Saturday, May 3, 2008

A cultural melting pot

The initial idea of this project was to create a cultural melting pot and a hive of activities. We wanted to add life and art to the area which is located on the lower part of Frakkastígur. The site is on the corner of Frakkastígur and Hverfisgata where Kastalinn is today, near the tall rise buldings of Skuggi and the sea. The three key words we started off with were dynamic, flow and life. We wanted these words to describe our building and the program
The characteristic features of Hverfisgata are those of a busy street with a mixture of residentials, offices and shops. Across the street the new Listaháskóli is yet to be realised and the Skuggi blocks by the end of Frakkastígur have not been fully erected so the surrounding area is under a lot of changes. This uncertainty in the surrounding area shaped and influenced the vision of our project. We envisioned a neutral building that would adapt to changes and by that be able to serve different activities in the best possible way. It allows a wide range of possibilities and does not take on a distinctive stile of architecture.
We wanted to create a multi purposed art center, a melting pot of cultural activities related to art. We researched what kind of activities could incorporate this idea and the result was an artist residence program and a book café. The idea was to create a place where people could come together, sit down for a cup of coffee and read art magazines and books. At the same place there will be open art studios where artists can be seen at work and anyone can step inside and see their works in the making. The building is to be an impartial framework, framing the activities, art pieces and installations of the artists staying there at the time. Artists from anywhere in the world can come to live and work for a few months at a time. They will have their private living space in a part of the building, workshops in the basement and a studio that opens to the café that is open to guests at any time. There will also be a gallery selling some of their products and a small exhibition hall.
We want to make this place attractive to all kinds of people and everyone will be welcome to put their mark on the place in any way. We want to make the building dynamic and adaptable to all kinds of different activities and happenings. We initiated this buy creating various outdoor spaces that could easily be changed with curtains and cloths according to different requirements at each time.
The exhibition gallery is closed off from the outside with rotating walls that can also be opened up so they allow different possibilities. On the inside the gallery is closed off from the studio with sliding doors, so it can be completely open or completely closed, and easily adjusted to different demands. With these features we see the building change with the artists staying there and the people visiting.
We wanted to make the building open and easy to enter from the street, everyone should feel welcome and attracted to the building and what it has to offer. We wanted to allow good flow around the whole space, from the café to the studio and gallery and from there to the outside terraces on both sides of the building. We have put various stairways between levels of the building that allow the stream of people to enter the roofs where performance art exhibitions could take place or art pieces could be on display and be seen from the street as well. The beacon also allows people to flow around the whole building, both outside and inside. It also serves another purpose, to create an identity for the building and its operation, and to allow advertisement of events or display works of art.

The building has three main walk troughs and visual axes that are created to lead people through the different parts of the building. They are meant to mark the flow in which you can move through the building. One axe leads from the entrance at Hverfisgata to the studio in the other end of the building. Another axe leads from the port between the old and new part of the building, through the building to the terrace on the other side. The third axe is the beacon, going from the basement and straight up, connecting all three levels of the building.
By all this we have tried to follow and fulfil what the three key words we started up with idicate.
We have made the building dynamic by making it possible to easily alter spaces and create new ones. You might visit the place and experience it, then come back a month later to find a different space and another experience. The artists that will come and go regularly will also create dynamicity because they will shape they place with their precence and their art works. Same goes with visitors, everyone should be allowed to put their mark on the place, be it with only their precence or a graffity on the wall.
We hope that the many different activities taking place at this art center and all the things it has to offer will attract alot of people and the will make it lifely. The people will make life, and we have tried to arrange it so that the life can flow around the building unhindered. The visual axes, the stairways and the usage of rooftops is a part of that.
We wanted the building to be a frame that the artist and the public off the street will paint, that they and the activities will be the ones shaping the building, not the other way around. Hopefully this building can accomplish that.

The Site

Seen into the café and the corridor connecting it to the studio
Inside the studio
plan- 1st floor- Workshop
Plan- 2nd floor- Café, galley and studio
plan-3rd floor- café, apartments
Section 1
Section 2
The site today
The site with our design
The building seen from Frakkastígur.


Pétur Stefánsson & Kristín Una Sigurðardóttir

4 comments:

Baldur said...

fíla hvernig allt iðar af lífi á myndunum, enginn rembingur í gangi og neðsta myndin er frábær

Ása Bryndís said...

Rosa skemmtilegt allt mannlífið og öll hreyfingin alls staðar. Finnst hugmyndin í heild mjög góð, klárlega eitthvað sem Reykjavík vantar!

g&k said...

sniðugt verkefni hjá ykkur. flottar myndir, og framsagan var líka glæsileg hjá ykkur. á óskiljanlegan hátt virtust þið ennþá æst yfir verkefninu og það smitaði út frá sér. stórgott.jamm fínt gott.

g&k said...

haha það mætti halda að snorri sé alltaf allstaðar og aldrei án appelsíns!