The village wall
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The Village wall proposal partly addresses new ways of implementing an avalanche defense system for a small sea village in the east of Iceland. Furthermore it explores the relationship between form and function and aspects of beauty that are exposed from the making of the earthworks. Such as the contrast between prominent geometric shapes and the natural surroundings they are implemented in. As well as an interplay between convex and concave slope gradients that imitate natural slope conditions on the site. The project is a 2,5 km long defense system with 3,9 km of drainage channels. The Village wall itself is composed of catching- and deflecting dams, splitters and other hybrid deverting structures. That either stop or divert avalanches away from the settled area to retain bed loaders which dissociate the content of the avalanche, in this case - mud and water. Water is then led through the settlement and out to sea in sloping water basins. The designed waterways become a point of attraction for people to be and gather. The drawing technique that was utilized in the design process can briefly be described as follows; Each dam is dissected into profiles (cross section) that are attached to the dam leading axis, where each slope profile gets special treatment driven either under the influence of avalanche geometry (pronounced and rigid shapes) or the ideal compound slope that leaves a surface that simulates a curvilinear shape. The interplay between rigid and undulating forms, between invasive and less invasive appearances is a constant thread throughout the whole project site. And moulds fine line of contrasting landscape features that surround the village of Seyðisfjörður. The Village Wall is an idea of a contemporary relevance of a fortification as public space. A defense system against mudslides that becomes a fundamental link to the village chain. There are few places in the world where a city’s identity is defined by a wall as they were in medieval times. Not to mention as an identity for a small village.