This past semester I was given the opportunity to study abroad in Scandinavia. The premise of our study aboard experience was three weeks of travel which allowed for our studio to get a better understanding of a building’s material and the intent the architect had in designing a building in a particular way. The three weeks of travel took our studio across Scandinavia, including studies in Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Our final six weeks of studio were held in Aarhus, Denmark where we were tasked in designing a market hall in an industrial region of the city. Throughout or travels I noticed a great use of brick buildings with steel structure; however, many of my favorite buildings to study were buildings that featured timber structure. I focused on how the timber integrated well with other materials that were apart of a buildings structure or overall material palette.
In the design of my building I first studied the region that the building’s site was in and the types of materials used in the surrounding area. My study led me to the conclusion that the location of our market hall’s site was in an industrial area of Aarhus, Denmark. I began with an overall concept of what I believed a market hall should be and defined it as a gathering space that is welcoming to everyone. I then looked at the building at a different scale, focusing on what materials would work best for the building type and for the region I was located in. I determined that brick was the best choice for most of the buildings skin and wanted my structure to be timber.
Denmark is a country that highly values their forest and I wanted to have my public market to reflect that through its structure. The building’s skin is brick masonry which is also a nod to the industrial area in which my building site is located. Also, on my travels brick was a very notable material used in a lot of the architecture studied. Denmark is home to many pine species like eastern white pine and spruce-pine-fir; however, my project is in a country that does not have these specific pine species. I did treat the construction of my project in a similar way as you would find in eastern North America, where these species can be found. Eastern White Pine is a valuable timber that I decided would be best suited in the furniture of the market hall so the interior of my building could be a warm environment. Denmark is also known for its furniture so I know that would also welcome more into my building. The Danish forests are mostly dominated by conifers which make up approximately half of the total forest area. Another large percentage of the forest (about 45 %) are comprised of deciduous trees.
Denmark is conscious of a materials life cycle and I wanted to take the same approach, especially with me having a larger building size. Although some of my building’s structure is hidden, I leave some timber exposed to show the vast size and height of my building. The use of wood and masonry allowed for my building to create a highly irregular building form and allowed for me to expose the structure while retaining high fire resistance. My structure follows a rigid grid, but I created my for from the regulating lines developed from the urban edge of the buildings surrounding my building the future development that is also happening in my site’s location. I wanted to be very conscious of my building’s impact to the site both through its environmental impact and its social impact. While I traveled across Scandinavia, I noticed the large amount of homeless people and that impacted me in researching non-profits that help the homeless. The idea of a market space is to create a gathering space where all are welcomed, so why not feed the homeless in a public market/ public space. The non-profit organization I would love to help is World Hope. “We use market-based, community-driven, enterprise solutions to empower, protect, and build resiliency”. I found these words inspiring and they work to change the world in a positive way, and I believe I should be responsible in my architectural design in daily life to improve the world, like the way World Hope does.