Monday, September 8, 2014

Guest Harbor

In Sweden there are now a new building code that allows a home owner to build a 25m2 (270 square feet) additional house on their premise without a building permit. These buildings are called Attefallshus, named after the Swedish minister of housing Stefan Attefall.
This new law has led to a quick rise of various Attefallshus on the market and that is also why visiondivision was invited to come up with their own version of an Attefallshus for a forthcoming book called 25 m2 where the cream of the Swedish architects are invited to present their ideas of how their Attefallshus would look like.

We have developed an alternative to the Attefallshus that is both cheaper, more fun and also more exclusive than any other permit-free house on the Swedish market.
Building time and testing craftsmen are also deleted from the equation.

Sweden has a very rich boating culture with over 800 000 registered vessels in the country, which means a density of boats that is among the highest per capita in the world. Today, many of the boats are stored on ugly stilts and are blemishing residential areas in the whole country.
If you happen to be one of those hundreds of thousands of boat owners in Sweden, we would recommend you not to buy an Attefallshus. Instead, we want you to enjoy your boat and take responsibility for our common cultural treasure that our boats are. We have therefore developed a strategy for how the Swedish boats should be stored and also be given a function when not at sea. We have developed three different types of docks to keep the boat in one's garden that is both smooth, aesthetically pleasing and appropriate to the needs and desires that you have. The result is a completely new typology that has all the prerequisites to become a popular addition to the residential areas all around the country.
We will now present some advantages with a boat compared to a 25 m² Attefallshus.

With the turmoil of the financial crisis back in 2008, the resale value of boats has dropped by almost a third in Sweden, with even larger price declines among the bigger boats.
You will also get a lot more genuine crafts and hours put in and fine expensive materials for your money plus you get a movement possibility if you buy a boat instead of a smaller house.

Good constructions
We architects rarely get the opportunity to bend boards or plastic in our houses or create double curved facades and once we come up with such designs it usually means that the house will turn out to be way too expensive for the client.
A mass-produced boat on the other hand, has always these qualities, and even more so.
The structures are staggeringly thin and mathematically calculated to withstand both waves and severe weather. A part from this, there are also a lot of special details and custom built wall fixtures that few modern houses can compete with. The material of the boat is also of much higher quality than the materials for buildings. The grains in the boards for a wooden boat for example are much denser than a board for a house facade. The normal boat builder usually also have higher skills when it comes to craftsmanship than a Swedish carpenter has today. A normal boat is always designed by a skilled boat-builder and the design is usually always tested in harsh conditions, at sea by professionals. Plastic boats have a very long life and are easy to maintain. Wooden boats have an even longer life if you handle them right and they are also one of the finest forms of crafts we have in Sweden.

Delivery time
To build an Attefallshus, like with most houses, you have to deal with a lot of carpenters, builders and sometimes architects that doesn’t always comply with the clients wishes. This can be frustrating to handle. It is much easier to buy an already built boat instead, where you do not have to make guesses based on complicated drawings and wishful renders, the boat is already there to make an inspection of it before you buy it, and what you see is also what you get.

The problem with a boat is usually to find a port, especially in the larger city areas. But if you have room for an Attefallshus then you probably also have room for a boat on your premise. Having a boat standing on stilts in the garden is ugly and sometimes even unsafe. In our tribute to the boat, we suggest instead that the boat will be in their right element even in your suburb garden. A boat wants to be in the water and the easiest way to solve this is to build a swimming pool in your yard or alternatively an artificial pond beside your cottage or why not a fountain if you own a lavish manor.

The pool
The pool, which we assume will be the most common category, works on most villa plots and has the advantage that when the boat is at sea during the summer season you will at the same time have a swimming pool on your land. A pool can be made in different designs and in different price ranges. Before you make the pool it’s essential to think through what kind of accessories you want for your boats purpose. Maybe a traverse over the pool facilitates the placement of the boat for example, especially if you move your boat often.
If these pools are becoming increasingly more common, one can imagine that whole residential areas near water could be connected with channels alongside residential streets and be linked directly to each pool.

How to build the pool
A cheap alternative is to order a fiberglass pool from Poland or Germany. To save even more money, you can make the foundation and install the pool by yourself. It’s not that hard really.
To do this, you first dig a pit that is a decimeter larger than the size of the pool in all directions, then you should fill it with a 5 cm sand layer and then with a 5 cm thick layer of a mixture of cement and sand. This mixture prevents deformation of a fiberglass pool that is sometimes caused due to the temperature differences during the year. Once the mixture is in place it is time to lower the pool in to the pit. After that you should fill the pool with a decimeter of water. Then filling the gap on the pool sides with more of the sand and cement mixture and also add a bit of water. Then it’s time to gradually fill up the pool little by little.

The pond
The artificial pond, which is suitable for a little larger plots, is a lake in miniature allowing larger boats to fit here. The pond can create such a peaceful place that you probably won’t move the boat at all. An artificial pond also blends very well into a garden environment, where the aquatic plants and the implanted carps will be a nice addition to the plot. With a small sailing boat or a wooden boat you’ll get a perfect guest house and a nice piece of art in the pond which can be illuminated at night. From the boat your guests can fish or just watch the reflections on the pond with water lilies and reeds that are arranged in nice compositions. If you are very prone to the marine way, you can choose to create a large pond on an empty parcel of land and then have a second-hand bought ship as a main building and smaller boats as guest cottages. Your own cute version of Water World.

To build the pond
To make an artificial pond, you must first dig a big enough hole in your yard that are tailored to the boat that you have or will acquire. The larger the pond you have, the more even will the temperature be within, which is important if you want to be able to accommodate a healthy biological system where plants and animals will thrive.
When you plan your pond it's a good idea if you divide the pit in different height levels to get different zones in your pond. It is beneficial to have large areas which are horizontal if you want the aquatic plants will root in a good way. When you dig, starting from the middle and then out, its important to remove rocks, roots and other irregularities.
When you are satisfied with the dimensions and the grading, you should pour sand that covers the entire pond, preferably more than 5 cm. Then put out a pond foil and place large rocks all around the bottom to get the foil well anchored, and for aesthetically reasons you should also cover the foil on the edges with stones for a more natural pond appearance.
Then fill it gently with water, starting in the middle and see if you need to adjust or add stones on the foil. Then fill in with smaller stones or sand to cover the foil and to create places where your aquatic plants can root. Also, make sure that the pond edges have the same horizontal plane.
The different zones can be divided into three different parts; a transition zone, a shallow zone and a deep zone. The transition zone is something in-between solid ground and the pond consisting of water-saturated soil and is 0 to 40 cm deep. The plants are planted directly in the soil. Between this zone and the rest of the pond it's good to have a barrier of some kind so the soil won’t not be rinsed out of the water. The shallow zone is between 10 to 40 cm and is a level where most aquatic plants thrive. So does also frogs and birds.
The deep zone is determined by the depth of your boat but is anywhere from half a meter to your decided maximum depth. If you are going to have fish that will overwinter in the pond, you must have at least one meter depth in places, a pump is also crucial to oxygenate the water.

The Fountain
For the better-off, this could be a guest house that beats everything that the market yet has to offer. The illusion to allow a fountain to lift your boat becomes the absolute proof that you are doing well and it also gives the impression that the boat defies gravity. The boat can not only be seen in your entire neighborhood, it will also splash water on your neighbors and if it is well polished, it will also dazzle the jealous by passing crowd and throw reflections from the sun over the entire block. You might think we're kidding, but it's just stuff like this visiondivison can help our clients with, and we promise you a lot of attention to both your boat and your aspirations in life.
The boat can be reached either from the main house terrace or if you want, you can build in an elevator in the fountain. The latter solution requires that the boat is stationary.
A purpose-built fountain in different levels means that you’ll get a very attractive gathering place in the summer for parties and social gatherings, where, for example, one can swim and ride jet skis in the lower part and then sip cocktails in the upper part where the boat is anchored. This kind of extravaganza can cost a lot, but at the same time, it is precisely boats in this price range that has fallen most in the second hand market, and if you would build a guest house with the same finish, you will probably have to pay a lot more. Another upside with buying a boat is that you can get it delivered the same day you order it.
A cheaper alternative is to build the fountain and do all the preparations for the boat and then just hire the boat during special occasions such as weddings, birthdays or if your stock portfolio has been particularly favorable.

How to build the fountain
A class-act fountain is something that you don’t build yourself, for best finish and outstanding features you should always call visiondivision.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Fredhäll Ice Falls

Together with the architect and the ice climber Alexander Ståhl we initiated the idea to create a series of spectacular ice falls for a temporary ice climbing festival that we imagined would take place each winter in Stockholm. The location would primarily be on the cliffs of Fredhäll, which is situated on the southwestern parts of the city district Kungsholmen and slopes towards the water. The area is a very popular area in the summer but that only sees occasional visits during the winter. Being a city that lies on the same latitude as the southern peak of Greenland means that the winters sometimes can be long and harsh, and where snowfall and ice often just means problems for the traffic. We wanted to explore the possibilities of what could be done in the public space during this season and where we could take advantage of the cold weather and making something that you can look forward to each year.

By investigating the natural slopes of Fredhäll we soon saw some possible ice falls with different degrees of difficulty that would attract beginners as well as more experienced climbers. To show the different levels we decided to dye the ice with natural colors, like beetroot or blueberries for example. This would also create a beautiful spectrum of glitzing colors for the people walking by.

During winter it is often possible to ice skate around Kungsholmen and for those people we imagine that we also could create wind shelters in colored ice that also could be used by the climbers.
During a couple of days during this winter we laid the foundation to a medium-advanced slope. We cooked and mashed 60 kilos of beetroots which we later diluted with water from a hole we made in the ice near the cliffs, which we then carried in buckets to various sections of the falls and poured it over the cliffs.
During our investigations we quickly understood that if we wanted to achieve a thick crust of ice that was going to be suitable for ice climbing, we had to have a greater and easier way to access water , which we now are working on so that we will be fully prepared for next winter, which hopefully will be colder than this one.

We assume that the falls and these shelters would be operational for a couple of freezing weeks every year and that they also could be lit up during the night since it gets dark so early at this time. The ice climbing event has a great potential to grow larger for each year, hopefully covering the cliffs entirely in a spectacular glowing rainbow of ice.

Big in China

A heavy package from China reached the office just in time for our afternoon tea. The mailman looked relieved when he handed over the beast. Inside was a book with pharaoic proportions that featured our old classic "Tornado" in a couple of spreads. How lovely! Now we just have to reinforce our office bookshelf.

From the publisher Artpower:

Innovative High-Rise Buildings offers a vision of architectural design for a new generation in the form of awe-inspiring constructions that represent a new cultural perspective on the urban landscape; breathtaking, almost dream-like, these unique structures are both experimental and contemporary reflecting a changing cultural environment.

Demonstrating incredible modern architectural technology and aesthetics, this collection gives a thought provoking, imaginative and ultimately exciting vision for a new generation, in terms of creating structures that allow us to live and think differently. Incredible structures that have the capacity to integrate successfully with their surroundings, providing a function and purpose for living yet symbolizing our aspirations to move ever higher, reaching for the sky.

Click here to order the book

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Media Harvest

Here is a little update on recent publications that we have been featured in.

Our project Under the Bridge made it big on the front page of the Swedish newspaper Vårt Kungsholmen.
We got interviewed in the magazine Tropes where some of our projects also where displayed.
And here is the Europan Winners catalogue where our project Forts of Fanaticism was featured.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Under the Bridge

With a minimal intervention, visiondivision proposes to create a pedestrian walkway on the concrete vault of a bridge in Stockholm to dramatically shorten the time needed to walk between the city and its western suburbs and thereby also activating a large unused space in the city, making it an attractive place full of new potential.
Scroll down to see the proposal text in Swedish.

Stockholm’s many islands has created a beautiful city to live in but it has also created barriers between the inner city and the suburbs. Large scale bridges connects many of these places to each other, often built with the car in mind.
Tranebergsbron is one of the most beautiful bridges in Stockholm and connects the city island Kungsholmen with the western suburbs. It was completed in 1934, at that time having the world’s largest bridge vaults in concrete.
In 2005 an identical bridge vault was added to the two original ones, allowing more cars on the bridge.
As many bridges that is predominantly built for cars, the construction begins to incline many hundreds of meters on land on both sides the shore, this means that if you want to walk over the bridge it will involve a strenuous 15 minute walk in a noisy environment considering that you will walk just next to a busy highway.

The site

Close up of the existing bridge

We propose to use the actual concrete vault of the recently built bridge to cater to the neglected pedestrian traffic between these two important areas in Stockholm and to dramatically shorten the time between the two shores and make the journey into a pleasant three minute walk in a beautiful and relaxed setting.
To do this, only a minimal intervention is required.
The concrete pillars that connects the vault with the surface of the bridge already has holes in them, so the only thing that is necessary to do is to extend the upper part of the vault to allow passage and to add stairs on to the vault, proper lighting and a protective fence. The ground before the arc begins could also be treated with red concrete tiles to highlight the new path better and make it more accessible.
The two shores would benefit tremendously from being better connected to each other and they are both major gateways that are currently undergoing a great expansion with new housing and services.
With the underworld of the bridge is suddenly being used, this would also mean that the beautiful space underneath the bridge will be better activated which leaves room for new functions and ideas. The impressive concrete pillars would be perfect to use as a temporary art gallery and the stairs on the vaults can have a double use as seating to watch film screenings on the pillars.
The two abutments would be attractive spots where small kiosks could be set up when weather permits.

Master diagram showing the proposal

Image of the existing bridge before the alteration

A minor addition to the upper vault makes a passage possible.

The vaults gets red concrete stairs that also functions as seating for film screenings on the concrete pillars

In Swedish:

Tranebergsbron är en av Stockholms vackraste brokonstruktioner, ritad av Paul Hedqvist och David Hall. Vid färdigställning 1934 så hade den världens längsta brobåge gjuten i betong. 2005 så byggdes bron ut med en kopia precis intill den äldre konstruktionen för att tillåta mer biltrafik på bron mellan Brommalandet och Kungsholmen. Vi föreslår nu med enkla åtgärder att utnyttja denna nya bro för att också tillgodose den försummade gångtrafiken mellan dessa två viktiga områden i Stockholm. Likt många andra broar i Stockholm byggd för bilar börjar Tranebergsbron flera hundra meter upp på land på båda sidor om vattnet. Om man däremot promenerar vid Tranebergssund, vilket är möjligt på båda sidor av bron så är avståndet mellan fastland och Kungsholmen betydligt mindre. Att röra sig mellan befintliga gångstråk idag över bron tar ca 15 minuter och är en ansträngande promenad vid en högtrafikerad motorled. Om man istället skulle kunna röra sig över Tranebergsbrons valv skulle vandringen bli betydligt vackrare mer rofylld och framför allt ta endast ca 3 minuter. Tranebergsbron bärs av ett valv som är förberett att gå på med öppningar i bropelarna, det enda som krävs för att röra sig denna väg är att den övre delen av betongvalvet får en elegant liten utkragning som tillåter passage, en bättre anlagd trappa, belysning samt skyddsstaket. Både Alvik och Kristineberg är portar till stora områden av Stockholm och närområdet genomgår idag en stor expansion av hus och människor. Med stadens gemensamma politiska mål att bli en promenadstad så borde detta projekt vara ett stort och enkelt steg i rätt riktning. Vi som medborgare och arkitektkontor har därför gjort en enkel skiss på hur denna promenad mellan två expansiva områden skulle te sig samt en framtida utveckling av det fantastiska rum som Tranebergsbron skapar under sig. Vi förslår en skiss i tre faser som vi gärna hjälper staden att vidareutveckla till bygghandling.

Fas 1: Att med enkla medel knyta samman Alvik och Kungsholmen genom att anpassa brons båge för gångtrafik.
Fas 2: Anpassa bron för lämpliga evenemang.
Fas 3: Rita en detaljplan för temporära kiosker vid de båda brofästena.