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Copenhagen's Thermal Event Center
University of California Berkeley MArch Thesis | Advisors David Orkand & Prof. Susan Ubbelohde | Spring 2019 

Can physical space reactivate an intuitive understanding of heat and its communal celebration? According to Vitruvius, “it was the discovery of fire that originally gave rise to the coming together of men.” Fire enabled us to control our comfort and establish shared thermal spaces before energy production became hidden in powerplants far from urban areas.

On Refshale Island, a thermal event center incorporates thermal contouring from Copenhagen’s climate as well as its neighboring district heat system to promote various forms of public recreation. Two corners of thermal extremity accommodate programs hot to cold. A central area consists of an ice-skating rink and swimming pool, which both transform seasonally from indoor to outdoor space through the sharing of one roof.  A continuous topographic roofscape, supported by a steel truss network, unites these programs and elevates a public landscape. Within the steel trusses’s framework, cellular zones of space divide scale. Gradients between thermal zones are anticipated through a gradient of density, topographic transformation, and light filtration of the roof structure’s ascension. 

While incorporating green technology, this thesis is not intended to focus on efficiency or the mechanical means of generating heat. While these advancements are necessary, I believe we lack a value for energy rather than efficient technology. With opportunities of clean energy, we can restore the hearth to its best position: the center of our lives. 

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