Yggdrasil Hybrid Living Vessel
Yggdrasil Hybrid Living Vessel_Thora H Arnardottir


            he brief was to design a hybrid building that
            combined eat, live and work with in the Quay side of
            Poole in the UK. The project was approached by designing a building that would be a sustainable community in itself, promoting a new industrialized city by combining nature, growing, communal living and working within. 

Tutor: Rebecca Granger
Conceptual modelling of the two buildings
in paper and plaster
An ash I know there stands,
Yggdrasill is its name,
a tall tree, showered
with shining loam.
From there come the dews
that drop in the valleys.
It stands forever green over 
Urðr’s well.

(Poetic Edda, Völuspá 19)
             ggdrasil, the cosmological tree from Norse
             Mythology is the underpinning conceptual force
             behind the Hybrid Living Vessel. 
The proposal adopts the ideology of the tree of life and translates it into a self-sufficient building that sustains the inhabitants and the buildings’ nine habitable floors. Located on the Quayside in the old town of Poole, the Living Vessel harnesses rainwater, generates electricity, manages its waste and grows food to serve the market, educational facilities, a food court and communal living accommodation.  


Structural frame model of the core
Floor Plan
5th floor plan 
Section through the living pods and greenhouse space
            he vessel’s core is essential both conceptually as
            well as structurally to support the lifeline of the
            building, its water, food and circulation. The ecological framework of phyllotaxis informs a natural order of leaves and this phenomenon has been transposed within the architectural spatial arrangements. The floor plates are organised via this principle to maximize the photosynthetic growth within the naturally lit, south-facing greenhouses. The prime living spaces are orientated east and west, with support accommodation located to the north.



Installation of an aquaponics system to  power the vessel
             he existence of the vessel as a living machine is
             power-driven by a system of aquaponics. Instead                of traditional ways of growing, aquaponics maximises food production and minimises inputs such as freshwater. The system combines fish farming and hydroponic agriculture as an integrated, closed symbiotic loop. The fish pools form engaging visual paths towards the living vessels and connect to the greenhouses via exposed metal pipes, full of nutrient-rich water which they distribute to the planters and return back to the pools cleaned and aerated.


Moveable structure
The movement of the containers allows the
building to shift and change, arrange the
structure to fit the function
By moving the containers to the ground an
oppertunity for a market space opens up
       n mythology, Yggdrasil symbolises the battle between
       light and dark and it was the subject of constant decay
       and renewal. For Poole, the Hybrid Living Vessel is an exemplar for a new beginning to a city which has a fascinating industrial past and the potential for a revolutionary and systematic change to its future development.


My work has also featured on AJ website as part of the AUB Student Show 2014 review.

“Stand out student on the BA course was Thora Arnardottir whose final project was a self-sustaining based on Yggdrasil, the tree of life, where inhabitants are feed and watered by and intelligent centre core.”

Intergration of Urban Aquaponic Growing and Living


the Hybrid Living Vessel.

Winner of  Terence and Annette O'Rourke Undergraduate 
Prize of 2014