Explore Lab 25
Unbias intervention policies on former detached-wards psychiatric hospitalsAndrea Fusaro
The great reformation of the mental healthcare system in Europe left behind a great number of architectural relics. Being built straddling between the XIX and the XX century in the outskirts of their cities, the detached-wards psychiatric hospitals got swallowed up by the urban fabric after post-World War 2 the economic growth, and are now enclosed cities in the cities. Of course the social, cultural and historical legacy of these places together with their out-of-scale size don’t help in any intervention scenario. Four decades were not enough to give a new life to the many complexes, and the few realized projects show that the current approach can’t be in any way effective nor sustainable.
Starting with an investigation on how these complexes could endure the many crises of their long lifespan, this project wants to determine from an unbiased perspective a new common practice of intervention for these forgotten realities. The outcomes will be used pioneeringly as a direct input to determine a new managerial, social and architectural program, that will then feed the design of an exemplary case study used as a showcase for this unexplored approach.
Expanding universes on shrinking footprintsDominik Philipp Bernátek
While cities densify, and fill up with building mass, it is of great importance to pay high attention to good quality public space. People should feel at home not only inside, but also outside the building – in the city itself. My graduation is about dwelling architecture in relation to public space, because there the ‘clash’ between public and private is most apparent and a core issue.
The research project deals with transitions between public space and adjacent private space of dwelling. The research question is ‘What are architectural tools that create a transition between public and private space?’ My research started with a form of plan analysis, from which I extracted some elements. Continuing my research through designing, I created for each tool a gradient. I ordered my results in categories influencing levels of privacy for my final toolbox. My method is closely related to ACRREx (Abstracting, Categorizing, Reflecting, Reformulating and Expanding).
The design project will deal with dwelling architecture and public space in the theme: expanding universes on shrinking footprints.
THE SILENT LAKE: A COMMUNITY BASED ALTERNATIVE FOR EXPLORING RURAL DYNAMICSKevin Jan Mazanek
For a long time, experts have focused their attention mainly towards the city and the urban development. As a consequence of largely concentrating on urban areas, the rural space has been left aside in the contemporary discourse even though the societal and technological changes in “rural areas” have been highly dynamic considering recent history. As Rem Koolhaas stated: “The countryside is an amalgamation of tendencies that are outside our overview and outside our awareness. Our current obsession with only the city is highly irresponsible because one cannot understand the city without understanding the countryside.”
Alongside the fast development of cities, digitalization, the threats of an unstable political as well as economic situation and a wish for a simpler life, more and more citizens are migrating towards rural areas. These modern nomads tend to organize themselves in communities occupying the countryside while still being connected to the “city”.
In order to study the implications and potentials of such rural communities, we will collaborate with a group of young adults and their families that initiated a similar project at the “Silent Lake” in Poland situated in the Kaszub forest north-west from Warsaw. The core of the ideas cultivated at the Silent Lake is the exploration of a “new lifestyle” that bridges the knowledge gained through operating in the globalised world with a conscient return to the countryside on a journey to rediscover traditional values and skills related to a more sustainable way of living (experimenting with “new-old” ways of thinking, living and building) and share this knowledge with each other. During our study, we will collaborate with the community at the Silent Lake in order to explore the further development of the “Silent Settlement” within a participatory design project.
Spectacle in the HinterlandsJazmin Charalambous
London is well-known for its “iconic” buildings, however it is common that little attention is given to the places hidden in the shadows of these icons. Further out from the centre, in the suburbs of northwest London – dubbed ‘Metro-Land’ by the Metropolitan Railway in 1915 – is the site of Wembley Stadium, which overshadows much of its neighbouring towns. I am interested in analysing the interstices between the extraordinary and the everyday in these hinterlands, and how it is possible to bring a sense of the spectacular and its virtues into the daily life of the people occupying these often unseen and unheard-of parts of London.
This interest can be investigated by understanding the qualities of modern theatre, which attempts to create the biggest impact through the smallest possible mediations – creating theatre that is truthful, alive and meaningful by imposing constraints. The surface of space becomes the mode of exploration in an attempt to understand how surfaces are the commons that allow people the necessary silence and excitement to harness the relationships made in public and private life, and which render the invisible visible.
Keywords: Spectacle, Everyday, Surface, Theatre, Materiality, Territory, Constraint
An architecture for the mind – lessons on the theory of Dom Hans van der LaanJoppe Douma
I think everyone knows the experience of climbing a sand dune to find the impressive view of an immense beach and measureless sea. It’s almost too much to take in. For a moment you lose yourself.
These kind of experiences led the architect and monk Hans van der Laan to investigate how we search for grip in the immense space.
Based on our perceptual abilities, the human discernment, he developed a proportional system. The goal is to create an architecture that establishes order in its environment, thus making it readable.
Rather than using the metric system, as we don’t perceive a space in meters, he uses a series of measurements that relate to each other. It’s not about fixed numbers but about the relation between the different parts which together compose a harmonious space.
In our current society full of impulses it’s good to grasp back on a way to create architecture which offers rest, peace and order, which is understandable and makes us feel at ease.
By describing, testing and showing the implications in models of the important aspects of the theory, I hope to offer an understandable insight of the application of the theory. In this way it can become a design manual on the use of proportion, colour and material.
Architecture beyond human narcissismSjoerd Rasing
What can or should architecture offer in a ‘world’ beyond human solipsism?
-Dealing with Anthropocentric crises in the framework of Hannah Arendt-
“The world is that what we, as human beings, construct in order to make life possible on earth”. Hannah Arendt writes in ‘The Human Condition’, “The conditions that we make are used to create a buffer or shield against the conditions that we inherit, our self-made conditions mediate between ourselves and the pre-existing conditions that we operate under”. The Modern Western city has developed over the past decades of great wealth into controlled utopia’s of well-being and humane comfort. This has come with a price. We are confronted with climatic and ecological crises in the reality of the anthropocene, and seem to be unable to adapt to, are frightened by the fact that the unknown wild has always remained as close to the surface as blood under skin.
According to the Indian writer Amitav Ghosh, “The Paris Climate Accord illustrates the inability to imagine a different world, while it’s full of technocratic solutions”. Koolhaas writes “The citizens the smart city claims to serve are treated like infants”. …”Why do smart cities only offer improvement? Where is the possibility of transgression?”
The world should be a stage for political action, Arendt wrote. Serving the small scale conversation, here and now. This does not mean two brand new cozy chairs opposite to each other. It needs a notion of melancholia. Find hope and expose beauty in the permanent presence of our deficiency.
Understanding the commonly overlooked spaces and details of the cityEsmeralda Bierma
In the contemporary city productivity and efficiency became dominating factors of our everyday life. In these routinized and accelerated moments we all create our own image of the city and filter out the things which we consider important. My fascination is about these spaces and details of the city that are commonly overlooked or taken for granted but nevertheless conceal information crucial to develop an understanding of the city and the human. In order to understand the potential and possibilities of these overlooked details, unexpected moments and unplanned spaces we should make room for the first hand perspective of the subject moving through the city and allowing slowness and uncertainty. Through a narrative approach these fragmented parts of the city can become a continuity again and will allow us to revalue the importance of these unexpected and unplanned in-betweens.
Our Mutual HomeBenjamin Summers
This project aims to study the specific formal and spatial language of successful collaborative housing with particular emphasis on dense urban typologies in Stockholm, London, Zurich and Antwerp. Despite the importance of the sociological and financial aspects, the focus will be on the architectural elements.
Framed as a method of forming resilient communities through architectural implementation, cohousing has become an area of renewed interest in mainstream critique in part due to the perceived failures of welfare capitalism and increasing levels of loneliness in cities. In a contemporary social situation where working long hours is the norm, and of the remaining free time more than half can be taken up by domestic duties, the question of how we can live together in a scenario where domestic labour is shared by all and thus reduced to a minimum appears to be of utmost importance.
As well as this key enquiry, it is asserted that within this way of living the traditional relationship between served and servant spaces is further broken down, if not inverted. It remains to be seen whether this shift necessarily precludes the existence of domestic elegance à la sprezzatura, or instead replaces it with a more grounded sense of refinement.
AZC 2.0: a new Dutch asylum centreThomas Cowling
Currently there are estimated to be around 65 million displaced people in the world. Economic or political turmoil, climate change and war have forced millions to leave their homes and migrate to a place that offers them a better future. Some have ended up in The Netherlands and have entered the process of seeking asylum and permanent residence.
The liminal spaces they inhabit in that time are far removed from public life and are based on an outdated system of enclosure and control: often hampering the desire to integrate into, and offer a meaningful contribution to Dutch society. Through understanding these environments and the people in them, I aim to come up with a better environment for these new-arrivals to integrate into their new surroundings. A new type of asylum centre for the 21st century, one that offers the asylum seeker more of a chance at societal inclusion.
The Entering ProcessAnaïs Sarvary
When visiting a building one moment is particularly important: the entrance.
It is the moment that gives the first impression of the building and therefore influences the experience of the visitor. Religious architecture on this aspect is specifically relevant as the visitor is meant to be changed when accessing the central space and detached from the outside. However in other architectural types of building similar effects are achieved by a strong architectural entering process. Memorials, museums, swimming pools, tribunals, operas etc. all aim at creating an interiority separated from the outside. But how does the entering process in these buildings conditions the visitor’s experience?
When analysing and exploring buildings we are often focused on the architecture of the central space. However we forget that main spaces are always preceded by different spatial experiences. Understanding how this entering process work will enable to better perceive why some spaces affect us more than others. And it will allow adapting better the notion of entrance to the effect wanted when designing a building.
THE ART OF MEMORY: POST-WAR SARAJEVORavenna Westerhout
How does the war influence the Bosnian society of today?
Case study: Mt. Trebevic
From April 1992, the inhabitants of Sarajevo lived for three years, ten months, three weeks and three days under the threat of snipers, mortars and bombs. During this longest attack in modern European history, 13,952 people were killed, including 5434 civilians. The war itself claimed about 100 thousand lives and forced 2.2 million people to flee their homes.
Conflicts leave places wounded. The scars of war are still visible on the streets of Sarajevo. War is over, but the city is still under siege, under a cultural, economical and psychological siege. The energy to rebuild a true future seems to have disappeared. Everything has become stained with guilt. New monuments have been erected as tokens of exclusion and there is a climate of distrust – but why? To truly understand this, I am going to research the source of the problems: the war.
How to come to terms with the past? How to commemorate? The past plays an important role in the collective memory, but also forms the basis from which the soul of a new city is constructed. How can an inclusive architecture be created that can be used as a restoring tool to unite people, to create a common ground, a new identity?
Case study: Mount Trebevic used to be a powerful symbol of Sarajevo, but its symbolism as a sacred place has evolved since the 1984 Winter Olympics, the siege from 1992-1995, the delineation of a new national border in 1995. An abandoned, neglected space is what the mountain is today.
Projective Realms . Mess is More !Deepanshu Arneja
The architectural discipline has always maintained a safe distance from the ‘informal’ settlements by positioning itself as objective outsiders. However, in the case of India’s capital city of Delhi with 73% of its population living in these settlements, the discipline has been forced to re-position itself. Forming outside the claims of regulation and planning, the sheer existence of these settlements challenges the city’s aspiration to become a ‘world city’. Resultant, is a love-hate dynamic where a high-modernist design propaganda seeks to evict the urban poor’s position in the city to a ‘safe’ distance where they are out of sight but in the appropriate range to aid the city function.
I base my study in ‘Savda Ghevra’, Delhi’s first resettlement colony developed 24 miles outside the city core to re-house slum dwellers evicted from inner city areas. Envisioned as a transition camp, it is home to more than 20,000 inhabitants for a period within which they are expected to rise the economical ladder until they are deemed fit to claim a position in the city. The design of the ‘camp’, involved a process of ‘formalizing’ the informal and invited disciplinarian aid, which by the virtue of ‘always being outside the system’ was exceedingly limited in the understanding and translational of the emergent qualities of a user-generated informal dwelling. With rigid dwelling typologies, unregulated open/shared space structure and an incoherent application of ‘incrementality’, Savda Ghevra is an architectural mess.
This thesis attempts an iteration to existing approaches by offering income-based alternatives to typology creation and usage, while providing a participatory tool to create and curate open spaces in Indian informal settlements as a way forward.
Design of integrationAmela Rasidkadic
The Netherlands, like most Western European countries, has dealt with over 94.000 refugee asylum applications since 2014 (CBS, 2017). This large number has demanded a quick reaction for emergency shelter. The field of architecture has responded to this situation with different shelter proposals and projects.
Although providing enough shelter is still an ongoing process, the question that has to be considered now is: what to do next? Almost 90% of the asylum seekers gets a legal status, which allows them to get their own home and become part of the Dutch society. At this transition moment these new legal status holders are vulnerable, they have to find their place in society. Research states that this is best done by participation and interaction with local inhabitants, but in practice it does not always go as smoothly as people hope. Often this group struggles with feeling at home, finding a job, learning the language and there is almost no interaction with local inhabitants.
This makes me think about how to create a broader network for post-arrival migrants, how to contribute to a more collective experience for them and local inhabitants and mainly explore my position as an architect in such a situation.
TRACING EVENTS: THE INFLUENCES OF EVENTS IN THE CITYLukas Kropp
Events in a city can have different influences on their architectural framework. An event can happen, then disappear or it can leave traces, leaving reminders of the event, influencing the city long after the event has gone. How do events interpret their architectural framework, how do they affect it and what traces do they leave? This research will focus on events in the city Kassel (DE) and the quinquennial event ‘documenta’. Through drawing, photographs and mapping, this research will explore the traces of past events and their influence of the future of the city. The ‘documenta’ will be seen as a contemporary institution that is currently leaving its traces in Kassel every five years. This research aims to define the appropriation of the architectural framework by events and the traces that they leave behind and how these traces could mean something for the inhabitants.
Città FabbricaMariapaola Michelotto
The monastic life can be used as a metaphor to explain the control exerted by the industrial system on the nowadays society. The aim of both is to establish a specific sequence of actions able to give shape to a specific mode of life, based on the laws of efficiency, industriousness and productivity. This sequence of actions becomes therefore the tool to shape architectural space. Or in other words, the city becomes the tool for the creation of an absolute mode of life. It is my belief that the unfolding of these tools could provide us with a different interpretation of our current economic system, allowing us to reimagine alternative ways of working and living.
To carry on my research I decided to take the city of Togliatti (RU) as a study case. Togliatti was built in the 1960s as a mono-town: an agglomerate of housing and facilities that was meant to serve the industrial complex of the Avtovaz, car manufacturer. In this context, the city acted in the same way of a monastery in imposing specific habits to its inhabitants, in order to make the production process more efficient and increase the accumulation of capital.
My intention is that of unveiling what is the regola established by the production system, and how does it manifest itself in the architectural realm of the city, influencing flows of people and objects.
How do fashion designers design?Geertje Bakens
A research on the design process in fashion, reflected on architecture.
Architectural theory has illuminated the inherently connected relationship between fashion and architecture. Both disciplines shelter the body, react to spatial volume, rely on a process, and take a work of creativity from its two-dimensional concept into a three-dimensional reality. But the end result does not come out of the blue. It is the design process that leads to a building or fashion collection. And even though designing is just one verb, it actually is a chaotic sequence of activities; a complex, personal, creative and open-ended skill as described by Van Dooren et al. (2014). Is the framework of generic design elements that is developed for explicating the design process helpful to compare the design approaches in fashion with the architectural design process? The results of interviewing three fashion designers show similarities, differences and unique design tools and opportunities used in fashion. These can then be reflected on the architectural design process, and approaches of applying fashion tools in architecture can be considered.
The revaluation of nature through architecture: Learning from the Norwegian way of livingWilma Hiemstra
In an ongoing movement of urbanization in especially the Netherlands, life seems to mostly happen in planned environments while the untouched part of the world sometimes seems to be disconnected from people’s lives. By looking at a country like Norway where space and culture support combined living in natural landscapes and the city, as quite an extreme contrast, the relation between landscape, architecture, and lifestyle can be explored. Through interviews/conversations with young Norwegians residing both in Oslo (urban environment) and in their cabin (getaway architecture: focussed on landscape experience/lifestyle), making a timeline of their daily activities, and asking them to visualize their favourite place, the different sensory experiences that are created in both places and its influences can be analysed. Moreover, a plan analysis of both dwellings will be done as informative aspect of the research. Together this will answer the question in a literary and visual way, where the essence of valuing a landscape by living in it will be leading. This will function as a starting point for the design, where the lessons learned will be applied to the different situation of the Netherlands, resulting in a revaluation of its cultured landscape as the ultimate goal.
How can the interplay between architecture, landscape, and lifestyle in the form of ‘getaway architecture’ stimulate a (personal) (re)valuation of a landscape?
Designing homes for ‘the conscious’Danique van de Sanden
‘’The good intentions and creativity of citizens and their willingness to make a difference is one of the most underutilized resources we have today’’, says Global Ecovillage Network Europe (GEN). Bottom-up initiatives like ecovillages and the recently emerged Dutch ‘Tiny House Movement’ are sustainable projects organised and shaped by people who adopted a sustainable lifestyle and with that contribute to the reduction of climate change. It appears that similar people can’t find a suitable living environment in the current housing stock that fully meet their needs. While, in a world where nowadays climate change is a big problem, we should encourage this group of people to get most out of their willingness by giving them the right conditions in the built environment. As architects, we can learn from the way residents of tiny-houses and eco-villages organise and shape their sustainable environment and use this knowledge in the design of future dwellings.
The Consumerist Typology in a Socialist Country: investigating Croatia’s modern projectChristian Maijstré
In general, shopping centers are somewhat underexposed academically speaking. With the turbulence of the transition period in the area only barely over, investigations on previous and recent developments in Croatian society are of importance as to learn how to move further from now.
As Yugoslavia tried and develop a different kind of socialism, self-government and openness to the West created a unique position in which a capitalist typology such as the shopping center could exist. By conducting a typological research of the shopping centers –Robna Kuca and Trgovacki Centar, a narrative on how the modern project developed in the Socialist Republic of Croatia can form.
Parallel to this narrative is of course CIAM and its subsequent fall. Contact between CIAM, Team 10 and Yugoslav (Croatian) architects did occur, and hints at the socialist tendencies of some of the architects of the West. Investigating the relation of Gruen’s shopping centers to CIAM and Team 10, and subsequently the relation to the Yugoslav context might give insights on how modernism was expressed in Yugoslavia/Croatia keeping of course in mind parallels might not always indicate dependence. To see how these related or developed independently can open up a conversation of how the modern project developed in Yugoslavia.
The question arises: how did the consumerist typology of the shopping center develop in the previously socialist Yugoslav Socialist Republic of Croatia and how did (or didn’t) it survive the transition to a neoliberal economy?
Centralities in the suburban: an alternative to the shopping mallVirginia Santilli
In the last decades, architects and urbanists observed carefully the effect of globalization on the city, but the effect on the countryside has been neglected. The suburban shopping mall became the main attractor, both commercially and socially. For the new generations that normalized the dichotomy of common space and the need to buy, this world interior of capital became the new centrality of the diffuse city. While the old town squares are empty and the local commercial activities are perishing, it appears clear that in these areas the public administration failed. Nevertheless, it is currently raising a third voice in between public and private that could change the actual state of things. What happens if cooperatives of local commercial actors work with architects and urban planners to intervene on leftover spaces and buildings to give birth to an alternative centrality?
Living apart togetherNienke Borgman
Space in major cities around the world is getting increasingly scarce and therefore expensive. This is especially a problem for people between the ages of 20 to 35. This age group is what we call the ‘generation Y’. Coincidence is that this generation actually wants to share more in order to waste less (look at Airbnb, Uber, Greenwheels etc.). So what if we apply this same theory to space? Can we waste less space by sharing more? Can we supply sufficient housing for the group that needs it most by creating exactly what they want; less waste (of space) by sharing more? I think we can.