EUROPAN 14, BIG THIN SHORT
Proposal for Amsterdam Paparverdriehoek, Europan 14 - Productive Cities.
The definition of a Place, through the lens of the collective memory appears blurry, rather undefined and complex. More than a spatial location, more than a dot in a Cartesian grid, a place can absorb or enhance the sequence of interactions and events that makes a group of men worth to be called a community. It’s everything but immutable and predictable, everything but fixed or steady.
Therefore a place is not an architecture, perhaps it is its history, or better, the process through which a project becomes Architecture. What once was accomplished in centuries, today is planned to be completed in few months.
Today, thanks to an unprecedented speed of construction, the former sites of production, around The Netherlands, are sanitized and gentrified all of sudden, drastically overturned to a new hype for the sake of cosmetics. Neighborhoods like Buiksloterham risks to fail in delivering a certain aura that could attracts an emerging social geography, due to the adoption of a fast topdown approach, rather than eventually stratifying multiple surgical interventions within a longer timespan.
Following up this considerations, BTS suggests a different attitude towards urbanity, based on delaying the building phase, consciously subdivided in a longer timeframe. In order to attract the creatives communities, like De Ceuvel (the conglomerate of refurbished boats at the bottom end of the site), that inevitably will abandon Paparweg, an equal amount of square meter will be built at the very beginning of the process, arranged into a linear spine. Through a curatorial collaboration with other institutions, a series of temporary events, activators, such as biergarten, workshop and lectures are called to colonize the site’s ground floor. Once a certain financial balance is achieved, the spine could be expanded with a set of addon, becoming a more permanent presence. Then, this simple system could move in other sites adapting morphology and program to the new task, but conserving proximity as its driving quality. Rather than providing a fixed configuration, this project proposes a system resilient enough to address the variegated set of conditions necessary to update Papaverdriehoek as one of the pivotal district of the renovated Buiksloterham.
A very far aerial view of the north part of Amsterdam reveals the inherent dualistic distribution that was ruling the city few decades ago; sitting in front of the canal the artificial soil is populated by big boxes, today silent and empty photographs of the past productive chain. On the other hand, the sinuous composition of pitched row houses strongly contrast the apparent randomness of the industrial waterfront. Extremely segregated, yet, productive and residential respect the 50% ratio promoted by the planning strategy KOERS 2025. The drift from an objectwise production to a servicewise economy had forced industries to progressively abandon cities, to move in suburbs and to occupy residual soil between infrastructure and agriculture. Together with jobs a completely different set of priorities and habits is affecting the metropolitan lifestyle; because of the introduction of portable technology and the consequent vaporization of a daily schedule, there isn’t any clear subdivision between house life and working environment. Thus a more subtle version of alienation and exploitation is taking over today. To counteract this phenomena BTS avoids extreme flexibility, and adopts instead proximity and variety as the main quality, providing perfectly tailored spaces to welcome two main groups of people, protagonists of this new continuous industrial revolution; to simplify we’ll name them the maker and the copywriter.
The Makers designs, builds, tweaks, corrects his own project of technology, The Copywriter connects with people, builds narratives, sells to client, creates feelings and emotions. This two figures, cooperating, generates not only a new type of industries, but mostly a new social geography, which is based on their common acceptance of circular economies strategies. The three blocks composition represents a perfect diagram of this ambitions. The working space in the spine is thought to host silent and quiet activities, while the square block on the ground floor welcome specialized noisy, more practical activities, finally the tower, provides private rooms and other amenities. The shared levels, extremely free and open, can be rent for short amount of time.
This promiscuity has several benefits: the creation of an environment based on the sharing of goods and ideas, an ever-changing interaction between different realities, and more important a micro scale productive infrastructure able to cover the variety of tools, a modern craftsman might need.
A Modern phalanstery, an autonomous cell, BTS, is a machine for self production, for thinking and for enjoying. BTS is Labour, Work, Action.