Project 4: Ice:Station

Ice Station:

Continuing the exploration of “Trans:Formation” we now turn our attention to a more extreme “Transitional Landscape” to directly addresses the paradoxical seasonal transformation of Suomenlinna from isolated island in the summer to ice-bound but fully connected city quarter in the winter; from an independent, abundant, fertile and plentiful landscape to a merciless, hermetic, but interconnected one.

The Ice Station is a proposal to house a community which taps directly into the transitional landscape to forge links between divergent summer and winter activities, that share a common set of tools, skills and maybe spaces, to develop a proposal that contributes to local “abundance” in all seasons through production, exchange and interchange, and forms a critical and appropriate relationship with the landscape, history and territory of Suomenlinna.

The Ice Station will be an interchange between local resources, environmental conditions, tools, crops or knowledge, in exchange for a contribution to the city: goods, energy, light, food, drink, or joy, supported by the necessary infrastructure to make it work; your first task will be to define this brief.

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Client:

The clients for the Ice Station will both live and work at the ‘station: to develop a small community around the work of the Ice Station and enlivening the exiting community on Suomenlinna.  Your proposal could address and respond to an existing group on the island or grow a new one.

Your choice of clients will of course be reflected in the program of spaces and activities, but if you already have an idea of who your clients might be, this should help inform your choice of site and the appropriate scale of your Ice Station proposals.

3rd year students will be encouraged to choose clients and activities that involve at least 10 people that allows the proposals to address the wider city.  2nd year students will be encouraged to find clients and activities with only four or five people which implies a more intimate scale proposal.  Being specific and precise about the clients will give credibility and definition to the scope and reach of your proposals.

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Site:

Your Ice Station located on Suomenlinna will occupy a site chosen by you while we are staying on the island on the Field trip. The key tasks for the field trip are to find, explore and document your Ice Station site; and by using your ”Portable Instrument” to bring something your ideas and readings of Oxford to Finland.

The location of the Ice Station on Suomenlinna is up to you, but your choice of site, strategy, and occupation will need to be based on an acute conceptual, physical and emotional reading of place and potential within it’s specific site and city conditions; consider:

Topography

Existing occupation of the site – buildings/landscape/use/people

Adjacent occupation of the site – buildings/landscape/use/people

Prevailing weather conditions

Environmental conditions

The nature of the ground

Archeology of the site

Availability and proximity of resources

Current use of the site

Historical use of the site

Seasonal change of the site

Historical connections to the site, city and territory

Associations with the site

Views from the site

Views of the site on the island and from the city

Local fauna and flora (what is growing or living on the site)

But as with the “Instrument” project your starting point must be to investigate, interrogate and document what changes on your chosen site.  Look back at the brief for the instrument and think how you might calibrate, test, document, and measure your observations to develop an acute and specific site reading.

While on the field trip you will need to intensively survey the site and test your observations in order to bring away with you all the material and evidence required to draw a measured site plan and site section through both the idea and fabric of place.

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Brief:

The core of the Ice Station brief has two key components: Seasonal Production (summer and winter conditions) and Seasonal Living (which is more than just somewhere to sleep)

The Instrument and Autio:Tupa projects identified some of the possible resources within a city, to define the “Seasonal Production” of the Ice Station you will need to identify the resources/ opportunity/skills, establish a method/process of production (there may be existing local precedents), and link this to an alternative outcome or production in response to changing seasonal conditions.

An intimate knowledge of the production process, timescales, and quantities will be critical to sizing, designing and organizing the Ice Station both in terms of brief and architectural strategy.  And so a critical step in defining your Ice Station will be to do-it/make-it yourself, documenting:

The Resources: materials, crop, energy, skill or opportunity

The Production: process, tools, materials, quantities, necessary environmental conditions

The Adaptation: changing seasonal activities

The Seasonal Living component of the Ice Station is equally important: living within and benefiting from proximity to the productive process and a beautiful place, and responding to both.  As the production of the Ice Station responds to the seasons, so will the living: adapting to the changing seasonal opportunities, the production, and responding to the bye-products of each. Since the production will need several people, the Ice Station will become a community.

The intertwining of the Seasonal Production and Living needs to be captured in a single drawing or model documenting all the processes, sequences and adaptations to become a visual brief for the project, which is then spatial-ized at the scale of your proposal and brought to site.

Your proposals will include spaces for:

  • Receiving, storing and processing the Resources ready for production
  • Production spaces, transforming the Resources and dealing with by-products
  • Distribution or sale of the produce
  • Living accommodation
  • Community and welfare spaces

The organization and spaces of the Ice Station will be defined by the activities, the seasonal response, the landscape, the weather,  the materials, the machinery, movement, noise, smells, and atmosphere.

The architecture is expected to reflect the activities, seasons and their inter-connections with place to establish a critical spatial dialogue between the proposal and the seasonal city and transitional landscape.

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Technology:

As a sustainable 21st century building the Ice Station will need to address the question of autonomy:

Autonomous:    Grow, harvest and produce it’s own energy, water, and resources

Or

Community:      Sourcing, and encouraging local productivity as part of a wider network

Linking the Ice Station to it’s “terroir” and sense of place, will be the materials and methods of construction, which may be a hybrid of local and homespun, self-grown and harvested, permanent, temporary or experimental, or just deliberately alien, each as you deem to be appropriate to your definition of an appropriate architecture where “necessity is the mother of invention.”

In William McDonough’s and Michael Braungart’s “Cradle to Cradle” the analogy is to a cherry tree, which produces a natural abundance in excess of necessity in response to the changing seasons and conditions: the remains from each process positively contributes to further abundance in the next process, both of the cherry tree and other local and associated organisms – there is no waste.

Your response to the materials, construction, structure and environmental design of the Ice Station will be in parallel and intertwined with conceptual spatial design process, to seek to be a synthesis between production, bye-production, performance, people, and place.

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Method:

The site plan and section will establish the location and capture your conceptual, physical and emotional reading of your chosen site, which you will translate into a highly tuned site model on which to develop your proposals.

Your documentation of the intertwined activities of Seasonal Production and Living will be developed into a 3-dimensional spatial brief and strategic organization informed by your reading of site.

Your initial technological response (materials/construction/structure/environment) to the site opportunities and building activities will be developed into a conceptual model informed by your reading of the site.

Negotiating the strategic spatial brief with a strategic response to the site and your technology concept model will bring you to an initial proposition to be presented at the Interim Review.

From your initial proposition you will need to work:

Inwards through models and drawings to test and develop the final arrangement of spaces in terms of spatial experience, process and occupation

And          Outwards through models and drawings to test and develop the final relationship to the transitional landscape and the city.

And          In parallel to test and develop your final ideas for the materiality, structure, construction and environmental design, to inform your architecture

The process will define proposal.

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