Building for Discovery

Our movement through space has a profound effect on the way that we perceive our near environment as well as the larger context. The site in Bergen, which this research focuses on, is characterised by an elevated position that overlooks the city. The built form of the site, which consists of surrounding houses and various levels, contribute to the perception of the city. As each person travels through the site, a narrative is formed that informs an individual experience of the city. By its very nature, the city reveals itself in certain ways as one moves between locations. With the addition of forms that emphasize and exaggerate what is already existing in the built form, there is an opportunity to dramatize the city through the sequences that it is perceived. By forcing perspectives onto the city, the view and experience are altered. It is possible to connect people to the city in a deeper way by carefully orchestrating the ways in which the city is revealed and viewed. Through these additions to a site, new emotional experiences can be achieved for the user. The predominant goal is to encourage movement and exploration within the urban realm. Through enhancements to the built form that evoke intrigue, a desire to move forward can be achieved.

One of Le Corbusier’s main goals was to guide people in the process of savoir habiter, knowing how to live. This concept involved an understanding and appreciation of what he considered to be the important things in life. The promenade architecturale is designed with a sensitivity towards people and their surroundings, that would ultimately lead towards a connection with nature. The promenade is the observer’s pathway through the built space. It is the sequence of images that unfolds before the eyes of the observer as they gradually advance through space. It creates a hierarchy among the architectural events for the user as they travel through and experience the spaces.

Similarly, the English picturesque garden is also based on the specific construction of a promenade with 'constructed' views, vistas and experiences. According to Bernard Tschumi, frames or the moments of sequence, derive significance from juxtaposition, as they establish the memory of the preceding frame and the course of events. There is an opportunity for the experience to be altered as the frame permits the extreme formal manipulations of the sequence. The addition of elements can change the meaning of the sequence, providing new possibilities to the narrative. Le Corbusier’s work also incorporated the creation of a decision-making space for movement. Notable projects, such as Villa La Roche or Villa Savoye, contain this space for questioning, where choices are provided to the user and questions are asked which offer a variety of possibilities for movement and engagement.

Bodies not only move in but generate space produced by and through their movements. Movements of dance, sport, and war are intrusions of events into architectural spaces. At the limit, these events become scenarios or program... independent but inseparable from the spaces that enclose them.
Bernard Tschumi

The explorations for this proposal evolve around questions on our experience through movement. What are the elements that draw interest to a site? i.e. landmarks, bodies of water, natural or architectural features. What are the diverse ways of engaging with a site and its context? How can we introduce elements to a site that enhance or exaggerate the features that already exist? How can we provide opportunities for the public to engage with a site in several ways? Is there a structure to how we want this engagement to be orchestrated? Or is there a level of flexibility that allows


  1. Flora Samuel. Le Corbusier and the Architectural Promenade, Walter de Gruyter: (2010).
  2. Bernhard Tschumi. Architecture and Disjunction, MIT Press: (1996).
  3. Bernard Tschumi. Architecture and Limits III. In: Art Forum (March 1981, Vol. 19, No. 7)