the ‘last resort’ by RAFAA architecture and design
all images courtesy RAFAA architecture and design
swiss firm RAFAA architecture and design recently won first prize for their project ‘the last resort’,
in a design competition organized by the internationale bauausstellung in germany. they proposed
a mobile floating architecture focusing on movement and autarchy. as its name suggests,
the project follows the strategy of a last resort and tries to challenge known and familiar concepts
and show alternative ways of living.
the programme is organised on two levels. in order to be able to have an adequate
height of 2.5m in the upper deck, sleeping bunks, technical equipment and hatches
are built into the lower deck. they serve as ‘extension rooms’ of the upper deck:
beds and couches are embedded into the floor and can be opened as the need arises.
the external measurements are 5m x 15m. in the front area, there is a covered terrace;
there, you can find a staircase leading to the roof. together, the kitchen and the living
room form a generous open room. the bathroom consists of a core separating both bedrooms
from the common room. the bedroom can be separated by sliding panels and used separately
as a study. all in all, there are six beds (incl. 2 bunk beds).
two surfaces (floor and ceiling) frame the room experience ‘nature’; they form the upper
and lower margin of the picture. since the height and shape of the levels can be varied,
the perspective and view of the landscape keep changing. the floor, for example, bends
downwards at one point and disappears into the water. at another point, the roof curves
down to the floor. at some other spot, it opens in order to make space for the staircase.
all this generates a play on forms that, together with the swell, the wind and the water
reflection results in an intense nature experience.
the horizontal, undulated shape of the waterfront is the inspiration for the design
of the project. it also serves as means for orientation for the residents.
the landscape can be understood as an extension of the living room. therefore, an
unobstructed view of the landscape enhances the spatial quality of the design.
generally, there are two types of use. when landing at a moorage, a high level of privacy
is necessary due to possible adjacent neighbours. however, there is a practically boundless
freedom when landing on unmarked sites. a flexible view and light protection are therefore
necessary, not only for climatic reasons. it allows for the screening of certain rooms from
others, if required.
the roof and the floor are built with conventional methods of boat construction as load-bearing
structure. they have reinforcing ribs made of fibre-reinforced plastic (frp). the bracing
is effected through the core. the roof lies on the floor on certain spots and protrudes 2.5m
over the terrace area. the shape of the ceiling adjusts itself to the static requirements.
the roof’s forming during load effect has to be calculated for the accuracy of the geometry.
for serial production, the use of cnc-machines has to be considered. the specialisation of digital
production methods, together with traditional craft technology can be the future direction for
the lusatian dockyards.