How's It Hanging?

Competition for the “European Velo Stops”, tasked with creating creative designs for rest stop cabins that could be constructed along the EuroVelo 6 cycle path that runs along rivers connecting east to west of Europe. This project proposes a design that lets the natural terrain hold the position of leading actor by producing a model of architecture that does not upset the environment or effect too large a footprint yet still serve the necessary functions required and provides a higher quality of experience.

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Giurgiu-Ruse Friendship Bridge

Architecture is usually seen as a change or disruption to an environment where the project becomes the centerpiece, and the terrain its’s mere context. So, this project takes on the problem of reversing those roles, and proposes a project that lets the natural terrain hold the position of leading actor by producing an model of architecture that does not upset the environment or effect too large a footprint yet still serve the necessary functions required and provides a higher quality of experience. The EuroVelo 6 cycling route runs along some of Europe’s major rivers such as the Loire, Saone, a section of the Rhine and almost all of the Danube, and through its course, the route shifts from north to south of the rivers crossing through almost 400 large bridges. The environment and success of the route is deeply rooted in its relationship to bridge infrastructure, both for efficiency of connectivity, as well as for its beauty and views. This proposal aims to make use of the existing bridge infrastructure and attach new program to it, therefore creating a typology for location that can be recreated and adapted along the river to other bridges, while still effecting no footprint along the route. This scheme is a combination of heavy and light weight structures, which together serve the dual function of attaching to the existing bridge, and creating inhabitable spaces. The steel stairs form the core of the project, and at its intersection a series of tent like volumes are placed, housing the sleeping, sanitary and communal programs. As cyclists ride along the bridge crossings they will only see the steel plates that mark the entrance to the structure where the bike racks are placed; but once they descend onto the interior of the project they will experience the astounding environments of the EuroVelo 6 Rivers as they hang above them. This proposal aims to bridge the divide between architecture and site by emphasizing their mutual need. Neither should be subverted by the other, rather, as the route needs the presence of architecture to function, so does the project need the qualities of its environment to exist; and it is through that relationship, that a higher experience is created.