RCAT - Research Center for Architecture and Tectonics

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2012 _ Seaside Second Homes for the Southwestern Coast of Norway

Diploma Student: Joakim Hoen - Institute for Architecture

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Michael U. Hensel

This Diploma project is part of the research into how architecture and environment interaction can inform a location-specific approach to design. The Seaside Second Home project combines environmental data and analyses with related spatial strategies and a non-standard approach to the articulation of three individual buildings, each made particular to one of three sites by way of a computational data-driven design process. Programmatically the second homes are a version of the ubiquitous Norwegian seaside holiday cottages that are used during the summer season. However, the projected second homes cater for habitation during all seasons.


The three sites along the Norwegian West and Southwest coast were selected due to their different local terrain articulation and weather conditions and exposure. The aim was to preserve the terrain in a all detail and to use it to inform the design. The specific terrain form of each location was derived from detailed terrain-scans provided by the Norwegian authorities. Local weather data pertaining to the site-specific wind conditions served as input into the generative design process. Solar impact was evaluated by means of computer-aided analysis. The design system for all three variants consists of two envelopes: [1] an outer permeable screen that shelters a transitional zone, and [2] an inner climate envelope of variable thickness. The outer envelope surrounds the inner envelope except for the entrance area, the large glazed elevation facing the sea and the concrete core enclosing the bathroom. The articulation of the outer screen-like envelope concerns primarily the dissipation of horizontal wind loads and modulation of solar impact on the inner envelope. In addition it is articulated in such a manner as to shade the transitional space, while providing sufficient daylight, and to decelerate airflow velocity from the exterior to the transitional space, so as to ensure its useability during different weather conditions. The outer screen-like envelope and the outer surface of the inner envelope articulate the transitional space based on combined spatial requirements, needs for different activities and environmental performance.


The interior is an open space that is articulated as an extension of the landscape and motivated by the notions of the oblique and habitable circulation (Parent and Virilio 1996). The sectional articulation of the landscaped interior is defined and constrained by considerations pertaining to providing or obstructing sightlines by way of the relation between the floor and ceiling surfaces. The variable thickness of the inner envelope evolves on the one hand from the algorithmic procedures pertaining to the outer and inner surface of the inner envelope, and, on the other hand, from the desire to nest smaller spaces for use within the thickness of the envelope, such as alcoves for sleeping reminiscent of traditional Norwegian designs, shelving, etc.

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