Diploma Vår 2018
An Urban Villa in Frogner
Jonathan Storheil Værnes
The background of my proposal is my interest in three projects which are recurrent in my architectural thinking: St. Petri church, Woodland chapel and La Congiunta. These are projects that I have visited, and that continues to be the basis for new discoveries for me. I chose to name three themes that I was (and still am) interested in regarding these projects: Spatial structure, composition and material. For each project, a descriptive word was named for each theme. For instance, regarding composition, Woodland chapel was named a «central» composition, La Congiunta a «linear» composition and St. Petri a «field» composition. Combining one word from each theme and from each project, one is left with 27 combinations. 6 of these combinations do not take more than one word from the same project. These 6 were made into drawings, renders and models, and can be found in this pamphlet. After evaluating this work, I decided to choose one of these combinations to focus on: Subtracting (spatial structure), central (composition), concrete (material). The reason for this choice was that I saw a potential for exiting spatial study in this combination, liberated from its reference predecessors, not implying a specific program or formal language beyond the guiding of the three terms, and something that could be complex and yet simple as a starting point of making an architectural proposal. After this initial phase, I have made models that respond to the terms Subtracting, central, concrete, to discover the potential of this idea. In this phase, I have also decided on more premises for the project, partly as a response to the new models that have been produced and partly based on a parallel interest in the idea of the urban villa as program and typology. The urban villa is neither a single house nor a multi-story apartment building. It is a freestanding entity with multiple units, in-between the scale of these two. It is my opinion that the quality of a home lies in how it is separated from the outside world and how its own internal world of ideas is made. My ambition is to use one gesture, the circular space and its conglomeration, that could be a way of making the tectonic structure, a way of organizing the program and the way of producing a certain spatial quality for the proposal. This makes the proposal conceivable as an idea of making architecture that can be discussed communally. In the end, everything that is represented (photographs, models, details, furniture, organization…) is in fact the «concept» of the proposal.
Richard Lethally said that man cannot understand the world as a whole. Man, therefore, seeks to distance himself from it, to arrive at an understanding by means of this detachment. In this sense a house is a model of the world: It represents an order that we cannot perceive in the world, but which makes perceptible, in the scale model of the house, what the world contains.
My diploma project will investigate how circular spaces can relate to each other to create a sequence of rooms in a dwelling typology. An oval-shaped space has both centrality and direction. Overlapping these shapes with each other and the perimeter border, one will have openings that can be controlled in size and direction, and there will be leftover space in-between the round shapes.