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Cross-section of urban life
Cross-section of urban life

Hoofdsteeg-Zuid with a view of Podium's south facades and Atelier Zuid in the distance. The man is planning to eat lunch in the sun on the raised plaza.
Hoofdsteeg-Zuid with a view of Podium's south facades and Atelier Zuid in the distance. The man is planning to eat lunch in the sun on the raised plaza.

View of the grand stair, outdoor room and dwelling platforms of Atelier Noord and a view into one of Spil's shared studio spaces. Below can be seen how the layered public space and the buildings mesh together.
View of the grand stair, outdoor room and dwelling platforms of Atelier Noord and a view into one of Spil's shared studio spaces. Below can be seen how the layered public space and the buildings mesh together.

A man studies the posters in Podium's entrance alleyway; there's something on tonight that he doesn't want to miss. At right, a group of graduates from ArtEZ arts institute have gathered to wait for a guided tour of their future studio space.
A man studies the posters in Podium's entrance alleyway; there's something on tonight that he doesn't want to miss. At right, a group of graduates from ArtEZ arts institute have gathered to wait for a guided tour of their future studio space.

Layered public space created between Spil and Atelier Zuid. The silhouettes of the dancers are an invitation to visit the week's ballet performance.
Layered public space created between Spil and Atelier Zuid. The silhouettes of the dancers are an invitation to visit the week's ballet performance.

From one of Spil's shared studio spaces you can look through the 3D facade to the raised plaza and the housing of Podium.
From one of Spil's shared studio spaces you can look through the 3D facade to the raised plaza and the housing of Podium.




PROJECTINDEX
 
FABRICA
Technische Universiteit Eindhoven
ARCHITECTURE

FabricA is in the first place a perspective on cityness and high density in the existing urban fabric of Arnhem, worked up into a plan for a large-scale mixed-use studio building.
Compaction takes the pressure off rural areas, makes public transport more attractive and gives a wide variety of urban programming within walking distance. The title, FabricA, is a contraction of the English 'fabric', as in weave, and the Italian-Latin 'fabrica' meaning factory or workplace. This summarizes in great measure the results of my final-year project. Workplace stands literally for workplace and metaphorically for the mixed-use studio building and first-time buyer homes that have been designed. Fabric stands for the interweaving of these buildings with their surroundings and with each other, for the network of alleyways and for the programmatic interweaving.
FabricA is a research by design study into ways of fitting a design of extreme density into existing urban fabric. I am assuming that designing in high densities in existing fabric only works if the design makes a positive contribution to the immediate surroundings. This contribution is socioeconomic, morphological and sociologistic alike. For the chosen site it holds that the existing (cluttered) fabric needs compacting without forfeiting its identity and that the received qualities of this site should therefore show through in the new plan. Thus the new built fabric is placed against, amidst, around and above the existing fabric. The smallness of scale remains despite the high density, and the alleyways this creates have the same qualities as the former void (autonomy, freedom, margin, 'hidden', leeway).
My analyses of the site show that an informal cultural programme is the most fitting, as much morphologically as economically and socially. In the study commissioned by the City of Arnhem in 2006 to get a picture of its potential as a 'creative city', the site I have chosen was singled out as one of the promising creative environments in the vicinity of the inner city. This underpins my proposal for an innovative concept for a large-scale mixed-use studio building with affordable accommodation for first-time home buyers and past and present art academy students.
A vibrant city leave room for individual enterprise, the capacity for change, and appropriation. The question is whether you can design this or whether it should be left to chance. My assertion is that space should be appropriated or returned, depending on the circumstances. An example of this ambiguity is the economic and commercial use of favelas, in both public and private domains. There, streets, rooms and stairs are appropriated for permanent or temporary workplaces and shops. The unspecified and unplanned are very much in evidence. Lack of government interference gives residents the freedom to appropriate a space for a longer or shorter period.
Fortunately an architect is unable to design human behaviour. Yet people can be enticed to appropriate public space for themselves and put it into use. I see this enticement taking on different guises: enticement from afar (curiosity about the unattainable) and enticement by proximity (a 'forced' intimacy temporarily erases the boundary between subject and object for an intimate relationship). I use the terms 'dérive' and 'détournement' to add an extra component to the process; dérive for enticing the subject to wander, discover and play and détournement for the conditions to do so.
The creative programme contributes to the process of enticing or at least guiding the subject to appropriate space. I have spread this programme over four buildings so as to attribute an active role to the public domain; the programme now encompasses the underlying social and functional structures. The network of alleyways gives shape to urban life under great pressure, which makes the alleyway a bold new variant of the street. This is where the border between interior and exterior loses its edge so that the alleyway gets to become part of the built fabric.
fabricA is an experimental design that weaves together multiple themes and crystallizes in a labyrinthine network of alleyways and a quartet of buildings in the inner city of Arnhem. The design contributes to its setting because of the high density and not despite it.