The public meeting places in the Garden City neighbourhood of IJsselmonde no longer meet the wants and needs of its current residents. Young people in particular do not have a place to call their own. Therefore, six architecture students designed and built a pavilion in the market square in Groot-IJsselmonde, in collaboration with the youth, welfare groups and schools from the district. This project is the first in a series of Design & Build projects in Rotterdam that will take place in the coming years.
Meeting places for young people
Where can residents of Groot-IJsselmonde meet one another? Before they began designing, students of TU Delft (Master of Architecture and Landscape) researched this question in the Groot-IJsselmonde district. The students talked to residents on the street, interviewed professionals, made observations and conducted spatial analysis to answer this question. The results indicated a need for more easily accessible meeting places for young people in this now sixty year old Garden City neighbourhood. There was a need for places where girls also feel welcome and where no membership is required.
Frame-it! design drawing
Six students translated their findings from the field research into a number of spatial designs. Based on votes from the neighbourhood and those of students and teachers involved in the project, one design was chosen to be built on site: Frame-it!
‘Frame-it' is a pavilion consisting of four wooden frames, each with its own function. There is a stage for local talent, an exhibition of stories and art from the neighbourhood, a bench to sit on and a staircase to play on. This is only indicative, because young people and other neighbourhood residents are free to test different uses. After all, it is their pavilion.
Demarcated by containers and fences, the building site in the middle of the market square was a true meeting place. Local residents came by every day to enquire about the project and its progress, and for advice. From the surrounding flats, people saw the building grow in a fortnight.
Young people from the neighbourhood even picked up electric screwdrivers to join the build. For some, this was a first. The Children's Ombudsman of Rotterdam, young people from the youth garage, the girls' club from pit010 and other joined in for a day. Additionally, children from five primary schools in the neighbourhood were invited to show off their painting skills. The students handed out over a hundred wooden panels, which they then placed in the exhibition pavilion. Click here to see all the paintings.
Learning in practice
The strength of the Design & Build method is that it places learning in practice at the forefront. What you develop on the drawing board is realised and tested on a 1:1 scale. In this way, students come into contact with the practice of the professional field, from technical detailing to communication with residents and contractors, and maintaining financial records.
Moreover, students work on a real practical question that they extract from their needs research the neighbourhood. In order to achieve this, they interview people from the neighbourhood, speak to them on the street, observe the use of the environment and human behaviour and clarify questions. Based on the data collected they conclude on the most important aspects. For many students, these are new skills that are valuable for the field in which they will be working.
The pavilion in IJsselmonde is the first Design & Build project in Rotterdam. In the coming years, more projects will be realised in the city, together with (inter)national and local partners from education and practice.
This project was carried out by TU Delft students: Anna Buiter, Cameron Reid, Femke Groot, Jana Scheithauer, Jasmijn Ooijevaar and Lea Hartmeyer. Special thanks to primary schools, welfare groups and entrepreneurs from the neighbourhood for their contributions. Photos: Fred Ernst and Marijke Gips