What is a transformation, and what could it be? How could a strategy for how to approach a transformation project look?
I have defined a transformation as the act of taking an existing building and inserting a new program that creates a new reality.
There can be many reasons to do a transformation instead of building something new. The most important reason that I have chosen to work with is about capturing the qualities or values that exists in a building and bring them into the new reality and build on them instead of creating whole different values. Values in this case are things like surface area, volumes, height, light conditions, material and details. It is things like the cast concrete stairs and the very special windows in some parts of the building. To me this is the core idea and purpose of any transformation.
Because the values that are kept ties the present to the history, and carries and keeps memories and identities. They create continuity in the story of the building.
In a transformation a number of mayor conflicts arise because the new program demands values that the existing building lacks. How you chose to solve these conflicts is the most critical and most difficult aspect of any transformation.
My transformation is done two steps. The first step is about identifying as much values as possible and trying to bring them into the new program while overlooking the whole. The dwelling was there already, all I had to do was isolate the values and bring them in to the new program. I have kept as much of the existing material as possible to keep the values intact and only added walls to define the new apartments. The result is very particular dwellings; a lot of them have their own entrances, they are spreading out both horizontally and vertically and have sunlight from two directions.
This is a safe and rather easy way of keeping values. When these kept dwellings are defined the more difficult conflicts arises that makes the transformation so interesting. The surface areas that remain after I have laid out these kept dwellings are hard to create good dwellings from.
I think it’s important that the additions that has to be made in a transformation relates to the building that used to be. Otherwise there´s a great risk that the existing values are destroyed.
Relation for me is about picking up things like spatial concepts and concepts relating to form, material or structure.
The courtyards that exist today are rarely in use. Courtyards are actually something amazing. They don’t only retract sunlight but also shadow, rain, snow, sounds, foliage, bugs and birds deep into a building. Therefore I have chosen to develop the courtyards that already exists by adding some more. In and around the school there are also several stairs in cast concrete. To create connections I’ve added new similar stairs.
A good transformation creates the conditions needed for a new demand, while keeping the most important values in a building and adds to the identity instead of destroying it.
My strategy for transformations in two steps is about first bringing certain special values into a new program without considering the building as a whole. Afterwards an addition is created which relates to the existing while solving the conflicts that always arise when doing a transformation.
The result in this case is dwellings that are very particular compared to the dwellings which are usually built today. They are not standard flats but dwellings with surface areas, volumes, details and other characteristics that newly built dwellings rarely has.