transforming Reyðarfjörður from an industrial frontier to a light-orchestrated community
Located in Reyðarfjörður the site of the largest smelter in Iceland, my project proposes an alchemistic creative community that brings economical and cultural diversities by means of combining abundant energy on site, Icelandic intellectuals and secondary recyclable materials available. Considering people are the carriers of culture, conception of the town aims to use architecture designed to respond to tones of daylight as a medium to direct a vibrant social environment.
In 500 years of time, modern civilization based on enlightenment and knowledge has changed the face of earth. Paying much acclamation to technological advancement in its capacity to defy nature, human being as part of nature and also the conceiver of such machinist technology have grown subordinate to it. To meet the insatiable appetite of our industrialized world, Iceland's glacial rivers are dammed to supply energy to multinational heavy metal industry which resulted in the environmental damage and cultural degradation.
Satellite workshop spaces in-built within private residences, in conjunction with communal grounds and converging street network, set the basis of a people oriented community, whose products will materialize and be distributed using Alcoa’s industrial infrastructure. Basic urban programs such as port, business centers, educational facility and manufacturing centers are knitted within the town’s residential fabric, bringing closer the work place and house life. The whole town is a production hub, where housing complexes become a cooperative factory and streets are a community centre.
Technical research focuses on selectively admitting and redirecting daylight for task based indoor use and atmosphere based outdoor use by the geometrical deformation of building planes and the application of locally produced aluminum panels as solar reflector. Planning of stepped housing units and public programs on a south facing slope promotes the use of daylight hours on communal activities as a critique on the Alcoan 12-hour shift that deprives private life and a sense of community.
My proposal aims to address the social, economic and environmental impacts of industrialization involved with hydroelectric power plants. By questioning the existing Icelandic way of managing nation’s natural and cultural resources, the proposed urban settlement focuses on creating a people-oriented environment for the exchange and manifestation of knowledge. The new Reyðarfjörður that demonstrates an intelligent use of energy and materials will attempt to, first, offset the environmental degradations effected by traditional production/manufacturing modes; and secondly, bridge the spatial and socio-cultural isolation between industry and habitat.