Egholm Refuge

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Joachim Morell Jakobsen
  • Søren Dam Mortensen
4. term, Architecture, Master (Master Programme)
What is a refuge? This question is the primus motor for this project. The question could be answered in several different ways, and when confronted with the following design of strategy that the answer requires to realize the architectural design of a building, the potential outcome of the project is very open.

The design of this particular refuge seeks to accommodate a need for calm and immersion in work for research, studies, writing and the visual arts. The design of the refuge seeks to answer these needs by creating distance from the everyday life of the visitor, be it the life of the city or the life of the suburbs.

The site of the refuge was chosen as a consequence of this answer, or design parameter, to be on the small island of Egholm, just north of Aalborg. Being close to the city, yet clearly detached from it, the island provides the transition that creates the distance needed to the mainland. The transition is taken from the city by boat across Limfjorden, the seaway, to the island of Egholm, across the flat land of fields to the relatively wild part of the island that presents its rich animal life both visually and auditory, as well as the rich vegetation. On the coast on the southwestern part of Egholm the site is presented to the visitor.

These transitions is developed even further in the design of the refuge. As one Is presented to the site, one is greeted by the main building, a large, square, monolithic building, clad in rusty steel and concrete. The indoors is welcoming with its warm wooden surfaces that stands in contrast to the often bleak and murky weather of the danish outdoors. The building complex consisting of towers placed in the water of Limfjorden reveals itself as one ascends the stairs to the “level of the refuge”. The level of the refuge being the level of the dyke, that until this moment has concealed the vista of Limfjorden from the visitor. A raised walkway in the shape of a circle encompasses the towers that seems to be standing arbitrarily In the shallow water. The walkway takes the visitor on a journey to the outdoors again, walking over the landscape, a small brook, across the dyke and above the changing waters of Limfjorden to the designated tower, where a vertical distribution stair leads up to ones workroom. These transitions seeks to create the significant distance to the everyday life of the visitor.

The aim of creating calm and space for immersion in work are linked. The calm is sought in order to achieve the surplus to immerse in a given work. The theory of prospect and refuge, coined by Jay Appleton in 1975 is used as an inspiration to design spaces that accommodates these needs. The interior of the work areas, be it for the writer or the painter, offers brightly daylit spaces. In contrast to the secondary spaces such as the sleeping area, entrance, toilet and bath, these workspaces offers a higher room height, creating a subtle transition between them. The consciousness of the dimmer lit, lower areas of the work room, from the work area, creates the calm notion of the possibility of refuge while working. The view to the outside from the work area offers the awareness of secondary places of prospect and refuge, namely the walkway and the other buildings respectively.

The designed refuge makes use of this definition of the refuge and the following transition and theory of prospect and refuge to answer the proposed question. Together with the integrated design process, using energy calculation while sketching the design of the refuge, and making use of passive as well as active means to lower the use of energy the project comply with energy consumption of the danish building regulation predicted 2020.
Publication date23 May 2012
Number of pages123


ID: 63233969