Monday, February 04, 2013

Fire Shelter: 01

Fire Shelter: 01 in Copenhagen, Denmark, by Simon Hjermind Jensen, 2012.

The following text and images are courtesy of SHJWORKS/Simon Hjermind Jensen.

FIRE SHELTER: 01 is a personal project located at Sydhavnstippen in Copenhagen. The starting point for the design emerged from a fascination with the place. It’s a temporary project and a design experiment that wish to celebrate the place. The project has public access, and it establishes experiences of spatial and social character. In the creation of it nobody has been asked for advice, neither has it been possible for anyone to tell his or her opinion. It is simply thought of as a gift.

Sydhavnstippen is a 20-minutes bike ride from central Copenhagen. The area was landfilled with building materials between 1945 and 1973, and before that it was a seabed. Plants, bushes and trees have taken over the area since the landfill, and today it is a habitat for a variety of animals. Walking around Sydhavnstippen is just amazing. The “wild” appearance of the nature on top of the building materials, which are visible some places, makes you think of a “post-apocalyptic” nature. The often deserted area amplifies this.

The shelter takes inspiration from architecture of ethnic and nomadic people. The shelter consists of one shape stretching for the sky. It has one hole in the top and two openings at the bottom. Plywood and polycarbonate are the main materials, and all the different parts are fabricated using CNC technology. It is 4.7 meters tall (15-1/2 feet) and has a diameter at ground level at 3.8 meters (12-1/2 feet). The structural element of the shelter is the 2-9 mm thick walls. The walls consist of thin and bendable shells that are tightened together with bolts and a piece of 2 mm thick polycarbonate.

The bottom of the shelter is made of plywood and inside is a fireplace surrounded by a bench. The bench is filled with building materials found on the site. This ballast secures the shelter to the ground without any kind of digging for a foundation. The upper part of the shelter is in white transparent polycarbonate. The transparent ability allows daylight during the day, and after dusk the light from the fire will shine through the polycarbonate. This way the shelter brings back memories of old times lighthouses.

Besides being a design experiment, which tests the possibilities and structural solutions that digital fabrication is capable of giving, the shelter is greatly meant as a gift for the area and for those who wish to use it. It is about being in the company of good friends, in a fantastic place, around a fire during the dark time of the year. If bureaucracy had been taken into account, the project probably wouldn’t have happened. The wish to act independently was the desire to create a unique and specifical project without being subject to any kind of compromises. The project has occurred in the fascination of the area and in a wish to activate one of the potentials of this area.