Form Body Technique Space

earthwhistleUrban and Civil

Nov 25, 2013 (3 years and 4 months ago)

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Form

Body Technique Space

Bagsvaerd Church Jorn Utzon




Amy Wowk


F O R M


Bagsvaerd Church located on the outskirts of Copenhagen, Denmark
,

was
designed by Danish architect, Jo
rn Utzon in 1973
-
1976
for a Lut
heran
-
Protest
ant denomination (Andersen, 97
).
To generate Bagsvaerd Church’s
form, Utzon uses his

idea of additive architecture,
aspects of critical
regionalism,
and
light as a
function of architecture.











Fig. 2


Structural Units


Utzon employs the idea of additive architecture to create form.

(Fig. 1)

The
prime driver for his preoccupation with additive architect
u
re was his
“realization that society not only needs appropriate type
-
forms but also ways
of achieving these forms in an

economic manner” (
Andersen, 98
). The
exterior materials choices and plan arra
n
gement for Bagsvaerd Church reflect
this idea of additive architecture. The structural logic of the building is
organized on a grid of 2.2m x 2.2m, 36 units x 10 units across.
(Fig. 2)
There
are five separate bays arranged in a row from west to east with lateral sky
-
lit
corridors that

establish the zones around each area and delineate the
organization around the courtyards.
The functions of the five bays are laid out
one after a
nother so that together they make up a unified building volume.

The exterior of the Church suggests the form of warehouse and Danish barn
and

the only suggestions of what the interior of this Church expresses is the
rising and falling of the

tile work

tha
t loosely corresponds to t
he line of the
vaulted interior (Fig.3).

The interior, specifically the
vault
, contrasts the
utilitarian exterior with a poetic spatial experience of
curvilinear

concrete
forms that produce the experience of fluffy white clouds op
ening up to the
sky above.












Fig. 3 Ceiling Projection on North Elevation







Kenneth Frampton, in Towards a Critical Regionalism,

views Utzon’s Bagsvaerd
Church as a “self conscious synthesis between universal civilization and world
culture”
(
107
). The Bagsvaerd Chu
r
ch is a building of many contrasts.
The
exterior is constructed following the universal technique of rational, modular,
economic, prefabricated concrete, versus the interior that expresses the
culture

of the region with a specifica
lly
designed, organic
,

reinforced concrete
shell that manipulates the
Scandinavian

sky

and has multiple cross
-
cultural
references
.



Cross
-
cultural reference
s

to the plan arrangements can be found in some of
the Chinese B
uddhist monasteries, and also
Gunnar Asplund’s Holy Cross
Chapel where, in both ins
tances, the courtyards mediate
between the spaces
and between the open landscape and in the

interior.
In Bagsværd Church
,

the courtyards have a similar sp
atial function and also let day

light into the
adjoining rooms.

(Fig 4).

Also, the contrasting interior and exterior dialog at
Bagsvaerd is similar to that at Alvar Aalto’s Mount Angel Library.















Fig. 4 Courtyard Projection on Basic Form



Utzo
n conceived the concept of B
ag
svær
d Church in two sketches, show
ing
the transformation of a group of peo
ple on a beach into a congrega
tion in a
church

with
cloud
-
like

vaults.

Bagsvaerd Church

was a spatial response to
daylight and the path of the sun in Denmark. “The approach is so f
luent that
it is fair to say that the church is

organized in light “(Poulson, 12
).
According
to Paul Rudolph’s Six Determinants of Architectural Form, the third
determinant is the importance to address the “particular region, climate,
landscape and natural lighting conditions (213).
Utzon’s orientation of
building openings are primarily
in one direction


upwards, creating
its

poetic
cloud
-
like undulating ceiling and sky
-
l
it corridors. Additionally, courtyards
also take light and reflect it through screens of wood and glass and into
offices and meeting rooms. Almost every room in the chu
rch is situated
between and brightened by two light sources: corridor and courtyard.





Utzon “conceives daylight as a function of architecture”, and
designs the
vaults

purpose to diffuse light and distribute sounds in the space

(Poulson,
13)
.

The vaults are not only inspired by clouds, but also work like clouds as a
sheltering canopy and a reflector of light. The undulating concrete structure
makes the emergence of light from the clerestory windows high on the west
side of the sanctuary even m
ore dramatic. The ceiling of the i
nterior was
initially designed
from continuous over
-
lapping curves.






















Fig.5


Additive Architecture Reconfigured


Perhaps a different form would have resulted had different

influences from
other cultures have been combined
. Or
still applying

Utzon’s princi
ples of
additive architecture,
different configurations using the same b
locks and
framed with corridors would result in a very different form.

(Fig. 5)






Works Cited:

A
ndersen, M. (2000). “Revisiting Utzon’s Bagsvaerd Church” Retrieved from:
www.
www.arkitekturforskning.net


F
rampton
, K. (1983). “Towards a Critical Regionalism” in Labour, Work and Architecture, New York.


Rudolph, P. (2006). “The Six Determinants of Form” in C. Jencks and K.Kropf, eds., Theories and
Manifestoes of Contemporary Architecture, Wiley
-
Academy.


Schwartz, M. (2005).
, “Light Organizing, Jørn Utzon’s Bagsværd Church,” Jørn Utzon Logbook, Volume I
I,
Bagsværd Church, Edition Bløndal,