By Lidwine Spoormans and Wido Quist
In 2011 the RMIT-department of Delft University of Technology formulated the ambition to be structurally involved in the transformation of urban neighbourhoods in both research and education. This was decided upon because of the complex social, spatial and physical issues that many districts in large cities are facing and the urge to react on these issues with research based design within the awareness of the cultural significance of those threatened areas.
RMIT and Veldacademie joined forces and started a graduation studio on “Transforming the Neighbourhoods of Feijenoord and Lombardijen”. The results of the studio will be presented in September 2012 by the issuing of a book and the start of an exhibition. Because of the different backgrounds of the students, being Chinese, Dutch, Georgian, Greek, Korean and Russian the research and the design proposals show some out-of-the-box-thinking that can be very inspiring.
The ambition of the studio was to gain an insight in origin, history, past of interventions, the actual situation and the future possibilities of a variety of typologies in the existing housing stock as a base for intervention strategies. To connect with the real world, stakeholders such as housing corporations and local authorities were involved in the organisation of the studio. The collaboration with Veldacademie and the input of experts resulted in a multidisciplinary approach. From an academic point of view the graduation studio already got a follow up by comparable studios on Den Haag Zuidwest and several urban areas in the western part of Amsterdam.
Projects on Feijenoord
‘ShopHouse Transformation in Feijenoord’, by Aman Poon
This project reintroduces the former combination of shop and house in a nineteenth century housing block along the Oranjeboomstraat. The result is a reinforced connection between working and living, between old and new structures and between two strongly separated parts of Feijenoord.
‘Simonsterrein - A social project’, by Dora Chatzi Rodopoulou
In this social project Simonsterrein is valued as a monument of activism. A contemporary version of participation, process design and physical intervention is developed in order to improve living conditions.
‘Diversity: ideas and embodiment, Zinkerblock’, by Alexandra Vlasova
The unequal value of the two different parts that form Zinkerblock is unified in this project. The nineteenth century character of diversity is strengthened and used to bring the block and its surroundings to a higher level.
‘Liveability in residential urban neighbourhoods, Oranjeboomstraat’, by Eirini Gallou
The creation of an urban enclave in this project improves safety, social coherence and liveability of a combined housing block along the Oranjeboomstraat.
Projects on Lombardijen
‘De wijkgedachte 2012, Collectivity and individuality in Molièrebuurt West’, by Mark Radstake
The exceptional situation of private ownership in this part of Lombardijen is inspirational for the redesign of a neighbourhood in this project. Either improving or reducing collective space is tested in a design laboratory.
‘Green spaces in post-war areas, Lombardijen-Oost’, by Donghwa Kang
Close observations of todays use of green spaces form the base for redesign of this quite generic post-war area. Turning the existing rationality to complexity is this project’s strategy for facilitating and stimulating collective contemporary use.
‘Self identification issues with the environment in post war neighbourhoods, Loss of Identity in Lombardijen district’, by Irakli Melkadze
The mismatch of a frozen post-war identity and a new multi ethnic population is the reason for the addition of new identity and program. The repetitive building system of the existing structure is a starting point in the creation of a system to create multiple identities.