Focus towards ocean
S a s s e l b e r g s
F r a m i n g t h e O c e a n
Listen to the sound of the waves clashing onto the rocks, hear the seashells crackling under your feet as you walk upon them, feel the breeze of the wind lifting the sand onto your skin, smell the fresh oceans water and look into the horizon to see a magnificent sunset.
Framing the Ocean is a project that wants to emphasize the beauty of the ocean and the beach, by redirecting peoples focus towards this natural landscape and creating a character that is a reminder of the necessity of the natural scenery that can be enjoyed and should be appreciated.
This was my graduation project 2019.
Visiting the coastline, you would expect that the ocean and the beach will play the leading role, however at La Corniche this was not the case. Being a boulevard build full of exclusive clubs, peoples focus was directed towards the artificiality of the strip. With the clubs acting as borders and thereby blocking the view and access towards the ocean.
My intentions for the project became firstly to redirect peoples focus towards the ocean, secondly to open up the structures and thereby breaking with the notion of clubs that act as a border between boulevard and ocean and thirdly to create a route towards the beach, making it a place that is open and accessible for all public.
Open up the border
Beach access for all
With two group members we analyzed the leisure industry and thereby the boulevard of Casablanca. La Corniche is a 4 km long strip. Because of its size and its location in relation to the rest of the city it is mostly accessible by car. When driving along this large strip you will find that it consist mostly out of clubs such as resorts and restaurants.
To understand the clubs on an individual level, we took several prospection sites to analyze. In which we have dissected each club separately to find out how they work and how they are composed. What we have found from the analysis is that all clubs have the same strategy: they are built up from several components: the resource, the sign, a border and the transition. We have interpreted this as the logic of the escape built out of spaces of attraction, separation and transaction.
Concluding from the analysis of La Corniche and its clubs is that it is an exclusive strip. Its attention is focused on the boulevard, build full with clubs that act as a border between the boulevard and the ocean.
I am tackling these issues right at its core by using five existing clubs and convert them into a new project. The square, Crepescule, Kon Tiki, V-Randa and the circle are located along the boulevard, right next to the beach and the ocean and will be merged together into one new resource.
In the design I used three strategies as a tool for my project.
The first one is the strategy of contrasting. Using contrasts between architecture and nature enhances and complements the beauty of one another. Solid geometric lines are placed within the constantly moving water. Horizontal and vertical lines are confronting the irregularity of the rock formation.
The second strategy is to create different views of the ocean. Each time the view will be the ocean, but the way in which you experience it, or in which it is framed, will vary. Offering different sensations in viewing, where your sight lines are directed to the sea.
Last is the strategy of the journey. A journey that takes you through varies spaces, materials and senses. With its purpose to create awareness in the now, making you conscious of every step you take and where you are in the moment.
I have used the characteristics of the existing situation as a quality and converted them in a way to achieve the intentions of my project.
In terms of the landscape, I am letting nature flow into the project by removing the current swimming pools. I have made an estimation of how this landscape will form and take shape, judging from the current sea tide lines and rocky landscape. Given knowledge on the surroundings of the area I am assuming that the clubs currently are built on top of a rock formation.
In plan, the grid was a strong character. Very dense and controlled. This certain rigidity and control is a quality that I used as a character that confronts the unpredictable character of nature. By playing with the density of the grid I am allowing for a more porous structure to form. Which is in line with the idea of opening op the border and creating access to the beach.
The volumes of the circle and the square are opened up to fully engage with natures landscape.
The existing section has a typical cascading character, which has the potential to form a stepped route from boulevard to ocean. Creating a gradual transition. I adjusted the section by moving the vertical lines inwards, into the rock formation. Creating a tension and confrontation between architectural implementation and natures lines.
By removing and sometimes lifting the horizontal lines I created an interplay between open spaces and enclosed spaces, alternating between wider and smaller areas.
Within these adjustments materials will be re-used and recycled, such as the tiling of Kon Tiki and Crepuscule and the recycling of the existing concrete.
Level 0 - beach
Level 3 - boulevard
The strategy of the view can be explained via a set of components. Different types, elements, focus and attractions determine the experience of the view. Each view type will be explained briefly.
On top: on top of the roof structure or platform. This is an open area with no strong boundaries and therefor distractions can come from every side. This is an area to orientate yourself on what is to come.
In between: outdoor area in between the walls of the structure and the boulevard. This creates a frame from which to view the ocean. Distractions could come from people above, however to emphasize your focus in where you are now and to direct your sight towards the sea, attraction points are implemented. The walls are concrete cast on site and have the finish of relief of the wooden castings. Creating horizontal lines that point towards the ocean. A colored wall or columns guide your sight to the sea. The ground layer is made out of seashells, creating a movement that makes you aware of the moment.
Inside: inside one of the structures where you are surrounded by elements of the floor, walls, roof and columns. Together they form a hall that acts as a frame that you step into. Inside you are removed from all other distractions, with only one viewpoint. To enhance this focus, several attraction tools are used in the design. The edges of the hall are tilted and opened up to guide your view. A distance is created between you and the edge of the hall, making you look into the horizon instead of looking down. Only one side of the hall is completely open, which is towards the west. Therefor up till noon the hall will be cast in shadows and eventually from inside you have the perfect view of the sun going down.
Underneath: underneath a roof which is placed on top of columns with a wall behind you. The columns form a frame from which you look out to. There are no other distractions since the roof separates the activities from above and the wall from behind. At this stage you are either already on top of the landscape of the beach, or one step removed from the landscape of the garden.
Frame: frame created by an opening created in a wall, located at several places within the project. Even though there are distractions around you, this is a small opening in an otherwise closed wall and therefor will attract your full attention.
The way that all the elements and spaces are composed and placed in relation to each other create an exciting spatial sequence. Where every time that you pass to the next area you are surrounded by different materiality or ways of viewing. Making the route that you take an actual journey that keeps you curious about what is to come.
The drawings of the optic and integration chain are inspired by a method of Gordon Cullen. The images of the optic chain are the architectural representation of the project. The corresponding images of the integration chain underneath represent the social side of the project, the people and activities that could take place in those spaces.
These drawings imply the flow of spaces, experiences and interaction between people and the architecture, as well as between the people with each other. Since the project acts as a public park, it can be used accordingly. There could be skateboarders inside the halls, people are taking shelter from the rain and at night there might even be a drunk guy sitting in the half light, nearly passed out.
All these drawings give an impression of the use and activities within the project throughout a year. Seasonal from rain to sun and daily from morning to night.
Optic and integration chain
Following images are photographs of the two different models that I made to express the characteristics of the project and its relation with the ocean and beach.
The first model displays a grander picture of the project together with the surrounding area. Indicating the location in relation to the boulevard with its connecting clubs and buildings, as well as indicating the natural landscape that flows into the project.
The second model is a section, where I have zoomed in on a specific part of the project. In this model the five different view types are visible, aiming to represent how these types are composed individually as well as how they are composed in relation to each other. Creating that exciting spatial sequence and experience within the journey that you take to get towards the beach.
Model section 1:100 - front
Model section - back
Model section - side
Model section - side
Programs used for this project are: Sketch-up, Photoshop, AutoCad, Illustrator and InDesign.