ADS6: The Deindustrial Revolution – Garden of Making

Alex Boyce

Originally from Liverpool I began studying for my Architecture BA at the University of Liverpool in 2013 and graduated in 2016. While at
Liverpool my work revolved around the social realms of architecture; Housing pressures in Liverpool, the dilapidation of seaside towns and a speculative future for the NHS. In my final year of my undergraduate degree I was awarded the John Rankin Prize for Drawing, the SOTA Academic Achievement Award, was nominated for the Future Architects Exhibition and twice had work featured by Architectural Review Magazine.  

After graduating I worked at a small London based studio Hayhurst and Co Architects, primarily working on education projects across London including the new RIBA Clore Learning Centre at 66 Portland Place and a new STEM teaching space at Torriano Primary School in Camden, which has gone on to win the RIBA London small project of the year and a Civic Trust award.

My final year work has been a development of research undertaken during my first year at the RCA, where I speculated on a shift in the UK energy market towards a near future powered by a series of super-scaled offshore wind farms. Designing a new production facility for Montrose a small town on Scotland’s west-coast, the project investigated the rural-urban fringe as a place of manufacturing, landscape and civic community.  

Contact

alex.boyce@network.rca.ac.uk

alexboyce1@gmail.com

@Oljevegen

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Degree Details

School of Architecture

This year my work has been an exploration of how infrastructure is continually shaping the rural landscape and natural environment. Focussed on the role of national scale development in Norway, the work proposes a speculative alternative to pre-existing formats of roadside development across the country.  

Working primarily in film through the year has allowed for an interrogation of these proposed spaces with an emphasis on the atmosphere they produce within their context, their effect on the immediate surroundings and the creation of an experiential narrative. Oljevegen: The Oil Road, is a critical examination and response to the relationship between landscape, traditional culture, and the emergence of infrastructure along Norway’s western coast. 

The project poses a series of questions;  

How can infrastructural development become the starting point for a new type of building project, one that acts simultaneously as public building and infrastructure? 

How might a project of this type be developed over time within the context of the rapidly developing Norwegian coastal landscape? 

Through digital reconstruction is it possible to convey the climatic environment and intangible atmosphere of Norway’s landscape character? 



The objective of this project is not to account for the development of Norwegian Building through time nor to catalogue and examine its most important manifestations but rather to examine what, in both contemporary and speculative contexts, Norwegian construction truly can become. The project is structured around four key themes: The Natural, The Domestic, The Regional, and The Foreign. Each of these is established and described in depth by Christian Norberg-Schulz in Nightlands: Nordic Building.  

The Natural 

It is through the Natural that we can begin to expose the roots of an architecture and suggest how building can provide a response to this naturally given environmental landscape. 

The Domestic 

The historic dwelling forms an integral part of Europe’s cultural landscape. It varies with place but always appears at home in its surroundings. Indeed, it often seems that it is the settlement that allows the landscape to emerge as it does; reciprocally, the nature of the environment deepens the significance of the buildings. 

The Regional 

The traditional buildings, that previously punctuated the landscape, have disappeared; few examples of domestic folk architecture remain, and the church has been pushed aside in favour of structures that cater to movement and passage. 

The Foreign 

In the context of this research the foreign does not simply refer to the idea of a nation external to Norway, it encompasses broader ideas of what the foreign can mean in specific contexts. The scale, form, and atmosphere of an architecture can appear and be experienced as foreign. It is something that challenges the norms and proposes the unfamiliar.  

Oljevegen: The Oil road

Medium:

Digital Animation

Size:

3:30min
Animation
Atmosphere
Climate
Digital Animation
Environment
Infrastructure
Journey
melancholy
Norway
Road
Scale
Vernacular

The E39

The E39

The Festøy Ferry

The Festøy Ferry

Emerging Roadside Infrastructure

Atlanterhavsveien (The Atlantic Ocean Road)

The reconstruction of the E39 has become the epitome of Norway’s infrastructural aspirations. The project's inception demonstrates the nation’s growing and an unwavering appetite for development on a national scale. The projects consist of the reconstruction of an existing 1100km stretch of highway from Kristiansand in the south to Trondheim in the North. Within the context of the film the E39 becomes the set through which design, narrative, and atmosphere are explored.

Medium:

Line Drawing

Size:

297x420mm

Allmannsrett I

Allmannsrett II

Allmannsrett III

Allmannsrett IV

In Norway, the Allmannsrett, or in English The Everymans Right, grants everyone the right to access and pass through uncultivated land in the countryside. This building proposal builds on this land designation and roaming right by proposing a key-less shared domestic architecture for short term inhabitation.

The proposal develops a form and materiality that sits between the vernacular and the infrastructural, creating a new regional aesthetic for the length of the E39.

Internal spaces are rich and warm, exposed plaster walls designate the internal core of the building, housing communal respite, cooking, and eating facilities.

Split across five distinct volumes, residential rooms provide privacy and shelter to the weary road traveler. The steeply sloping timber roof acts as a veil over each of the building’s volumes.

Positioned parallel yet removed from the E39 highway this large timber building sits at the foot of the Ulla-Forre, a hydropower complex in Suldal municipality.

Medium:

Animation Still

Size:

384x216mm

The Folk Infrastructure Museum I

The Folk Infrastructure Museum II

The Folk Infrastructure Museum III

The Folk Infrastructure Museum IV

Moving north along the E39 we explore how Norway’s historic architectures might be preserved, exhibited, and experienced in a near-future environment. Surrounded by a complex of flyovers, elevated roads, and viewing platforms a challenging labyrinthine journey is created around these iconic remaining structures.

Navigable only by vehicle and designed to elevate visitors to roof level the proposal offers an alternative perspective on these iconic structures.

Returned to the rural west coast from Norway's city-based open-air museums and nestled in Haugsvær, a secluded and sheltered valley are the nation's last remaining Stave churches.

Medium:

Animation still

Size:

384x216mm

The Platform I

The Platform II

The Platform III

The Platform IV

The viewing platform is a stalwart of Norwegian roadside construction. Yet it always seeks to remove one from the detail of the environment. Placed high above the ground or perched off a rocky escarpment, it fails to offer a true space for landscape and atmospheric experience. It instead acts to separate the occupier from the landscape, the earth, and the environment.

It is here in the Vatsfjorden, where one is invited to position themself out into the heart of the environment. This is the final fjord that the recently decommissioned Oil rigs will pass through on their way to be dismantled. As North Sea oil is no longer viable its infrastructure is removed and returned to its origin, the small town of Vatne to be razed to the ground.

The platform acts both as a place of solitude and as a navigational tool in the notoriously treacherous Vatsfjorden. Its illuminated lantern marks the entrance to the Vatsfjorden for the team of tugboats shepherding these structures back home to slowly mark the end of Norway’s age of oil.

Oljevegen: Kvardag

Oljevegen: Kvardag (This Oil Road: The Everyday) is the first expression of the projects research into a moving image piece. Kvardag became instrumental in defining the visual story telling of the project and formed a key component in the expression of atmosphere through the manipulation of still and subtly moving imagery.

The four thematic ideas, the natural, the domestic, the regional and the foreign that form the core of the project were initially explored instinctively through this short film. This short film is constructed from a set of digitally manipulated images, handmade paper models, on-location footage and digitally manufactured scenography.

The film sought to test ideas relating to the creation of atmosphere using both static and dynamic elements each layered over one another to augment the still image and enhance the on-location recordings. The use of designed scenography and on-location recordings seek to blur the boundaries between the actual, the probable, and the possible.

Through this methodology each scene becomes a device through which an atmosphere and mood can begin to emanate. This practice became foundational in defining the process through which each aspect of the project was evaluated. Location, scale, material and climatic conditions were all tested and considered as part of this emerging projects visual language.

Medium:

Digital Animation

Size:

3:17
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