Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays!

See you next year for more spectacular architecture and adventures!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Forts of Fanaticism

Forts of Fanaticism is our entry in the Europan 12 competition, the world's largest architecture competition which is organized every second year. Our bold entry was awarded with a special honorable mention for the Swedish site Kalmar where we proposed five different settlements at this rural site for five extreme lifestyles where its enthusiastic inhabitants can dwell and prosper with people that share their specific passion in life.

In the past twenty years the most radical change in Europe has been the diminishing power of borders. Psychical and political borders between countries has dissolved, bridges and tunnels has been built and the cost for air transportation has reduced and is now equal to a shorter train ride between two major cities in Sweden. This has led to a closer contact between European cultures and the younger generation of Europeans travel, work and study all over Europe and speak in most countries fluent English, thus making communication with each other very easy.
When the national psyche and the borders of countries becomes less interesting and important, the citizens starts to make their own definitions of how they see themselves and what they want to belong to. This specialization and search for each and everyone’s individuality can take various forms and with the Internet that has made the world smaller, one can now communicate with people all around the world sharing the same interest and beliefs. This has led to a Europe that can be seen as one major country. A country where many people and with the technological tools to team up with likeminded has made a flourishing arena for different types of fanatics to connect.
We see it in right wing and left wing organizations teaming up across borders in Europe but also in people with different interest sharing the love for their specific subject across old borders. With so many people that can easily move and communicate, a new market for people to join in physical settlements has been created. Because if you are enthusiastic about a certain thing, why not surround yourself with others that share this passion?
These new kinds of dedicated settlements can be built anywhere in Europe even in the far distant Kalmar region. These settlements can also be architectural more extravagant and Utopian than architecture erected to please a local crowd.
As each built community are tailor made for that specific interest, these full time hobbies can evolve even further.
In this proposal we have designed five forts where common interests in a specific subject has been the main drive of the design. The forts are made for people with a common love, but love spreads and these hubs of intense specialization will of course be enjoyed by local citizens of Kalmar as well, that will have a highly interesting smorgasbord of possibilities and advanced thinking that will enrich the whole region.

Forum Floresco
Forum Floresco is a fortress for those who love gardening. The building complex is designed as a circle of 60 row houses. Each row house is roughly 200 sqm with an extra space for gardening of 230sqm. Each row house has a flexible plan with a staircase and a bathroom core, making the house easy to divide into 5 apartments sharing one kitchen. The complex can in total then have 300 apartments at its maximum. The extra space includes underground parking and plant storage
for plants who sleeps during the winter, a green house on the roof for exotic plants and a garden pointing towards the center of the complex. 
The central garden can be divided into several smaller gardens. Where people living on the upper floors will have their gardens further to the center and still be able to see their gardens from their balconies. Each garden is divided by a hedge giving privacy while sitting down and social interaction possibilities while standing up.
The house complex has a central square where all of the citizens nearby can buy locally grown crops. The center is reached by several small paths between the hedges. In the squares center a high water sprinkler rises. The sprinkler can make a perfect half square of water, irrigating the central garden when needed.

The Herring Bounds
Many people dream of the picturesque fishing village with its narrow streets and dark tar drenched wooden houses with its rich smell that blends so well with the salty wind from the sea and the sound of seagulls.
The site’s proximity to a beautiful archipelago would be idle for a fishing community where anyone with the dream of catching fish as a living can set up their new life.
The buyer of these houses will have a private boat harbor just under their house as well as a place to park their car underneath. The ground floor can be used for commercial use, to sell the newly caught fish or the smoked herring or other whitefish. The rooftop is equipped with a sturdy barbeque/fish smoke.
A lighthouse stands tall to guide the boats around treacherous cays.
Each house has shutters that can be closed or open as seems fit.
During the summer time hordes of tourists and citizens of Kalmar will probably wander around the narrow streets and the central square where it is possible to buy fish direct from the boats.
During winter the village will have a more closed appearance.

The Stairs of Stamina
Being healthy and exercise can take up oceans of time in a person’s life and many people organize their whole existence around being physically active.
By creating a community where this lifestyle is embraced to the fullest, the inhabitants can enjoy a rich social life and at the same time engage themselves wholeheartedly in sports.
The complex is a cut pyramid shape with stairs going around it, creating a great place to train and also a great place to sit around observing the neighbors.
A ski jump tower and three stairs connects at the top of the cut out pyramid.
In the middle of the complex, under the connecting stairs, is a multi-functional arena where it is possible to see various physical activities take place, either by the citizens or other professionals.
When there is nothing going on at the arena, a large jumbotron with a rig of lights just under the top platform, shows sports on the huge screens.
The apartments consists of a corridor where one can run back and forth to warm up before exercising, a bathroom unit with a sauna at one end of the apartment, and a bedroom at the other end. In the middle is a large open space with a kitchen, a large sofa and plenty of space for gym equipment. Every room has large mirrors to show off the great bodies of the citizens and the floor is treated with a rubber material that is nice to exercise on.
In the core of the stairs there is a large indoor space for different sports that the inhabitants and the citizens of Kalmar can take pleasure in anytime of the day.

Motorville is a compact, stacked typical Swedish residential neighborhood for the flourishing Swedish motor culture called “Raggare”, a lifestyle deriving from the Rockabilly culture. The interest for motors and the stacking of houses makes it possible to avoid the urban sprawl that is usually connected with these types of settlements. The complex consists of three streets stacked upon each other with 60 homes on each streets, reducing the footprint by a third to a normal street. Each home has a 170 sqm divided in 30 sqm of double parking at the top floor. 30 sqm of living and 30 sqm of garden on the second floor and 60 sqm of living and 20 sqm of garden on the first floor. The top floor is a space for storing your third car, boat or other big toys and gadgets that “Raggare” usually have. There is also some space over for the other surrounding inhabitants to store some gadgets if needed. Since “Raggare” loves the motor culture the house is placed over the old highway south of Rinkabyholm, a place where other settlements would not conceptually fit. The “Raggar culture” is a unique and spectacular culture only existing in Scandinavia and it is time that this culture is celebrated with an architectural statement; a power house for motors.

True fanatics seldom need architecture, they just need their primary tools for conducting their specific subject of interest. This high-rise is designed for the computer orientated youth living their social life through the web. Living your life and sharing your interest through a computer screen reduces the need of architecture to a minimum. This life doesn’t need daylight, bedrooms, living rooms or other normative rooms programed for social interaction inside your home. These kids doesn’t even need a double bed because the most likely will not share a normal relationship. They will have cybersex via their avatars instead. Therefor the high-rise provides only the ascetic needs for keeping the body running. It has a shower, a toilet and a small kitchenette which is enough to survive. The luxury is the deepness of the apartments where daylight won’t cast glare on your computer screen activities. Each floor also have a dark room in its core, where you can team up with other fanatics providing the possibility for epic computer events or hacking. This life might lead to a shortage of vitamins, to prevent that from happening the communication up and down the building is via exterior corridors and stairways. Each apartment also has its own spot on the outside corridor for a soda machine, food machines or maybe a pinball machine, making the corridor into a public amusement park where people can meet and absorb some sunlight while shopping for food or trying to beat a videogame high score.
These areas can also be used by the whole region, making it into a compact mall of fast-food and gaming.
The staircases and elevators sits in radio towers surrounding the building, making Kalmar the most connected town in Europe with the most connected youth in its core, guarding the freedom of the World Wide Web and at same time developing highly advanced applications and technology for the future.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Flight Mode

If you happen to be flying within Asia this month, chances are that you can pick up a copy of GATEWAY, an in-flight magazine of China Southern Airlines, which is the largest airline in Asia. There you can read a couple of spreads about our Miami Sun.
Thanks to our architect colleauge Chris Precht who took the photo.
Have a nice flight!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Fix - The Asplund Library

The VD team has once again set up another Friday challenge for themselves; to once and for all solve The Stockholm City Library extension. With over a thousand proposals in the open competition for a new city library extension, Stockholm decided to build none of them. Could it be that over a thousand proposals was not good enough or could it be something else?

Scroll down for Swedish

The vd team decided to go to the city library for one work day to have a look at the site and to make a new proposal.
Being here it is obvious that the site for the competition was wrong. Instead of extending the building to the west against Odenplan, the obvious direction should be to the south along the giant slope towards Observatorielunden. The site is too steep for anyone to use it properly and the city library park would be a perfect foreground for a modern library with an entrance towards Sveavägen just like the existing library. The building could activate both the park and the hill at Observatorielunden and work as a staircase between the two. This site would also solve the problem of destroying the three buildings connected to west of the main library.
Problem solved, congratulations Stockholm! Next time talk to us first before you decide to put over a thousand architects to work.

The siteplan with the new extension.

The southern park would be a perfect foreground for the new museum.

The connection to the city library would be very easy, just open up the big windows on the southern facade of the existing library.

A library surrounded by a park is a good place to study.

That was easy, just six hours of work.
BTW: We also have a more wild version we did a couple of years ago to put the library in the pool south of the library but that might be expensive especially since the subway system would go through the library. We still love that proposal and it could also be built if Stockholm decide to build something really expensive.

In Swedish:

Vi är ett Stockholmsbaserat arkitektkontor som heter visiondivision och vi har tittat på möjligheterna till att uppföra en tillbyggnad av Gunnar Asplunds berömda Stadsbibliotek i Stockholm.
En tävling om en tillbyggnad utlystes redan 2006 och mer än 1100 förslag strömmade in, vilket var sensationellt många. Tävlingstomten var förlagd bredvid biblioteket vid Odengatsbacken där tre k-märkta annex idag står. Sex förslag gick vidare varav förslaget Delphinium av den tyske arkitekten Heike Hanada stod som segrare efter juryns slutliga utvärdering 2007. Vinnarförslaget kom dock aldrig att realiseras, 2009 valde man att inte gå vidare med förslaget och inget nytt beslut för en tillbyggnad har tagits.
Vi menar att den största anledningen till att inget blev av var att själva tävlingstomten var för snäv. Det är uppenbart att platsen för tävlingen var fel, istället för att utvidga byggnaden västerut mot Odenplan, borde det självklara riktningen vara söderut längs den stora sluttningen mot Observatorielunden. Sluttningen är ändå för brant för att man ska kunna dra nytta av den i någon större utsträckning.
Denna placering gör också att en eventuell tillbyggnad fortsätter att låta det ikoniska Stadsbiblioteket fortsätta att spela huvudrollen i ensemblen. För att understryka detta än mer så blir gestaltningen av tillbyggnaden reducerad och repetitiv, med stålprofiler som ramar in de ljusa interiörerna och där byggnadens innehåll blir fasadens fokus.
En tillbyggnad här skulle aktivera både parken och backen vid Observatorielunden och fungera som en trappa mellan de två. Den befintliga parken skulle dessutom vara en perfekt förgrund för ett modernt bibliotek med en entré mot Sveavägen, precis som det befintliga biblioteket.
Dessutom så skulle en placering här också innebära att man inte behöver förstöra de tre k-märkta annexen väster om huvudbiblioteket.
Själva anslutningen till stadsbiblioteket skulle vara mycket lätt, bara öppna upp de stora fönstren på den södra fasaden av det befintliga biblioteket.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Frozen Flora

This is our entry for the Warming Huts Competition, an annual open art and architecture competition where the entrants where asked to create shelters along a skating trail on the Assiniboine river in downtown Winnipeg, Canada.

We wanted to create a unique local invention generated on site by a limited set of tools by pure man power and with no harmful waste. The cold climate, the river and the great scale and variety of Canada became our point of departure in finding a suitable building technique.
The key material for this project is reinforced ice.
Water is hand pumped on the site from the river and then reinforced and refined with organic materials taken from six different time zones of Canada into different blends of colorful ice-concrete. The technique of reinforcing ice with nature has been used by native people of America that made mixtures with sawdust and water to strengthen ice and make it more resistant to melting. These proposed structures can be made by two people without any energy consuming machines. The reinforcements will be a mélange of nature that colors water in a beautiful way, such as berries, flowers, vegetables and at the same time includes
fibers that strengthens the ice constructively and also improves its melting time. The final result will be a cluster of six different ice tepees with six different colors of Canada, and on sunny days even with a scent when the sun melts the surface water.
When spring arrives, the tepees will gradually melt into each other and a blend of Canadian colors and scents will eventually be a part of the river.

Section with construction method


The time zones

Exterior perspective with morning frost

Exterior perspective night time

Looking inside the Ontario Beetroot Tepee

Close up of the British Columbian algae reinforcement

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Thai Town in the Media

Our proposal "Thai Town" has attained a great deal of media over the last days and the project has been featured in various newspapers, tv-interviews and radio programs. We hope that all this attention will increase the momentum of a Thai Town district in Stockholm.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Thai Town

Thai Town is an earlier visiondivision sketch from the project titled ”Stockholm Showdown” where visiondivision proposed 24 projects to improve Stockholm. One of the sketches that we really wanted to investigate further was ”Thai Town”; a small budget project where all the key functions of a Thai town already exists but where architecture and design is whats lacking. We talked to a majority of the shop owners in the district and we came up with a plan on how to with small means make this project a reality. What we offer is the strategy you can read about below and also free of charge help to seek building permits and permits for commercial signs for all people in the district that wants to strengthen the Thai atmosphere in Thai town.

Thai Town är en tidigare visiondivisionskiss från projektet "Stockholm Showdown" där visiondivision föreslog 24 projekt för att förbättra Stockholm. En av de skisser som vi verkligen ville undersöka ytterligare var "Thai Town"; ett litet budget projekt där alla viktiga funktioner för ett “Thai Town” redan finns men där arkitektur och design är en av de aspekter som saknas. Vi pratade med en majoritet av butiks- och affärsägarna i distriktet kring Olof Palmes gata och gjorde en strategi för hur man med små medel kan göra detta projekt till verklighet. Vad vi erbjuder är den strategi du kan läsa om nedan, och dessutom så erbjuder vi gratis hjälp med att söka bygglov och skyltlov för alla de som verkar (och vill verka) i området där projekten i någon mån går ut på att stärka den thailändska atmosfären i “Thai Town”.

Stockholm as a city is a rather homogeneous city which is a bit curious, considering the fact that there are living a large number of people from all over the world in the area.
Whether you are walking around in Vasastan, Kungsholmen or Södermalm , it is basically the same scenery that you will encounter and the urban life differs very little.
But if you go north from Hötorget in central Stockholm, there are a small number of back streets streets which over the years has accumulated an assortment of shops and restaurants that have a clear connection with the Thai culture, mainly at Holländargatan and at Olof Palmes gata but also at Olofsgatan.
In a relatively small area, there are for example no less than four specialized food markets that sells almost only Thai food, which with Stockholm’s measure is hard to beat. This fine embryo of potential should be better highlighted; both in terms of marketing but also in terms of visually enhance the area and its character. We believe it is necessary for Stockholm as an aspiring metropolis to highlight the city's various ethnicities in a positive way and with Thailand we have strong ties in Sweden, mainly due to the many marriages between Swedish men and Thai women.
We therefor propose a Thai Town on Holländargatan, Olofsgatan and at Olof Palmes gata where it connects the two parallel streets. We suggest a series of small changes that can be made independently to create Sweden's first real ethnic district.

Stockholm som stad är en ganska likriktad stad, trots allt utbud och de etniciteter som finns här. Oavsett om man går omkring i Vasastan, på Kungsholmen eller på Södermalm så är det ungefär samma slags miljöer man upplever och stadslivet skiljer sig inte speciellt mycket åt. Men om man går norrut från Hötorget i Stockholm så kommer ett koppel av mindre gator där det genom åren har samlats en skara butiker och restauranter som har en thailändsk prägel, främst på Holländargatan och vid Olof Palmes gata men också på Olofsgatan. På en relativt liten yta finns det till exempel inte mindre än fyra butiker som säljer thailändska livsmedel, vilket med Stockholmska mått är svårslaget. Denna fina samling borde lyftas fram ännu bättre; både i form av marknadsföring och att rent visuellt förstärka området och dess prägel. Vi tror det är nödvändigt för Stockholm som en framtida metropol att lyfta fram stadens olika etniciteter på ett positivt sätt och just med Thailand har vi starka band i Sverige både på en kunglig och på en folklig nivå. Vi föreslår ett Thai Town på Holländargatan, Olofsgatan och på Olof Palmes gata där den binder ihop de två parallellgatorna. Vi föreslår en rad små förändringar som kan ske oberoende av varandra för att skapa Sveriges första riktiga etniska distrikt.

1. For a start, it would suffice to simply establish the concept of a Thai Town to be a catalyst to attract even more establishments with Thai origins. Just a sign and a name on a map would be an easy first step.

1. Till en början så skulle det räcka med att bara etablera begreppet Thai Town för att det skulle bli en katalysator för att locka ännu fler etableringar med thailändska inslag. En skylt skulle var ett enkelt första steg.

2. With easy modifications you can then enhance the character of the area with Thai flags that is put up across the narrow streets and also by taking advantage of the current conditions and characteristics that the area already have.
3. There is also a paved area which is located in the epicenter of Thai Town where it would be suitable to have small markets and events.
4. The tree on Holländargatan could easily be decorated with Thai lamps.
5. A number of empty windowless gables in the area could easily be painted or decorated with Thai motifs.

2. Med enkla grepp så kan man sedan förstärka karaktären i området med till exempel thailändska vimplar som spänns över de smala gatorna och att man utnyttjar de förutsättningar och särdrag som området har.
3. Det finns också en asfalterad yta som ligger i själva epicentret av Thai Town där man skulle kunna ha små marknader.
4. Trädet på Holländargatan skulle enkelt kunna dekoreras med Thailändska lampor.
5. Tar man till exempel Holländargatan så har den delen som går från Olof Palmes gata till Adolf Fredriks kyrkogata en rad av brandväggar som man enkelt skulle kunna måla eller
dekorera med thailändska motiv.

6. Larger signs and details such as balcony fronts can be painted in gold, as well as the asphalt surface where the markets can be.

6. Större skyltar och detaljer som balkongfronter kan målas i guld, likaså asfaltsytan där
marknaden kan vara.

7. To improve the area even further, you can also make some alterations to the small cemetery chapel located on the adjacent church Adolf Fredrik, which now serves as a tool shed.
With inexpensive and easy measures it can be converted into a Buddhist chapel.
There are already some places for prayers for Buddhists, but they are all far out in the suburbs so far.
We have already been in contact with the church and they where open minded about the proposal and not alien to a further discussion.
Having a Thai Town in Stockholm would benefit all residents and also attract more
tourists and perhaps provide a starting point for even more special districts to develop in Stockholm
city ​​to increase and show off the diversity and the variety that the city actually already has, but that for the moment is well disguised.

7. För att förgylla området ytterligare så kan även det lilla gravkapellet som ligger vid Adolf Fredriks kyrka, som nu fungerar som redskapsbod, enkelt och billigt göras om till ett buddhistiskt kapell. 
Vi har redan varit i kontakt med ledningen av kyrkan och de var inte främmande för att diskutera frågan ytterligare.
Att ha ett Thai Town i Stockholm skulle gynna samtliga invånare, locka fler turister och kanske ge ett avstamp i att ännu fler särskilda distrikt kan vaskas fram i Stockholms stad för att öka mångfalden och variationen som staden redan har potential för.

Friday, October 4, 2013

A Nobel Race

Hello dear citizens of the world.
It is 10 :59 am GMT and we just finished our morning meeting with coffee and a look at the latest contributions to the architectural scene.
Today should be a huge day for that. Eleven of the most famous architects in Sweden and the World has made an effort to design an iconic building for the finest prize one can receive; the Nobel prize.
The building should be located at one of the finest sites in Stockholm; at Blasieholmen, the very core of Stockholms famed beauty.
After seeing the proposals we wonder about the amount of effort put into these designs, and if our fellow colleagues has taken this commission serious, and most of all: are these proposals really iconic enough for the finest prize in the world?
After some discussions on how to make an iconic building we decided to try to beat these proposals in one working day, starting right now, and since its Friday we thought that we will stop at 4:00 pm.
As a design help we have gathered all the gadgets in a reachable distance from our office table.
We will do these proposals live, and we will update the website after each new proposal are made, which means that you can follow the progress and be a witness to how many new beautiful iconic buildings that can be done in one short day.
Let the Nobel Race begin!

11.34 AM

Radio Nobel

The new building focuses on the one thing that perhaps people anticipate the most with the Nobel Prize; who will win?
When it is time to announce the winner, the large speakers will sound clear and loud so that everyone in a 500 meter radius will hear the name of the winner.
Crowds will gather around the speaker building, and waiting for the announcement will become a festivity in itself.
The most glorious street in Stockholm, Strandvägen, will finally get an event that suits its ambition.

12:07 PM

High-tech shaped landscape

This is a high-tech proposal that acts like a landscape element as well as a protecting shell for the Nobel activities, without taking too much space from the site, and instead using some of the water next to Blasieholmen.
The prize winners will approach the building by boat and the Stockholmers can use it as a place to take baths from.
This form language has proven to be very successful internationally and maybe it could work here as well.
This building can be very difficult to build which automatically makes it expensive and therefor important.

12:49 PM

The Trophy

The Nobel Prize is the most prestigious trophy of them all. With this proposal we wanted to create a grand monument of triumph, with a public space in its base and a magnificent space for parties at the top.
The winners and other important persons can easily be transported with helicopter to the helipad on top of the building, and then take the elevator down to the auditorium/celebratory space, where the most prestigious party of them all is held. From there the dining guests, will have a tremendously good view of central Stockholm and the Nobel festivities can at the same time be watched by the outside citizens, so the whole city can be a part of the celebrations.

1:20 PM
The Golden Globe

Since the Nobel Prize is an international one, so is also the design for this building. The spherical form is a shape well proven for bigger events in Stockholm. This globe facade is slightly different; showing the world map in gold. The laureates countries will shine in different colors for one year. The building has a very small footprint, creating a huge beautiful public space underneath it. The building has two entrances; one public from the base and one for the laureates which is a Meridian elevator, taking them to the center of the globe and also to the center of the worlds attention.

1:40 PM

Lunch break

2:25 PM

Party For Six

In this proposal, the buildings are made up by six flamboyant tent structures, inspired from the traditional crayfish hats that the Swedes wear for the annual crayfish parties.
Each tent represents one prize category, (the peace prize that is given away in Oslo, by some reason is not included) so that each winner will be more gratified and that the celebration can be more custom made for the prizewinner(s.
This will be a colorful addition to the city and give an air of festivities to central Stockholm.

3:08 PM

Totem For Six

Do you recognize the faces of the laureates? If not this design will help you do that. This building is like a giant totem to worship scientists where the faces of the six laureates of the year is projected from inside. The peace prize winner you most likely recognize anyway and that's up to the Norwegians to promote that guy. Each head will be like a museum of each discovery that led to the Nobel prize.

3:25 PM

Oriental Style

Stockholm has an architecture legacy with a great history of oriental influences, and this teawarmer from Uzbekistan actually looks quite good as a Nobel Center.

3:35 PM

The Tree of Knowledge

This is a building that takes advantage of the high-end scietific research that the Nobel Prize stands for. In this scenario, it could be a genemodified tree with buidling parts nested in its structure.
Different fruits has different functions and are interconnected with elevators and escalators.
(Sorry we're in a hurry to make it before 4.00 PM)

3:38 PM

Friday Grog Break

3:50 PM

The document holder

The Swedish bureaucracys most beloved item, the document holder, is the inspiration of this Nobel Center, which primary function will be to document each prize. The building is completely open to the public, and each year, new documents will be added to the structure, explaining the new findings that the laureates came up with.

3:58 PM

Ceremonial Plate

Instead of putting all that money into a center which really doesn't need to be built, we just propose a ceremonial plate standing on stilts in the water outside Blasieholmen with a simple Swedish design.

3:59 PM

The Pig has landed