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.

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.