choosing a site
November 25th, 2010 | Richard Almond
The harbour basin offers a variety of possible sites for the sailing academy. I wish there to be a tangible connection to the water, but also an obvious integration with the city fabric. The academy must be perceived to be within the public realm and must offer oppurtunity for social interaction with the city.
I am aware that sailing is commonly viewed as an elitist sport and therefore part of the challenge here is to prevent the building acting as a barriers between itself and Reykjavik’s residents. Organisations such as the United Kingdom Sailing Association offer a charitable function, aiming to change the lives of deprived young people through sailing, and this is something I am keen to apply to Reykjavik.
The northern edge of the harbour is currently mostly industrial in use, and is where the fishing trawlers tend to dock. Site ‘a’ offers a good potential location for a sailing academy due to its proximity to the harbour wall and the open sea, but its exposure to the elements could prove problematic.
Site ‘b’ is currently the pier which the coast guard ship is moored to, and it contains only one small hut as a coast guard office. Its use has not been altered in the masterplan yet its location as a major pier within the harbour and its proximity to the new Harpa Concert Hall means it is a very prominent site. There is opportunity here to situate moorings for the boats around the perimeter of the academy itself, and it is in close proximity to both proposed new moorings to the south edge and the harbour wall to the east, yet still benefits from the shelter of the harbour. This site offers a prominent connection into the city to the south.
Site ‘c’ is similar to ‘b’ in many ways yet is possibly too large in terms of its footprint. Its location could potentially see sailing activity interfere with fishing and other industrial activity.
Site ‘d’ benefits from a connection to the new maritime museum, offers a smaller pier and is in close proximity to moorings which are to remain in the masterplan. This site would involve working within one of the proposed new city block which of course offers excellent opportunity to integrate the building within the city fabric, yet its eastern corner location is probably the most cluttered area of the harbour, and one in which industrial/fishing activity will remain. This poses potential problems of beginner sailors bouncing off piers and ending up entwined with the hull of a fishing trawler.
Through carrying out a detailed feasibility study I am confident that site ‘b’ is the most sensible in which to locate this sailing academy.