Explore Lab 2

Modernizing Beijing / X-ploded Siheyuan

Modernizing Beijing / X-ploded Siheyuan

Rutger Kuipers

By modernizing the city, Beijing is upgrading to a higher level of prosperity. At the same time though we see the reverse side of a global development, the interventions in the city ruin parts of the city by destroying its traditional architecture, in particular the traditional hutong-areas, which are one of the main characteristics of this city, and which carry a long history of Beijing’s ancient life and architecture.
My interest is mainly concerned within a dilemma of upgrading Beijing to a modern wealthy city on the one hand and on the other hand destroying part of its tradition. How could an architect operate within a dilemma like this? Does the architect need to choose the one or the other position or is there a possible solution to a new architecture which embeds the local traditions? My goal is to find the latter: architecture that embeds local tradition.
The project is, ideally, situated on the border of the Tiananmen Square and the Dazhalan hutong area. It consists of separate commercial/housing units on ground level (connected below ground level). On the urban scale I tried to find a transition between the two highly contrasting urban spaces, introducing an informal urban typology with adjacent squares rather then streets or large open spaces. On the scale of one unit I reinterpreted the horizontal scheme of the traditional Beijing courtyard house into a vertical housing unit. One of the traditional elements I implemented, in a defamiliarizated way, was the iceray system of typical Chinese lattice design.

Healthcare architecture: Design for a diabetesclinic in Rotterdam-Zuid

Healthcare architecture: Design for a diabetesclinic in Rotterdam-Zuid

Joris de Leeuw

The design project for a small community based clinic was based on an extensive research into the principles of the Healing Environment, with a more specific focus on the concept of Social Support. This psychological theory suggests the benefits of parts of our environment in the recovery from illness, in this case the stress reducing abilities of the social network of patients. The research resulted in a set of principles which have been applied in the design on multiple scales; from the urban interception, by which the clinic not only becomes part of the city’s fabric but also enhances the social and spatial cohesion, until the most intimate part of the patient’s perception, the patientroom where concepts as privacy, territory and personal space are of importance.
The social support principles formed the main part in the program of requirements for the design, complemented by a study into possible syndromes or diseases which would be suitable for the small, elective clinic and a field research into the specific problems and needs of the district, a deprived area in the suburbs of Rotterdam. This resulted in a cross-district, multifunctional program with, on the one hand, specific functions for diabetes patient from the entire city, and, on the other hand, local functions aimed at primary care, prevention, welfare, youth care, wellness and commercial exploits.
The building gives a boost to the impoverished environment of the subway station and attracts the public within through an internal street (‘care boulevard’). The roofed courtyards enhance the healing environment and are part of the energetic concept. The easy-to-read and coherent floor layout supports wayfinding. Different layers of privacy can be found, from a more public setting on the lower levels and the internal street, to a more private setting in the patient floors on the upper levels. The detailing of the ground floor façade provides an interaction with the surroundings, with meshed screens which can be raised according to the wanted level.

Dynamic Landscape

Dynamic Landscape

Jetze Schreij

Due to climate change a restructuring of the Dutch river landscape is taking place. Dikes will be raised, riverbeds will get broader and water-meadows will be dug out. All this is happening to offer more space to the river.

To make the dikes more accessible for maintenance and raising, dike houses are being demolished. New dwellings in the river area avoid the dike and often loose the relationship with the river. Due to this process a characteristic piece of Dutch culture is threatened to disappear.

One of the problem areas which is being mapped by the Dutch government is the curve of the river Waal in the area of Nijmegen. The slim riverbed causes the river to raise upstream and to flood the banks of Lent and the city of Nijmegen.

The concept of my graduation project is to artificially reconstruct the part of the Bemmelse dike (by a bridge construction) and to offer again a connection between the river landscape and its residents by attaching houses to the new bridge construction which reverts to the typologies of the old dike houses.
The construction of the river bypass will involve the construction of a threshold over which the river water will run once the river reaches a certain water level. The threshold will be designed in such a way that the current water level will become readable making not only the residents but also the people passing by and the recreational people aware of the dynamic river.