December 2018 | Austin, Texas | Competition Entry hosted by Bee Breeders | Awarded Honorable Mention
enVELOp seeks to provide riders with a place of refuge that compliments and celebrates the fundamental experiences of cycling the EuroVelo6 route. Part of the route experience involves passing through and stopping at nodes in the form of cities, towns, and landscape vistas, however, much of the ride is experienced as a continuous flow along the water’s edge. Biking the EuroVelo 6 route is primarily an experience of being exposed, vulnerable to the elements and the immediate surroundings. The thrill of this constant exposure is part of what makes cycling so compelling. Along the way, the linear, edge-like elements of river, path, and an often “median-ized” landscape offer little opportunity to stop and “be” for a while outside of urban areas. enVELOp offers a protective eddy from the flow, giving a generous space to pause and reflect on the landscape while staying connected with the experience of the cycling path.
enVELOp begins by providing a respite from the exposure with shade and protection in the form of a large expansive deck and screen wrapper (VeloShade). This base structure can exist on its own and be activated by flexible furniture for a lunch stop, or even used as an overnight sleeping porch for campers. Prefabricated modules can be added to VeloShade to offer increased comfort and functionality, depending on the available services. The second level, VeloStop, adds one additional module containing a bathroom and maintenance closet. The third level, VeloStay, adds four sleeping modules with protected bike parking, and a wet module with shower and sink. In plan, the modules are arranged loosely on the deck, creating pockets in between and around them to change, pack a bag, or check your map. Additionally, the deck edge offers an informal place to sit, a front-row seat for viewing the landscape and the trail.
enVELOp creates a porous and occupiable space in a zone that typically functions as a boundary through the interplay of two systems - a wood screen wrapper that holds space, and a series of loosely aggregated solid wood volumes. Wood was selected because it is a rapidly renewable, sustainable and durable resource. Cross-laminated timber utilizes modern technologies while relating to historical European traditions of timber construction. The structure is composed of CLT columns and beams, and the modules are prefabricated CLT panels that can be easily transported and quickly assembled on site. The wood screen and decking system requires no sophisticated construction knowledge and can be made using local wood and labor.
The way enVELOp blurs the edges of the path echoes the blurred edges between countries along the EuroVelo 6 route and across the EU. While boundaries are often considered as finite, two-dimensional planes, this project explores the notion of edges made spatial and connective rather than two-dimensional and divisive, simultaneously negotiating between necessary physical containment and desired experiential connections. Cycling is a unifying experience in that it is accessible to all regardless of age, economic status, gender, or demographic. The enveloping gesture of the large porch - a symbol of hospitality and welcome - invites all users of the trail and nearby communities to share the experience of escaping into nature, whether for a day-ride or on a month-long bike tour.