represented itself rather an enclosure with the inner space structurally analogous to a landscape bounded by walls. Today starting out from the human being, their needs and own morphological features, architecture “…develops from within outward…” (F. L. Wright), and thus becomes an ergonomic anthropomorphous design object. An example here becomes the ‘Furniture house’ project (1964) by Kenji Ekuan, where the configuration of the dwelling exterior is defined by the furniture arrangement and its changes, alike the form of a human body covered by skin is defined by its “content” and thus can change.
The research analyses the described idea, its meaning, development through history and perspectives by applying the methods of literature review, comparative analysis and systematical-structural analysis.
Keywords: architecture, design, user-centered design, anthropomorphism