THE URBAN LIGHTHOUSE / competition winner

In our cont inuous strive to develope the hectic urban environment the need for a quiet piece of nature, away from the pollution, the noise and the very core of our cities is getting bigger and bigger. Trying to bring pieces from the places we love back with us, in our daily routine,  is becoming more of a necessity than a habit. They become vivid reminders of these spaces we hold dear and at the same time they reshape the way we look at our city and they encourage us to rethink the way we look upon the quality of our lives. Recreating a part of the Danube Delta in the very heart of Bucharest is a mission to raise awareness upon a unique habitat, of very rich biodiversity but at the same time it is an attempt to define a space of relaxation, wellbeing and interaction with each other, but also with the outdoor space.    Te area chosen to be symbolized is Sulina. The Urban Lighthouse project sets itself to be more than a recreation of a piece of the Delta. It represents a beacon, a symbol. The mental image of the urban landscape is divided into types of signs present in the urban landscape : visual , auditory, tactile and olfactory signs. The signal is defined as a conventional sign (sound or visual) or group of such signs used to give notice , information , warning, command.” The Icon ” is a sign found in an analogical relationship, who would possess the character significant even if the object  itself does not exist. The starting point is a sign that helps us recognize a place, helps with our orientation . “Regardless of our ability to perceive the symbol , he will enter directly into our consciousness . “ 

Kevin Lynch , concerned with the localization in the city , sees the city as a book that he is trying to read . In his study of urban image he identified five elements that help reading a place which he defined as: routes - Over their observatory moves usually;  limits - boundaries between two areas , neighborhoods - areas of the city , nodes - points of intense activity and benchmarks - symbols. Regarding the landmark in the city he states that “there are different kind of reference points the observer does not enter from the outside , simply defined physical object such as a building , a sign , a store or a mountain ” visual characteristics of the city that helps orientation in the city and to identify an area they can be very large , which are seen from a distance or very small , which can be seen only close.

So the urban light house is a form of representation, a landmark, symbolizing the area it depicts and also acting as a urban signal for the entire project and this patch of the Dambovita river. In fact the lighthouse is a bird feeder aiming to attract aquatic birds from Bucharest’s surrounding lakes by day, and act as a signal using it’s incorporated flashing light (powered by photovoltaic cells ) by night.

Being placed in the center of Bucharest, the lighthouse is visible from the main axes of the city that intersect in this very point, thus creating a perfect meeting point for pedestrians, locals and tourists representing also a way of „advertising” such a diverse and wonderful habitat, which is the Danube Delta

The geometric shape of the lighthouse is a self-standing hyperbola, built out of wooden structural elements. 

The basis of the hyperbola are divided in 16 segments and the defining direction is an one-segment-mutation between the base and the top. The main structural elements are made out of wooden beams (150 x 150 mm). Each beam (8 meters) has two segments, that are joined together mechanically with metal plates and screws. Each sub-segment is 4 meters long. 

The base of the lighthouse is made out of a double metal polygon. The horizontal parts of the polygon are 60 x 60 mm steel elements. The two metal rings are connected at a distance of 50 cm with 500x60x60 mm vertical elements and with diagonal elements, that have a cross section of 30 x 30 mm. 

The metal base holds together the floating system, made out of 8 100 liter plastic barrels. On the metal base are fixed the metal joints of the 16 wooden beams. The stability and proper connection of the wooden beams (also during the construction, but especially afterwards) is given by the diagonal elements (70 x 100 mm) that connect the base of a beam with the one-third-point of the beam to their left. The rigidity of the structural surface is secured by the base and upper wooden polygons. The suspended inner structure, an upside-down cone, that has its base at the upper wooden polygon, is the support for the photovoltaic panels and for the signal-light. This suspended component tensions due to its weight the surface of the hyperbola, strengthening its structural rigidity.

All the structural joints are planned and will be executed with regard to their use and the surrounding humid environment. All the materials will be protected with proper finishing.

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