This is not a Boardwalk

Thesis, Design Project, 2009

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Design: Tim Steffen Altenhof

Supervising Professor: Michelle Howard/Werner Skvara, Academy Of Fine Arts Vienna, CMT - Construction, Material, Technology 


Akademie der Bildenden Künste Wien

Summer Term 2009


This Is Not A Boardwalk - by Tim Altenhof 2009 | Model (1)
This Is Not A Boardwalk - by Tim Altenhof 2009 | Model (2)

„This Is Not A Boardwalk" is a proposal for a worker's club in Trieste: Club Dei Lavoratori di Trieste.

Urban aspects

The project seeks to establish an urban connectivity between the city of Triest and its port. As a bundle of circulation paths detaches both realms from each other, the worker's club induces an extension of the city towards the water front by overcoming the actual gap. 

Flaneurism and access

The workers club’s roof acts as a boardwalk, allowing for a flaneurism without having to enter the building's main facilities. Almost non of the conventional elevations may be perceived due to the site conditions. The roof top is the only visible face seen from the Sopra Elevata (the elevated highway). Hence the main access into the club is provided from above as one descends into the porous, shadowy ground spaces.

Site occupation

Benefit is taken from the enormously longitudinal site. Capitalising on the entire footprint generates one coherent space for the worker’s club. 


The major volume is hollowed out, a “solid-void”-relation is the result. Solids then host the main programs, the void functions as circulation space and creates an interior-like piazza. Allowing distinct gazes to occur all over the place, the port-city relationship is tightened as cranes appear all of a sudden, and ships emerge between warehouses. Theses framings introduce a human scale into the surrounding structures. 

Noisy Surroundings

One of the adjacent areas is run by Cartubi, which is a dockyard company. Spaces within the worker's club need to be filtered against this noisy part of the surrounding. Filtering noisiness in terms of acoustics, 
but also on the basis of vision, the permeable structure of the club creates unity both inside but also with regard to the outside. 

Visual Integration

Objects from the dockyard areas are visually incorporated into the club. These framed views create an awareness of one’s position within the interior space. The worker's club forms a village within the city, encompassing both the floody horinzontality of the bright port, as well as the more mazy, shadowy parts of the old city.