ÚLFARSÁRDALUR REVITALIZED // 2011

// urban research project // scarcity and creativity in the built environment // scibe workshop // group project

The Úlfarsárdalur area has a current population of 259 people. The construction
process stopped when Iceland went into recession in the year
2008 and not much has happened there since.
The areas of Úlfarsárdalur and Grafarholt are separated heavily with
traffic veins, which have an even deeper effect of cutting the community
apart. This and the everlasting atmosphere of construction and halffinished
housing makes for an undesirable ghost-town.

Overlooking its situation, the area around Úlfarsfell does have great
potential. It is large, quite fertile and a river runs from nearby Hafravatn
through it, which offers strong connections to the greater area.
Sunlight hits the fertile grounds throughout the year and despite the
overhanging mountain the area stays relatively bright. Wind strikes primarily
from the East and provides great gliding conditions overhanging
from the mountain.
With the water, the mountain, available outdoor activities and the fertile
land we construct a scheme to improve the area for both its inhabitants
and visitors.

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The now empty and obsolete Bauhaus warehouse is at the center of our
transport scheme. People from outside the neighbourhood can park
their cars there and borrow bicycles, skates and skateboards, kayaks
and canoes to travel on into our Úlfarsárgarður recreational area. There
are plenty of activities within the area to attract people. Locals can slowcommute
to Bauhaus and from there take a bus or borrow a car, running
on methane of course. New paths are added to an existing network of
bicycle and hiking paths in the area and new connections made between
neighbourhoods and to the marketplace.

Our food network scheme is an enclosed eco-circle which wastes very
little and has a small carbon footprint. Farms cultivate their crops in
Úlfarsárdalur and around Úlfarsfell. Aquaponic cultivation, fish farming
and greenhouses are situated around Hafravatn where greenhouse fruits
and vegetables are grown. Produce is then transported along the river
and picked up at markets belonging to each neighbourhood. Food waste
is sent to a methane processing plant which fuels fast transportation
system. Compost from the production is then used as fertilizer and
fodder for the farms and the circle is complete.

Our proposal tackles the current neighbourhood situation from the bottom
up. We devised a plan to turn certain abandonded lots and buildings into
shared spaces. With this we hope to unify and encourage locals to carry
on the construction.

In a community center people get together to share tools and knowledge.
Another vacant building holds the communal kitchen. The children can
enjoy a small farming area and play around animals and grow vegetables
after school. Therefore, while constructing, people can assist each other
with daily cooking, taking care of children and building – make life easier.

Implementing these schemes forms a closely knit network where a society
encouraging a healthy and socially active lifestyle is formed.
We furthermore hope these efforts make the area attractive and desirable
to more people.

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VILLA ADJAYE // 2009

// a house in the cityscape // design inspired by an architect

My first semester at IAA I got the assignment to design a residential house
based on the vision and design of architect David Adjaye. We were given
a lot in the midst of houses from around 1930, in downtown Reykjavik.

In his design, Adjaye strives to combine a modernist viewpoint with each
project´s varying inspirations. This allows for an interesting mixture of
exterior and internal storytelling.

This house is designed for an artist couple from London who desired a
house to live and work in. Based on this I emphasized the flow of natural
light and correspondence of spaces so that there would be a big, open
and bright work space but at the same time a more private atmosphere in
the living area.
Adjaye himself has delt with similar projects and to counteract the possible
problems of living and working in the same place he kept the two areas
seperate and different in feel.

I accentuated the seperation of work and home life by programing the
first floor as a general workspace and area for visitors. Once up the
narrow and personal stairway you enter a smaller and more intimate
space meant for relaxation and dwelling. There you find the couple´s
bedroom, bathroom and a living room which can be closed off. The
formal language of the house rhymes with this seperation of spaces
because the shell of the house surrounds and encloses the smaller upper
floor, which seperates from the outer wall.

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Adjaye´s unusual use of natural light was exemplified in this house in
the use of large simplistic windows and areas that reflect light and the
narrow use of traditional windows.
The house is a heavy and simple structure but above it lies the gravitydefying
roof, which is inspired by Adjaye´s use of light structures and
opposites. Like so many of his houses this one is closed to the outside
and doesn´t reveal much of its secrets to bypassers. His residential
houses can generally be described as extrovertly simple but complex and
thought-out on the inside. Like him, I strived to create a certain
experience and strong feeling inside my building.

From the street this house seems simple but once a person enters the
narrow passage its secrets are slowly revealed. The person can either go
into the private garden or enter the house through the nonchalant doors
and discover it´s inner secrets. This entry creates a strong spatial
experience which continues within the house itself. The opposites are as
follows: narrow-wide, open-restrained, bright-dark and heavy-light.

HEAVY STRUCTURE // 2009

// a heavy structure //

The weight of the structure is mirrored in the material: clay. I aimed to create a dense form that curves and encloses a space. To achieve this I started by making bent strips which I then lined up to create a united structure.

I feel that the thickness and softness underline the mass of the material and give the object an obvious heaviness. I envision these forms as solid, moulded concrete objects.

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