The best of the rest: The Honourable Mentions from the 2014 International Velux Award for Students of Architecture
Students:Yan Xia, Sijia Li and Wei Meng
Heilongjiang University, Harbin, China
Teacher: Yang Yong
The project reconceptualises the historic craft of traditional Chinese paper cutting. Using techniques of cutting, pulling and winding, a basic piece of paper can be transformed into a complex, three-dimensional garland, which are familiar adornments to buildings, streets and interiors. By employing a simple, yet ingenious fixed spiral system, this technique is extrapolated to a large-scale screening device that enables people to manipulate and interact with openings in a wall, adjusting the passage of daylight.
Through an inventive and highly considered exploration of materials and detailing, this project attempts to personalise daylight experiences and preferences. The jury applauded the simple idea and the sober investigations of the models. In addition, it arrives at a shading solution with a random screening arrangement that is physically operated and not based on sophisticated automation and sensors.
Students: Jeremy Upward, Katherine Morawietz, Jessica Lam, Samantha Clark, Suvik Patel
Laurentian University, Ontario, Canada
Teacher: Tammy Gaber
In northern Ontario, ice fishing is a very popular pastime where individuals or groups of people sit out on the lake for hours in an attempt to catch the fish below several metres of ice. The project is a translucent ice hut with a unique form and concept, that blends into the landscape during daytime. Inspiration was drawn from the curvilinear shapes of snow drifts and abstract concepts of light and dark. When inside, walls are illuminated by sunlight, while at night the structure radiates light, alluding to the Northern Lights.
This project is in a category of its own. It is recognised for its thorough considerations and specifically its execution in a full-scale model. Some of the details and solutions can be questioned when a project is developed to such an extent − but nonetheless it can be appreciated as a built experiment.
Students: Vladimir Krastev and Stoytcho Stoev
University of Architecture, Construction and Geodesy, Sofia, Bulgaria
Teacher: Tsvetomir Dzhermanov
Many historical sites have been abandoned, flooded by water. In Diving Lights, an important architectural heritage site can once again be touched by the sun’s rays. The project looks at the opportunity to expose the remains of the ancient Thracian capital Sevtopolis − founded in 323BC by Sevt III − which is hidden under the waters of a lake. It is the only uncovered Thracian urban settlement in Bulgaria. Hollow cones, like funnels, with sets of magnifying lenses are submerged in the water and serve as giant spotlights.
The project presents a highly compelling and lyrical idea. It will not change the world, but is a practical and workable solution for illuminating zones under water with natural light and revealing historical architecture through the sun’s rays. The jury was intrigued by the concept and the powerful and poetic presentation.
Sfumato of Light
Students: Ping Zhou, Yepeng Zhang, Qianyi Zhang, Tingying Lu and Bonan Zhang
Tianjin University, Tianjin, China
Teacher: Xinnan Zhang
Sfumato comes from the Italian sfumare and means ‘to tone down’ or ‘to evaporate’. On the side of the Lancang River in Tibet, where salt is still produced in the traditional way, the project aims to create a sfumato of light by capturing its reflection and diffusion from salt crystals. The ancient salt pans are layered along the hillside, supported by rows of timber columns. Salt production takes place above the pan, and the space below is for walking and relaxing, but was dark and gloomy. Now it is bathed in light.
The project investigates how salt brine leaks and grows under wood planks during production and how the droplets can be reinforced and structured by cotton threads. The resulting salt ‘curtains’ sparkle with light, illuminating the shed below the salt production area. The project uses materials and low-tech solutions in an inventive way to transform space through light.
Student: Cristiana Brindisi
University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
Teacher: Francesco Leccese
Streets, alleys, squares; every place is unique when it comes to colour and light. Daylight greatly influences our perception of architecture. Now, in a click, technology and the internet have changed the way we communicate, we are becoming ever more connected. This project suggests a social network, where daylight conditions are recorded and shared using smartphone pictures that are recognised by time, day, exact position and weather conditions. The social network ‘Socialight’ will synthesise a representative palette of detailed colours of cities in all seasons and weather conditions.
The project presents a simple and well-communicated idea that may eventually grow to encompass a wider social interaction by facilitating dialogue between people in cities, discussing and sharing experiences on how daylight conditions change the appearance of buildings and squares over time and the seasons.
The Body Architectonic
Student: Lea Olsson
The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen, Denmark
Teachers: Frans Drewniak, Kenneth Warnke and Ingela Larsson
The proposal is for a health cluster in Hackney in east London where a range of health professionals − including general practitioners, specialists, social workers, dietitians and physiotherapists − will work together to improve the wellbeing of the local residents. It envisages forms of therapeutic environments that involve the sensitive interplay of light, water, the human physique and architecture. The project also recognises that lighting is of great importance at a sub-conscious level, affecting, for example, the body’s melatonin secretion.
The project refocuses on light and water therapy, recognised for centuries for its health-giving properties. In this case it is reintroduced through luminous squares, hot water passages, daylight pools and light walls. In a collage of different light spaces, artificial conditions are juxtaposed with natural conditions.