LOCAL FLUX - Europan 12 Adaptable City

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Europan 12 - Adaptable City

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LOCAL FLUX


Assen


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CONCEPT In his book Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino illustrates how cities are in the continuous state of flux, creating diverse relationships between past and future, the temporal and the permanent, private and public.

CONTEXT Due to economic changes, after a period of rapid growth, the city of Assen had to slow down. The ‘big plans’ were put on hold and the municipality started looking for new development strategies. The city no longer can nor should try to initiate, implement and execute largescale developments on its own. Plans have to become flexible and allow other stakeholders, including the public, to participate in the future of Assen. Thereby forging adaptable alliances that can deal with both the new and existing city in an inventive and resilient way. Havenkwartier is a semi-industrial area sandwiched between the city centre and the suburbs with the ambition of becoming a developed environment for living, working and recreation. The first phase of the plan originally includes two elongated apartment buildings and a block of housing with access at ground level situated on the canal – the heart of the development. The canal will have been transformed by the municipality by creating Silo-eiland, incorporating a sluice (sluis) to raise the water level and bridges to (re)connect the Havenkanaal with Het Kanaal so boats can once again sail around the whole of Assen. Although these transformations have not yet happened, they do form the starting point of the proposal.


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Block: living, working, parking, restaurant, daycare centre and library Stripe: living, working, parking, cafĂŠ and small shops Marina Public square Urban beach Bridge Market Green houses Communal roof garden CafĂŠ Climbing hall Swimming pool Art and design studios Sluice


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By injecting some programmatic elements into the site from its neighbours, the boundaries between the different areas and their main functions will dissolve, creating gradient like transition between city centre and the suburbia. The proposed intervention is to create a method resulting in buildings that will independently function as continuously active cities. Thus activating its surroundings with new programmes to be more multifunctional, flexible and resilient with both the qualities of day and night life, a local state of flux. The intervention needs to dissolve boundaries between living, working and leisure time. This continuous city building provides a playful interaction between inside and outside, private and public, house and street, industry and nature. Each individual block can be seen as a mini masterplan that includes all the functions of the city. The use of robust materials and straightforward construction techniques reflect the existing industrial condition. The individual blocks can be spread through the entire Havenkwartier area, wherever desirable or at least possible, and function independently on any scale to suit each particular site. United by method and materials these new buildings will create cohesion in and with the neighbourhood, while at the same time adding new programmatic elements to this former monofunctional area. This method can be applied throughout the entire ‘stadsbedrijvenpark’, creating a transition between suburbs, industry and city centre.


Assen

Havenkwartier, strategic site.

Project site and existing buildings.

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al first developments on city ownership.

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S T R AT E G Y Since the future of Assen and the site is uncertain and its role might change during the long-term territorial transformation, the first stage of the expansion must play the role of method for the rest of the development. Due to mixed ownership of the plots on the site, the strategy for the Havenkwartier considers various scenarios to deal with these local conditions: plots with new structures, recycled existing buildings, temporary structures and architectural parasites where new grows on the existing. Defined by bold yet subtle interventions, the proposed strategy is designed to integrate the site’s semi-industrial identity with the one of the city centre and suburbs of Assen. The project is about breathing new life into Havenkwartier, by using itself as a catalyst for further development, one step/building at a time if necessary.

Strategic method applied to entire ‘Stadsbedrijvenpark’.

The main framework of the project is to make the area adaptable to many possible future scenarios, which arise out of the dynamics of the context. The new blocks embrace the living, working, parking as well as public functions like urban garden, daycare centre, library and cultural centre; while the existing buildings host smaller and bigger local, commercial initiatives like eco supermarket, brewery, homemade chocolate store and studios for young artists and designers. An old cargo ship can remain in the canal, become a mobile swimmingpool and thus a subtle reminder of the areas industrial past. The silo building will be converted into a climbing hall, so people can experience the Havenkwartier from another perspective.


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PEOPLE The focus of the project shall not be on buildings but rather on building up communities, the architecture is just a tool to reach these goals. Empowering citizens through the recognition and responsiveness to their aspirations and living requirements is critical in the maintenance of the city. Neighbourhoods need to become the place where important things happen, where people have strong relationships with each other and local vendors. Locals need to become entrepreneurs and create something that can’t be found anywhere else – local design, local food, family shops, small businesses and communal gardens. Activating and supporting local initiatives will activate the buildings and consequently stakeholders. The project’s social nature, the result of open and diverse public spaces, ties together past and present and points towards the future. The project’s local nature creates a new demographic of young, creative and sustainable while understanding the existing industrial character. The canal as the heart of the project is, no doubt, a special attraction for any urban environment and therefore should be wisely used in the new strategy. Creating public space with access to the waterfront, like an urban beach with a restaurant, makes the site attractive not only to locals but also to people from other parts of the city.


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Cut for sight lines on canal and silo while creating public space.

Volume moved from square to roof.

Sun travel angles reshape the volume.

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Sun travel angles reshape the volume.

Reshaping bas on sight lines a general views.


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Connecting ground floor with the canal, creating public space.

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ARCHITECTURE The design of the two buildings follows two processes simultaneously: addition and subtraction of basic units to and from a primitive volume based on certain important sight lines and sunlight angles. This results in irregular volumes that create a variety of private and public outdoor spaces. Despite their raw appearances, the volumes have been sensitively treated. In terms of height, the buildings harmonise with neighbouring structures organically connecting old and new. The users can flexibly appropriate or combine the units, which feature lofty spaces, have few interior walls and generally neutral proportions, designed to accommodate a wide range of programmes. The double-height spaces allow for extra floors to be added in between. Furnishings in these flexible generic open spaces of each unit frame the diverse functions it can have. Simple and lasting materials are combined and surrounded by nature to complement the autonomy of the existing structures in Havenkwartier. At ground floor level, some spaces are designed for interaction, where the boundaries of public and private are fading. Open multifunctional outdoor spaces on the ground floor and the roofs of the blocks are designed for people to gather and enjoy the neighbourhood like a community. An urban garden on the roof allows people to grow fruit and vegetables and big collective spaces next to the canal create great opportunities for seasonal events and gatherings. Parking inside the building keeps the streets clear, open and safe.


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Europan 12 - Adaptable City

! d e list

t r o Sh

Assen

LOCAL FLUX

JURY ASSESSMENT:

“A charming, not unduly complicated plan that can generate a gradual transformation of the area, so that functions can be added in the course of time. There are doubts about the spatial quality. The architecture, that is so far fairly rudimentary, appears to fit in well with the site.” -Jury Europan 12, location Assen, December 2013

Havenkwartier, strategic site.

Project site and existing buildings.

Block and stripe.

Potential first developments based on city ownership.

Strategic method applied to entire ‘Stadsbedrijvenpark’.

LOCAL FLUX

S T R AT

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