Studio for Unsolicited Architecture, Auditorium NAi, photo: Carel van Hees, 2012
A bid for flexible planning, a bid for performative spaces and a bid for a sporting ground on Rotterdam’s Binnenrotte. These were the projects presented to the public and (future) team partners on Tuesday 17 January at the NAI. The bids are the work of three teams who have been developing their research proposals over the last few months with the support of the ‘Studio for Unsolicited Architecture’. Moderator Farid Tabarki guided the audience through the different presentations.
Studio for Unsolicited Architecture
The evening was dedicated to architecture as a force for innovation. Ole Bouman, who opened the evening, reminded us that we should – and could – be proud of a profession that appears to have been overtaken on all sides by mundane realities. The economic downturn, the limits placed on creativity and the waning belief in the potentials of the profession were all instrumental in the decision to launch the 'Studio for Unsolicited Architecture'. The Studio is a project that demonstrates architecture’s capacity to devise inventive, experimental answers to a myriad of social issues.
Tom Bergevoet of 'temp.architecture' presented an alternative approach to area development, a ‘flexible model’ that centres on responsiveness and future growth options. This differs from the standard approach which involves a small group of people deciding what will be built and within which frameworks over the years ahead. The ‘flexible model’ proposes a process made up of smaller steps. With each new step, the stakeholders meet to discuss and decide the action to take. The flexible model is able to respond and adapt to our ever-changing world, and risks are chopped up into portions that are easier to deal with. The team of 'temp.architecture' and 'BBN Adviseurs' made recommendations concerning financial, procedural, legal and spatial mechanisms that could be developed or adapted to facilitate this type of development. Recommendations that, for example, included extending the legal term for realising a structure with a temporary building permit from five to twelve years – and which would create opportunities for constructing a vast number of new designs. The mechanisms proposed were then put to the test, using various design sketches, at a test site in Zeeburgereiland, Amsterdam. The team presented the flexible planning bid book to Tjakko Smit, development manager with 'Bouwfonds Ontwikkeling' and to Maurice de Lange, project manager of 'Zeeburgereiland' for the municipality of Amsterdam. Both were interested in the opportunities presented by the methods offered and De Lange reported that Amsterdam municipal council had adopted a pilot plan for the building of temporary structures on Zeeburgereiland.
On behalf of 'Lilith Ronner of Hooijdonk & Conditional Design' Elsbeth Ronner presented research into future public spaces. Working from the premise that, until several decades ago, many kinds of public spaces enabled political and social debate and human interaction, but that there are so few public spaces fulfilling that function today, the team proposed a new type of public space: the performative space. The performative space is a space where visitors are pleasantly confronted with themselves and others and with the restrictions and opportunities the space offers. The idea is inspired by the performance art movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The team’s bid is based on the assumption that the public sphere has not disappeared – it’s alive and kicking on social media like Facebook. Their bid also embraces the search for a spatial design for public space that encourages interaction, confrontation and manipulation.
Ronner presented two proposals. A design for Rotterdam’s Museum Park; ‘OMA’s’ two-dimensional flag of Europe painted on the square can be transformed into a three-dimensional landscape by using mats that can be rolled up. The mats can be curled into different shapes such as a chaise-longue or a cocoon. The second proposal concerned a ‘bell landscape’ intended for a parking area on the former Philips Strijp-S site in Eindhoven. By installing bells in different ways, visitors could unintentionally – or intentionally – interact by performing a ‘bell symphony’ The team offered its bid book to three parties. On behalf of Stichting Museumpark, Ole Bouman signed a letter of intent for the Museum Park project te see whether the proposal could be realized at some point. Project manager Alwin Beernink (on behalf of the Park Strijp Beheer consortium), and Jan Schuijren of Flux/S international arts festival both signed letters of intent for the Strijp-S project.
Oana Rades of the team 'Shift architecture urbanism' and 'Paul Zuidgeest Landschapsarchitectuur' began her presentation with a brief survey of the benefits inherent in sports. Participating in sporting activities helps to ‘cement society’ and reduce absenteeism from work. Benefits that the city of Rotterdam is keen to pursue, if its policy documents are anything to go by, as Rades showed the panel. Nonetheless, many sporting activities take place at peripheral locations and rarely within the fabric of the actual city. Thus, the team’s bid concentrates on an inner city location in the heart of the city: the Binnenrotte. A location that is partly used as a market area, but goes unused 4.5 days out of 7 when it is nothing but a desolate site. The team’s proposal - Sportplein Binnenrotte - involves reprogramming the square. For 4.5 days a week it will serve as Rotterdam’s sporting location, playing the role of market square 1.5 days a week. To facilitate this dual function, the team designed the spatial elements necessary – a sports pitch that can be raised to clear the square for the market. The bid also focuses on forging alliances. For its successful realization, the inner city sports square needs the support of different parties able to work together to achieve the various policy objectives. The team presented its first alliance. To implement the project, they need the support of the residents’ platform Progroen, the Richard Krajicek Foundation and the NOC*NSF umbrella sports organization. The team presented the Sportplein Binnenrotte bid book to potential partners Eric van Veen of the Krajicek Foundation, Hanne Daanen of the NOC*NSF and Ronald Goijen of Progroen, followed by officially presenting the bid book to the aldermen Louwes and Van Huffelen of the municipality of Rotterdam, who attended the presentation and expressed their admiration of the ambitious plan.
After the presentations, Henk Ovink, acting Director-General for Spatial Development of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, looked back on the ideas that were developed years ago when the present state architecture policy document was drafted. Prompted by that policy paper, the NAI was asked to consider the role it might play in advancing meaningful design proposals. Briefly reflecting on the three projects, Ovink observed that the plans to extend the duration of the temporary building permit to 10 years had been submitted to the Lower House. He went on to say that, although safeguarding the tactile and poetic is not a government task, this doesn’t mean we should underestimate their importance. And in the light of ever-present Olympic ambitions, inner city sports and their benefits must certainly be included in further planning. Ovink closed by returning to Ole Bouman’s opening, and said that, spurred on by the energy and plans of the evening – we have every reason to continue believing in architecture and the profession as a force for change and meaning in society.
by Michiel Raats, project leader, Studio for Unsolicited Architecture
The Studio for Unsolicited Architecture is an experimental project that explores ways in which architecture can play a meaningful role in resolving urgent social and design challenges. > Read more...
An advisory board of the Fonds BKVB and the NAI have jointly selected three research proposals from the 44 projects submitted for the open call Studio for Unsolicited Architecture. The proposals will be further developed over the next few months, with the support of the NAI and the Fonds BKVB.
> Read more...
In the first
round of the Studio for Unsolicited Architecture, the Lilith Ronner van
Hooijdonk bureau teamed up with Studio Moniker to investigate the possibilities
of using spatial design to augment the social interaction in public space. To
achieve this they devised an installation with bells for Strijp-S in Eindhoven and
a foldable plaza in Rotterdam.
> Read more...
June 2010 | After the June 9 elections, the Netherlands will have a new
parliament. A new cabinet will be formed, the colour and composition of
which cannot be underestimated in relation to the way urban planning
and architecture will be employed for our country’s design. The NAI collection not only shows how
individual architects have made our country what it is, but it also
reveals the mark that politics has made.
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Shift architecture urbanism proposes
the multiple use of the Binnenrotte in Rotterdam city centre by combining a new
flexible sports square with the existing market square.
> Read more...
In early January, the public presentation of the Studio for Unsolicited Architecture took place. Since then, three teams have started work on their research proposals. These teams were selected out of 38 proposals received and assessed in the autumn of 2011 by the advisory board of the Fonds BKVB in conjunction with the NAI. Over the months ahead, the designers will elaborate their proposals, supported by the NAI and the Mondriaan Fonds.
> Read more...