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Yggdrasil, The Hybrid Living Vessel

Part 1 Project 2014
Thora H Arnardottir
Arts University Bournemouth Bournemouth UK
An ash I know there stands,
Yggdrasill is its name,
a tall tree, showered
with shining loam.
From there come the dews
that drop in the valleys.
It stands forever green over
Urðr’s well.
(Poetic Edda, Völuspá 19)

Yggdrasil, the cosmological tree from Norse Mythology is the underpinning conceptual force behind the Hybrid Living Vessel.

The proposal adopts the ideology of the tree of life and translates it into a self-sufficient building that sustains the inhabitants and the buildings’ nine habitable floors. Located on the Quayside in the old town of Poole, the Living Vessel harnesses rainwater, generates electricity, manages its waste and grows food to serve the market, educational facilities, a food court and communal living accommodation.

The vessel’s core is essential both conceptually as well as structurally to support the lifeline of the building, its water, food and circulation. The ecological framework of phyllotaxis informs a natural order of leaves and this phenomenon has been transposed within the architectural spatial arrangements. The floor plates are organised via this principle to maximize the photosynthetic growth within the naturally lit, south-facing greenhouses. The prime living spaces are orientated east and west, with support accommodation located to the north.

The existence of the vessel as a living machine is power-driven by a system of aquaponics. Instead of traditional ways of growing, aquaponics maximises food production and minimises inputs such as freshwater. The system combines fish farming and hydroponic agriculture as an integrated, closed symbiotic loop. The fish pools form engaging visual paths towards the living vessels and connect to the greenhouses via exposed metal pipes, full of nutrient-rich water which they distribute to the planters and return back to the pools cleaned and aerated.

In mythology, Yggdrasil symbolises the battle between light and dark and it was the subject of constant decay and renewal. For Poole, the Hybrid Living Vessel is an exemplar for a new beginning to a city which has a fascinating industrial past and the potential for a revolutionary and systematic change to its future development.

Thora H Arnardottir

Tutor(s)

2014
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