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19 DECEMBER 2014




Ashim Kumar Manna (India) Sheeba Amir (India) Spandan Das (India) Sven Mertens (Belgium) Tarek Morad (Bangladesh) Thierry Iraguha (Rwanda)

First off we would like to take the time to thank the teachers for their guidance and input during the whole semester, the jury members for their time and the people of the Dam for having us.

Studio team Jan Schreurs Pieter Van den Broeck Seppe De Blust Tim Devos

Jury members (mid and final reviews) Els Gepts Oswald Devisch Lisa De Vos Liesbeth Huybrechts Jeroen Cuypers Frank Moulaert

Abstract This booklet forms an important part of documenting our journey through the ‘Spatial planning studio – 2014’ within the Dam neighbourhood in Antwerp. The Neighbourhood forms an important part of northern Antwerp, which is undergoing significant spatial transformation due to many projects. This booklet positions our work, within the process of continuation of the engagement with the community, pushing the ideas of the studio beyond the 2013 Dam – Spatial planning Studio. The studio was involved in a lot of data collection, analysis and finding the appropriate means of representing, evaluating our work. It presents the crucial, yet not all the aspect dealt during the process. The booklet ends with a critical reflection on the studio as the group, and possibly trying to establish a reason for extending the role of the studio along with the project.



One of the key directions for the studio was to extend the ideas of the spatial planning studio in finding methods of engaging with community, creating platforms for participation along with the city and the project developers, owners etc. We aimed at creating a bundle or guide booklet in addition with the dam committee advice note, putting forth our research in bringing out the needs of the neighbourhood to the designers. Our research was to find out values, taking the designers through a journey where he could understand what lies beneath the basic needs of the neighbourhood. Challenge is to make them understand how these values could be given a space within the project. We see the role of the booklet along with the Advice and the NDVR bundle in creating further participation between the owners and the neighbourhood, the designers and the city. To keep participation as an important part of a socially innovative design process and help the neighbourhood engage in a constant dialogue with the city and project developers. It will act as a tool to engage the studio in collaborating with the designers in a workshop to help them understand the needs of the dam in relation to spatial elements, and some suggestions related to the same. The second role of the booklet can be in the form of activism, it can be used by the neighbourhood as a reference during the larger Masterplan feedback session, where they can see if their voices have been represented or not, paving a way for further queries.



The neighbourhood misses its heart due to the absence of the Slaughterhouse. Further it is in transition due to anticipation related to the proposed project. The existing social interactions are also the lowest. The new project would bring its own new social and spatial changes dimensions, which could impact in form of gentrification, exclusion or expulsion in the neighbourhood. The various layers within the neighbourhood are crucial, they are linked to its history, culture and socio-economic past, use and co-operation between the communities. The neighbourhood is anticipating that a new project will bring in changes which will help them meet the basic needs and meet their aspirations and create new opportunities for employment and socializing. The work of the two studios (2013 & 2014) is crucial in putting forth a dialogue representing the needs of the neighbourhood. It’s presents challenges to the master planners of the project site. It’s vital to confront the challenges and challenge the project brief and a more meaningful and inclusive design could be achieved adopting a participatory approach. 7


2014-2015 Studio - Start

Toekomst Tunnel Exhibit

Mid-Review 2013 Workshop with Neighbourhood NDVR + KUL

Droom den Dam

In-between Phases Mid-Review 2014 Workshop with Neighbourhood NDVR + KUL In-between Phases (Final Review) BOOKLET NDVR + KUL

City + Owners

Project Definition


Stadlab 2050

Vision note 2012

Project Timeline







Studio Timeline




Use of the b

ign Activism + Participation Feedback + Evaluattion


Concept Masterplan

Selection of the Designer

Workshop with Designers

Call for Designers

? ?

bourhood Walk

s on Workshop

Advice + NDVR Booklet + Studio Booklet






Living by Water & Heritage

Advice to City

Advice as reference

Integrated & Productive





Internal Design Charette

Collaboration + Studio

Overlapping Values Equity

Safety & Comfort

Internal Design Charrette Some Values can not be expressed

Activism + Studio 11



The work of the 2014 studio borrows and continues with key ideas from the 2013 studio, yet through further analysis and research, it brings new aspects to the studio work. The studio can be divided into three phases. The initial phase of communicating with the neighbourhood, understanding the impacts of large projects and understanding the character of the neighbourhood culminated with an Open house Mid-review. The Open house was a critical stage to receive inputs from the Residents on the scenarios prepared by us. The second phase brings the question of how the process could be extended and how socially innovative tools, such as creating ‘tool or moments’ for initiating public participation. Initially we started using the key spatial elements and their impact on the project, at a later stage the feedback and the advice become an important part in giving direction to our work in the second phase. The second phase culminates, with the booklet as a important tool, which we believe paves further the way to continue the participatory aspect of the spatial planning studio. It is very important to consider the timeline of the project, and we do believe that the finalization of the project definition from the city will trigger the events such as selection of designer and so on. The booklet will be a handy tool in maintaining a dialogue during the project development. Studio spatial planning brought many challenges and new ways to deal with situations where the community is the focus. It forced us to change our perspective towards dealing with certain situations within the studio. With moments of struggle towards the participatory planning process, we pushed ourselves to work outside the ‘comfort zone’ of designers, trying to represent the core idea of the studio. 13




1754-68 Cotton industry

Construction of chapel for St.-Job


Meat mark the D 1838 Beerbrewery Looibroek by the family Ceulemans on the slaughterhouse site

Use of slaughter house site for storing and selling animals




1845 N




Opening of the first chocolate factory in Belgium at the Damplein E




The Dam neighbourhood feels the challenges of its own needs and is overshadowed by the large projects of mobility, environment and economic development. The diagram is an abstract of the possible impacts on the neighbourhood due its proximity to large scale projects. The impacts are measured on the aspects of mobility, effect on land values, environment and variables such as water.

The analysis shows different typologies of working-living model in relation with evolution of urban fabric of Dam. Process involves relating different typologies with commercial activities and growing infrastructure, as well as mapping all commercial activities within the neighbourhood.

Construction of the slaughterhouse 1871 1844 Demolishing of the railway ket at Dam through the city, construction of the ringrail 1873 around the city Construction of the Asiadock

1850 1854 Construction of the Railway-line 12. Oldest railconnection & first station at Dam

1888 Construction Construction of the Samberstraat



Construction of Construction of the railway yard the NoordschipPlanning and persdok buying terrains of the slaughterhouse.

PlanningBuilding-Opening of the Antwerp Ringroad R1


1903 De Beuckelaar opens their Chicorei-factory

Construction of the Lobroekdok

1932 Construction of the Sportpaleis



V2 rockets damage the slaughterhouse

Construction of the Albertkanaal (Albert-Canal)

Construction of the station AntwerpenDam

1875 1872





1951 Rebuilding of a new slaughterhouse

2001 Closing of railway yard




Construction of the Marbaixstraat, 41 houses in Art Nouveau-style which are now protected.

Closing of the Kempische Canal and construction of the Ijzerlaan on top of it

2007 Closing of slaughter house


1957 Closing and filling of the Noordschippersdock


Closing of the storage space at the Asiadock

Timline brings together all the important historical events which relate to spatial and socio- economic growth of dam. Timeline is helpful in understanding the workingliving relationship in neighbourhood from history to present times.

After the mid-review, there was an opinion to produce some kind of design suggestion that would introduce potential designers to the site. the suggestion would serve as a document to highlight the (sometimes hidden) values that the Dam has. This opinion was shared by two groups, one working on the issue of scale and the other working on mixed use, which then formed one. As a starting point for our document, we focused on the analyses that our seperate groups came up with for the mid-review. Na de mid-review heerste er de gedachte om een soort van ontwerpsuggestie te maken die potentiële ontwerpers kon helpen om de site te verstaan. Deze suggestie zou de (soms verborgen) kwaliteiten van de Dam belichten. Deze gedachte werd gedeeld door twee groepen, een werkend rond het thema schaal en de ander werkend rond het thema van mixed-use, die dan één groep werden. Om aan dit ontwerp te startten, concentreerden we ons eerst op de analyses die de twee groepen voor de mid-review hadden gemaakt. 17


The Lobroekdok as a part of the harbor of the city The Slachthuislaan as the last part of the vision note ‘Green Singel’


The Slachthuis-site as a part of the necklace of public buildings along the ringroad

^ Lobroekdok

^ Slachthuislaan

Starting from our analyses we could differentiate four spatial elements which are an integral part of the composition that is called the Dam. These are the Lobroekdock, the Slachthuislaan, the slachthuis-site and the Lange Lobroekstraat. These four elements structured movement and developments throughout history, but in the present these places are undervalued and unsafe. Therefor we tried to highlight the qualities that these places still have or can have on a macro, meso and micro scale. The result is shown in the next pages. Startend van onze analyses, konden we vier ruimtelijke elementen onderscheiden die samen de Dam vormen. Deze zijn het Lobroekdok, de Slachthuislaan, de Slachthuis-site en de Lange Lobroekstraat. Deze vier elementen hebben de bewegingen en ontwikkelingen geleid doorheen de geschiedenis maar zijn momenteel ondergewaardeerd en onveilig. Daarom hebben we getracht te kwaliteiten bloot te leggen die deze plekken stil in hun hebben op een macro, meso en micro-schaal. De resultaten hiervan zijn op de volgende bladzijden te vinden.

^ Slachthuissite

^ Lange Lobroekstraat



Lange Lobroekstraat is the most active street of the neighbourhood, with commercial activities, cafes and restaurants, displaying a working-living model. Street can be seen in two parts, part one with dense built fabric on both sides and part two, with cafes-restaurants on one side and slaughterhouse building on the other.

Lobroekdok though disconnected from the neighbourhood, can be seen as a large chunk of water, which acts as buffer between Oosterweel and Dam. Thus, protecting it from noise and air pollution to a certain extent.


Slaughterhouse site, though not in use now, hosts some temporary activities. The boxing club, flea market and parking are activities which are keeping the site in use. These activities in one way or another relate with the neighbourhood. Temporary use of space keeps the area safe and active till certain extent.

Lobroekdok presently has no connection with the neighbourhood because of the industrial activities it caters to. With dense residential area on one side and industrial area on the other, the nature of activities on two sides of the slachthuislaan is completely different, making it act as a buffer.

Dam is a dense neighbourhood, with hardly any public space for community. There are pockets of disconnected green spaces around the slachthuislaan, of which some are used by the community like noordschippersdok. But the green spaces on side of lobroekdok are just being used by industries for storage.

Lobroekdok is part of the history of dam as well as Antwerp. With discontinuation of dock activities, it is just a large body of water. Since the water is not clean and it is not connected to the neighbourhood, its presence is not of any contribution. It can be looked at as an asset if treated consciously in future design proposals.


lange lobroekstraat







As seen in the preceeding process, where we have tried to get down and understand the physical elements of the Dam neighbourhood, starting to see them on the city scale and then locate them against all the big projects around the Dam in the meso scale and finally overviewing them on the micro local scale; there was a realisation that this process was not heading anywhere but just plainly overlooked the way the spatial elements were interpreted by the inhabitants and what change they wanted to see. We realised that it was a very top-down method that we are trying to seek results from, and then really felt that there was something important that was missing ,a bottom-up aproach which was different from the physical elements. Na dit voorgaande proces, waar we deze vier ruimtelijke elementen probeerden te analyseren op de schaal van de stad, vergeleken met grote projecten op de schaal van de Dam en uiteindelijk op de schaal van het element zelf, kwamen we tot het besluit dat ons proces niet vooruitging. We bekeken de Dam teveel vanuit het perspectief van de planner in plaats van rekening te houden met wat de inwoners zeiden en hoe zij hun buurt zien. 23



After our first step, we decided to work with the material we got during and after the mid-review instead of the material we produced for the mid-review. This meant material from the neighbourhood itself. The studio, together with NDVR, processed the remarks and thoughts that the people of the Dam provided during the workshop. This was bundled in the’ advice of the Dam’ which was then submitted to the city together with a seperate bundle of NDVR. Then we took this advice and tried to extract values out of it. Na onze eerste stap besloten we te werken met het materiaal dat we kregen tijdens en na de mid-review in plaats van het materiaal dat we zelf voor de mid-review hadden geproduceerd. Dit betekende materiaal van de buurt zelf. De studio, tesamen met NDVR, verwerkte de opmerkingen en gedachten die de buurt had tijdens de workshop. Deze werden dan gebundeld in het ‘advies van de Dam’ wat daarna verzonden werd naar de stad tesamen met nog een aparte bundel van NDVR. Hierna gebruikte we dit ‘advies’ en haalden er waarden uit.







“De geschiedenis van den Dam mag niet verloren gaan!”

“Het Lobroekdok moet een actieve kaai worden voor iedereen.”

“Wij willen winkels, cafékes en restaurants waarboven mensen kunnen wonen!”

“Het masterplan moet rekening houden met het huidig gebrek aan verbindingen met publiek transport, mobiliteitsproblemen en parkeerproblemen.”

“Verkeersveiligheid is een belangrijke kwestie in deze buurt, nu is het behoorlijk onveilig.”

“Er moeten genoeg plekken zijn voor recreatie, sportactiviteiten naast plekken waar de buurt, de gemeenschap kan samenkomen.”



Integrated Neighbourhood

Heritage + Living by the water

Self-sufficient Neighbourhood

<> 1/3 green

<> Water front

<> Small scale economy

<> Urban Garden

<> Living/working combined

<> Affordable workshops

<> Safety for the children

<> History

<> Weekly meat market

<> Own spaces for Dam

<> Qualitative space @ the water <> Dock as a part of the neighbourhood

<> Small local shops

<> Affordable housing

Safety + Comfort


<> Public amenities


<> Less through-traffic

<> To be a part of the city

<> Universal access

<> Basic facilities

<> Parking pressure

<> Public transport

<> Focus on bicycle and pedestrian traffic

<> Affordable housing

After reading the advice of the Dam, which will accompany the project definition, we tried to associate the aspirations and statements of the advice to certain values that are intrinsic to the neighbourhood. These aspirations translate to the values; Integrated neighbourhood, Heritage + Living by the water, Selfsufficient neighbourhood, Saftey + Comfort and Equity. In the following pages we tried to express these values in a spatial way. Na het advies van de Dam te hebben gelezen, hebben we geprobeerd om de wensen en uitspraken van dat advies te verbinden met zekere waarden die intrinsiek verbonden zijn met de buurt. Deze wensen corresponderen met de waarden; een buurt voor iedereen, Geschiedenis + wonen aan het water, een zelf-voorzienende buurt, Veiligheid + Comfort en Gelijkheid. Op de volgende bladzijden hebben we getracht deze waarden te vertalen op een ruimtelijke manier.



Dam as a dense neighbourhood without many public facilities is in real need for a space which it can call its own. Integrated neighbourhood visions for this “Dam’s own” public space. Creating public spaces with variety of activities could prove to be a catalyst for bringing together different communities, which could further improve the environment for local residents. Activities like community gardens, which involve participation from all age groups, can also be an important tool for community development. 30


Slachthuislaan as the main inner city road, holds an important position within the city. But for the people of Dam, it is a source of noise pollution and traffic congestion, right next to the neighbourhood. High speed through traffic further questions pedestrian safety and accessibility. Along with mobility, parking pressure is another important factor which needs attention. Safety and comfort envisions an environment which promotes pedestrian safety, more space for public facilities and less through traffic within the neighbourhood. 31


Lobroekdok is part of the history and heritage of Antwerp as a port city. Closing of dock activities, left lobroekdok without a function. Unlike noordschippersdok, being more close to industrial area, it was never really related with neighbourhood in history. Presently the dock is polluted and does not hold any neighbourhood activity. Heritage and living by the water tries to capture Damâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s aspiration to make dock as a qualitative front for the neighbourhood and use it for the neighbourhood activities. 32


From history, Dam has been a mixed neighbourhood, with commercial activities like beer brewery, chocolate factory, cotton factory, slaughterhouse, meat processing industries and cafes existing with residential spaces. With the closing of slaughterhouse, meat processing industries are also slowly closing down. Presently, Lange Lobroekstraat is the only street with working-living model. Self-sufficient neighbourhood brings front Damâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s aspiration for a neighbourhood, which gives space for small commercial activities, meat related activities, employment and workshop space for neighbourhood people to make Dam self-sufficient. 33


With continuously disappearing public facilities, high rate of unemployment and native people moving out, Dam can be seen as a neglected neighbourhood of the city. Equity represents damâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s need to be a part of cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s development plan. Connection to the city, with public transport facilities and services like bank, atm, health centres makes part of small aspirations of neighbourhood.


DAM is at the heart of all these values!






5 4





Overlap of values tries to bring together all community needs and aspirations. It is important for the designer to consider all values together to realise long term vision. Overlap of these values brings forward a potential system of values, within which different elements can exist.


1- Deals with existing public spaces of the neighbourhood, noordschippersdok and bouwspeelplein. The upcoming projects at Ijzerlaan and new bike bridge will lead to transformation of the area at different scales.

2- Takes in consideration noordschippersdok as existing public space, lobroekdok as potential public place and slachthuislaan as a separator between these two spaces. Slachthuislaan should be envisioned as a safe place for pedestrians and as connector for public activities.

3- Is critical as it is the point where dam connects to park spoor noord and has access to city level public space. It also provides a shortcut to the traffic from Slachthuislaan via Kalverstraat. This can be seen as a strategic point towards developing public transport to link the neighbourhood to the city.

4- Holds the pedestrian connection from dam to the park spoor noord through demerstraat. The point acts as puncture through the barrier between the high residential area and a much needed open space.

5- Looks at new development at slaughterhouse site, slachthuislaan and lobroekdok as an opportunity to bring new identity for the neighbourhood. Dam looks at slachthuislaan as a barrier and a divider.

6- Bring in front a small island of green space, with dense fabric of neighbourhood on one side and an empty slaughterhouse on the other. On slaughterhouse site it is flanked by Kalverstraat, a wide road with through traffic, creating a divide between residential area and empty industrial site.

7- Slaughterhouse has always been an important part of the heritage and history of Dam, but today it stands as a space without identity. Point 7 brings light to small activities which are utilising slaughterhouse site and have a connection with neighbourhood.

8- Looks at Lange Lobroekstraat as the neighbourhood street which displays working-living nature of built space. It is the most vibrant street of the neighbourhood, vital for keeping the neighbourhood alive.

9- Entry to the neighbourhood from Schijnpoort, can be seen as new gateway to the Dam. It can be seen as a green corridor linking different scales of green spaces, placing Dam on the scale of the city.




As a proposal group our very first approach was top down process oriented. After some critical analysis we had decided to investigate the neighbourhood social values which were derived from the needs of the neighbourhood itself. The source of these needs came from several meetings with the neighbourhood organisations and feedback of the mid-review workshop. We analysed those needs and categorized them in five values. Most fascinating part of this process was that we found that these values coexist and quite relate to some critical spatial elements of our site. To examine the relation between these values and the spatial elements we overlapped five values and found nine strategics spot within the site. After that we debated within our group to discuss how we should proceed in advising the designers. Value overlap could be handed over to the designers which we think is useful as to point out strategic points for an intervention. This is where this booklet could end, we bundled the advice into these values, connect them to spatial elements and then overlap them to see which places are the most strategic. These values work as guidelines for the designers to follow. they can guide them to the Dam or make their own way. 39



After our bundling of the advice and analysing the conditions, we thought of putting our ‘guidelines’ to the test. This was done by holding an internal workshop. We took our booklet as a starting point and let everyone choose a strategic point, based on the overlap of values, on which they had to design a project in respect to the values we found. This was done in order to simulate if our work could be of any use to the designers Na het bundelen van de adviezen van de Dam en het analyseren van de condities, dachten we eraan om onze ‘guidelines’ te testen. Dit werd gedaan door een interne workshop te houden. We vertrokken van dit boekje en we lieten iedereen een strategische plek kiezen, gebaseerd op de overlap van de waarden, waar ze dan een project moesten ontwerpen met respect tot die waarden. Dit werd gedaan om na te gaan of ons werk effectief de ontwerpers zou kunnen helpen. 42


SLACHTHUISLAAN - a divider or a connector ? SPOT 5 The selected strategic point in the whole study is a very crucial area, where the different spatial elemements coincides and gives some interesting point of action for resolving.

PRESENT CONDITIONS - Slachthuislaan becomes unsafe for pedestrian crossing and restricts the Lobroekdok to be connected with the neighbourhood and there are several opportunities to connect various open pockets along the edge of the SLACHTHUISLAAN, on both the DOK side and SLAUGHTERHOUSE site. - At the moment there are hardly any good facilitated public spots and not much green coverage, that is spoiling the edge of the SLACHTHUISLAAN, as it is only filled with car parking and there is no public realm.


DESIGN THOUGHT - As an extension of our study and our understanding, there was a spontaneous choice of action to overview the condition of SLACHTHUISLAAN and the small pockets of open spaces that could be connected.


Considering the values of SAFETY & COMFORT and LIVING BY THE WATER, underlined with the needs of the DAM, the idea was concieved to signify the connection to the DOK and also a safer one.

urban garden / vegetation

green boulevard

cycle friendly environment

public space

safe crossing

public green


a public realm

DESIGN SUGGESTION (experience) - As I progressed upon thinking towards more elaborate design ideas, I was constantly trying to relate to the needs of the Dam neighbourhood and values related to it, but simultaneously there were certain desicions based upon sorted solution ideas based on considerations of the physical conditions. During the excercise there was a constant attempt to not get carried away to more refined detailing of spatial elements but towards seeking more appropriate allocation of possible activities and functions as located on the schematic sketch above. It was like an apt excercise for me on a personal level, as there was a more clear picture of what or how the design idea could be started and elaborated in comparison to the one at the mid-review as there was a better insight on the humanistic values in the approach now. 45

PUBLIC REALM IN SLAUGHTERHOUSE PRESENT SITUATION In spot 7 from the overlap diagram one can see there are some activities happening. It is used as a parking space from which the landowner of slaughter house get economic benefits. Besides that there is a monthly market that takes place on the first sunday of every month. From figure 2 we can see that there are some plants at the edge of slaughter house which is near ceulemansstraat neighbourhood. This neighbourhood inhabitants wants to do allotment gardens but they dont have enough space. So here we tried testing some situations on this strategic spot 7 while considering some neighbourhood needs and some present activities (boxing club, monthly market), from that we create some suggestions for designers like what if they do something, then what could happen.? 46

Fig. 1: Spot 7 in overlap diagram

Fig. 2: Present situation of slaughter house

Fig. 3: If this kind of development happens then neighborhood would lose their public activities

Fig. 4: We can think about development like spreading vertically rather than horizontally

Fig. 5: Vertical development will take less foot print and keep surface free for possible public amenities

Fig. 6: Strategic spot 7 (green)

Fig. 7: Present situation of spot 7

Fig. 8: Possible potential public activities and amenities (red) in spot 7

Fig. 9: Zoom of the possible usable area

SUGGESTIONS - Future development could create the opportunity for ceulemansstraat neighbourhood to get their allotment gardens, whi ch could integrate with public activities on the slaughterhouse site like the monthly market. - Boxing club and the monthly market which are present activities in this spot could be a major function in future development. - This spot could be a common platform for both people in dam and people from the city. - It could house a range of recreational activities and be a large central square which allows the local residents to meet each other through physical activity and games



PRESENT CONDITIONS • The Street and the adjacent spaces have been taken over by cars. • Not pedestrian friendly • This part of Lange Lobroekstraat is used by cafes and meat processing companies which are located on the opposite side of slaughterhouse site. • The street used to have a complete working-living model, with slaughterhouse on one side and cafes on the other side. • Now that there are no more activities at the slaughterhouse, the street is losing its character and is used only for parking. 48

OPPORTUNITIES With new development, there is an opportunity to redesign the street to accommodate more pedestrians and gathering spaces by reducing the parking pressure along the street as well as providing pedestrian friendly access. The developments along the street can be a good location to incorporate the needs of the neighbourhood for services like bank, ATM machine as well as small economic activities which can bring back the aspect of a vibrant street as it used to be. The design suggests creation of some small open spaces next to the public services and cafĂŠ-restaurants to give the street a sense of public realm. Programs like a playground for children, street furniture and gardens can help to connect the street to the new development and at the same time taking in consideration the neighbourhood needs and aspirations.




As the analysis and study has been elaborated and explained in the preceding chapters, there was a point for taking a next step, by testing the results of our study and practically see that if it is meaningful enough for building concepts for design. As an extension of the process a design charrette was internally organized with 3 different people that have different approaches, who tested the learnings of the study process and tried to build upon some basic concepts.The design ideas were getting built quickly, also dismissed sometimes, and many times there was constant reflection upon the ideas based upon the needs and the present conditions of Dam since it was coming too easily in the mind of the designers. In all the study and analysis that is in the bundle that included the needs of the Dam and their present conditions, made it much easier for the participating volunteers in the charrette to evaluate their ideas. 51


After the mid-review, there was a short moment of reflection in which we discussed on how to proceed with the studio. This led eventually to two different proposals; to work on an intervention in the neighbourhood or try to formulate a proposal to inspire the potential designers and the city. This booklet comes from the second group. To achieve our aim, we first worked on a strictly spatial analysis of the site. But as we tried and tested several ways and methods to bring out meaningful study and analysis, there were constant criticisms. Our analysis only showed quite obvious things, things that designers easily could come up with themselves. We had prolonged (really too long) discussions within the team on understanding how to break free from the spatial framework and look for the values lying underneath. So we changed completely our perspective and from the top-down, planner-kind of way we took the role of the careful listener, listening to what the inhabitants were saying. Actually this was more a bit of reading since the Dam had already came up, in collaboration with our studio and NDVR, with an advice booklet for the city. Now our objective was to create suggestions for designers so that they could understand what should be in their design. In a way we are imagining a Dam which it is, or how it should be, to its inhabitants. Extracting values or qualities that the Dam has from the advice was not that difficult. But the next step was again more of a blur. What do we do now with these values?


After again many discussions we agreed on trying to express these values in a spatial way, defining zones where these values can be discovered. There is naturally the remark that not all values can be expressed in a spatial manner, but by using zones and overlaps of these zones we can try to do this in the best possible way. After having done the research and the overlap of the values, since these values coexist, we still had the feeling to do something to inspire the designers in a more detailed way. These values are still quite abstract and don’t immediately give way for a proposal. That’s the point where we organised an internal workshop within our team. This was done in order to test our research. See if this approach can work or why not. Three designers work individually on a strategic point and came up with three different designs. These three designs work as appetizers for the designers, to see what’s possible by overlapping these values and to see what qualities that are already present at the Dam. A point of criticism can be that we now again only look at the Dam from the people’s perspective. And that’s partially true. The planners way is still present, but there’s a lack on how these values could also be used by the city or the owners of the project area. While these were originally included in our approach, they got lost during the process. This in part because there was no ‘advice from the owner’ or ‘advice from the city’. Some of them however can still be found in the ‘Materials’ part of the booklet. This however is something that designers should keep in mind and still have to find out themselves. Or this can be a starting point for the next studio: “How can the city profit from the Dam without losing touch with the people’s needs?”.


More info? MAHS / MAUSP / EMU Master programs Department ASRO, K.U.Leuven Kasteelpark Arenberg 1, B-3001 Heverlee, Belgium Tel: +32 (0) 16 321391 Fax: +32 (0) 16 321984 E-mail :


Strategic Spatial Planning Studio, Antwerp, KU Leuven