Once I was There...

Period: Spring 2015 
Instructor: Leslie Gill, Mike Jacobs 
Location: Greenland  
Building Use: Research Laboratory



An ice core is a cylinder-shaped sample of ice drilled from a glacier. Ice core records provide the most direct and detailed way to investigate past climate and atmospheric conditions. Analysis of the physical and chemical properties of an ice core can reveal past variations in climate ranging from seasons to hundreds of thousands of years.  Neem Camp is one of many ice core drilling camps conducted in arctic and antarctic areas. The research is continued only during summer from May to August under the extreme condition of 24 hour sunlight and strong wind. During the season, several groups of researchers, up to 16, from multiple countries stay in the facility. In the facility, the space is divided into two parts; working and residential areas. Due to the 3 different work shifts, residential areas are subdivided and located separately. The daylight condition of each residence is controlled by fins on facade which creates day-night lighting conditions.



The extreme environment condition of the site causes the survival even harder. The only thing recognizable is white snow which makes the visibility for surviving difficult. So, color acts as an important mark for survival. The plane, which ships all daily necessities and ice cores excavated from the site, finds the site better through color, and researchers follows the color mark from the second site from distance.




Every year architecture changes the color of skin. The skin falls off and becomes part of earth. Color accumulates in the snow, blends together and creates the history of its own.







The weather condition in Greenland is dramatically different from anywhere on earth. During the period that the researchers are working on the site, the sun goes around for 24 hours long.
Communal space is designed as constantly bright space through the light from ceiling.



Three residential areas have their own time schedule. While researchers in the first residential area starts the day at 9 a.m, the ones who stay at the second residential area begins the day at 5 p.m. For this unique condition, fin system was applied in order to create 24 hour light change.



There are two layers in this skin system. Inner and outer fins are connected together with steel rod in order to create rotation movement. Outer fin controls the direction of sunlight coming into the space which creates different conditions of brightness and darkness. The material of outer fin is biodegradable and decomposes in to the earth after three month. With this process, only color remains on earth. Every year when researchers come back, new outer fins are installed with new color.



Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.
-Pablo Picasso

Human beings receive 80% of their information from the environment. Color belongs to the environment, and it is therefore a means of information and communication of absolute necessity for the interpretation and understanding of the natural and artificial or architectural environment. 

Term                 Colors Chosen                      Percentage
Love                  Red, Red-violet                          81%
Hatred               Black, Red                                89.6%
Tranquility         Blue, Green                              93.6%
Sorrow               Black, Gray                               86%
Jovial              Orange, Yellow                           50%

The location (Top, Sides, Bottom) of a color within the interior space can make a great deal of difference in influencing a room’s character, th way it is perceived psychologically, and subsequnet reactions to it.
A Particular hue that is perfectly suitable on the floor elicit and entirely different reaction when applied to the ceiling.
‘Color, environment, and Human Response’
by Frank H. Mahnke

Greenland is an extremely monochromatic place. According to the study, white or neutral environment can cause symptoms of restlessness, excessive emotional response, difficulty in concentration, and irritation. So, designing color in space was one of the main factors. Colors effect comes from the reflected light through fins. The color can be changed not only by the purpose of space but also by personal preference.



Color on fins varies by times. As light changes the condition of interior space by times, it influences on color of the fins, thus creating different density of color inside. As time goes, color in space becomes vivid, faded, disappeared, and clear. Also, considering the fact that exposing to certain color too long can lead stress, it is essential to employ the transformation of color. Through the study on reflected light effect, the fin system was developed.



This project aims three different levels using color. Color is a mark for surviving in the colorless place of Greenland. Color creates human history in uninhabitable place. Finally, color creates 24 hours and influences on human psychology, helping people to survive.