Graduate 2017: Architecture as lever
Architecture can emphasise and unleash the special features of an area. That could be, for example, a beautiful coastline or a great view – or a totally unique geological phenomenon such as the black fish clay in Stevns Klint. Meet the architects Simon Reseke and Henrik Drejer Andersen, who in their joint final project used architecture as a regional lever for Stevns Municipality.
What is your graduation project about?
Beneath its picturesque appearance, the geology of Stevns Klint conceals a dramatic story.
65 million years ago, just about all life on Earth was wiped out by a meteor. A black strip of so-called fish clay in the cliff marks the transition to a new era. In 2014, as a result of the cliff’s unique geological layering, the area became a UNESCO World Heritage site. That has already increased the number of visitors in the area, but the story of the black fish clay is both relatively inaccessible and hard to decode under the present conditions.
Via new spaces for geological research and dissemination we came up with the idea of Stevns Klint as a cohesive activity and research destination: a destination that can act as a lever for the area and, via cohesive planning, form a context for a varied experience of the geological narrative along the cliff.
What was your motivation for this project in particular?
The inclusion of Stevns Klint on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2014 led to a need for new spaces for research into, and dissemination of the area’s geological story. In this context, as one out of ten pilot projects, they were granted dispensation to build inside the coastal protection line.
The current needs and unique geological narrative motivated us to examine how an area such as Stevns, via coherent planning, could exploit the huge potential for development that is intrinsic in being designated a World Heritage site. What we found interesting was working on a variety of scales: from strategic planning to the devising of various interventions along the cliff.
In what way do you imagine your project can make a difference?
We hope our project can be part of a discussion about how strategic architectural planning can make the very best use of a destination’s special potential for enhancing a large area. We also hope our final project can contribute to the current task of designing new spaces for geological research and dissemination along the cliff.
What sort of development potential do you think the project has?
Our final project has strengthened our ability to work across different scales. It has also equipped us with the tools to build a clearer argument when we go on to design more projects on the basis of the thorough analysis and registration of an area. This has been an important professional development, which will hopefully serve us well in the future.
What are the most enjoyable and the most difficult aspects of the way you work on architecture?
One of the most exciting aspects of the study for us was conceiving and designing new spaces to tackle actual needs.
Another aspect lies in the constant new challenges, which mean that tasks are never the same. As architecture students we have learned about areas, about which otherwise we knew nothing. This final project, for example, gave us in-depth knowledge of the science of geology and the special geological conditions at Stevns.
Where do you see yourselves career-wise in five years’ time?
In five years’ time we hope to be part of a creative part of a design studio.