STOCKHOLM (SE) - According to architect Camilla Schlyter of Schlyter/Gezelius Architects, the increasing use of computers and software design programs by architects is one of the reasons behind the unbalanced relation between architecture and the environment.
It is a subject that Schlyter, who is by no means computer illiterate, has researched over the past 25 years, culminating in an essay, 'The architect's digital tools and their implications for the physical landscape'. Briefly put, her conclusion is that designing with the computer places undue emphasis on the image at the expense of the content: 'Projects nowadays tend to be complex and develop very fast, focused on creating distinctive, big buildings with a "wow" factor. At some point I also noticed my work was more about doing nice renderings than anything else.'
Under the motto 'low impact, no waste', she started using the computer in a different way for her designs. This wooden holiday home south-west of Stockholm is a clear example of that new approach.
Digital tools were used here to calculate the quantity of building materials required so precisely that there would be little or no waste (a small piece of facade panel was the only leftover); to augment the sense of space and the relationship with nature without increasing the physical volume; and to automate the process of sawing the wood.
Another green aspect of this project is that it used local materials – wood (sustainably felled), cellulose insulation, putty – and a local contractor and carpenters. What's more, for this building, which is optimally oriented for wind and sun, no rock had to be dynamited, no tree felled. 'The way I use CAD and Maya software now, actually helps me read the landscape better,' says Schlyter. (Kirsten Hannema)