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PP3 URBAN GROWTH AND SPRAWL
last Friday’s skype session between the participants of the design studios in Belgium and Ecuador was most interesting. After following the students present their proposals of how to deal with a low density urban fabric, and how to make it more active, I realized that both programs, in Belgium as well as in Ecuador, have lots in common. They both seem to work with the existing situation as much as possible and highly value the inhabitant’s opinion or needs. No tabula rasa scenarios, no autistic approaches to the challenges or problems of the chosen sites, but critical and coherent approaches, pointing towards the main ideas of design thinking (Tim Brown). Thanks to all for this contribution, we should do this again!
Team 6 / Müzeyyen Özkaya
Briefly described, our strategy can be characterized with:
- providing affordable housing for young singles and families;
- providing affordable working spaces for enterprising people;
- decreasing car dependency within suburbia;
- transforming the suburb’s street from a “non-place” to an active space;
- going back from car-scale to human-scale;
- increasing social interaction within the neighbourhood using architectural and spatial methods.
MODULAR PORTABLE HOUSES IN WENDUINE
People who live in Wenduine; are generally old people. They come from immediate vicinit, they have second house in Wenduine.The houses in wenduine are very expensive . So young people can not afford buy this house. In addition , people who live or work here and do not have a property yet. And people who live in here want to earn money . I think if we build small house in here , the houses have low price, young people can live here. Also they can grow vegetables ,fruits and trees and take care of gardens. They can provide security .So they can earn money from here . The small houses also will make a connection area each neigbour houses. This area will be more social area . Therefore old people live more enjoyable than before.
How can I put small houses in area? Taking into account the plans of existing houses., Especially I detected more useless areas, next to the garage and frondyard but I think that small houses can not be block to other houses. How can be houses ? Houses can be small and movable . Because they should be open to changes. The cost of houses should have low prices .so that they can be rented less prices. Thus I decided to make modular house. How can be modular houses? I chose size of the smallest door . This doors size is 65 cm . This module consist of panels. This panels size 65cm x 240 cm.. I have two modules ; big module and small module . Big module’s area is 6,5 m2 ,small module’s area is 3.5 m2.
We can put this modules side by side. And the houses can expand as we want . All panels can move and can rotate around itselfs. İt can be wall or door as we want. And , we can removable this panels.
One of the main differences between the suburbs and the cities is that suburbs are grown for individual use while cities are grown for collectivities, and that’s why suburbs lack somehow the social interaction, which i wanted to improve.
On the other hand farming is becoming a massive production business and particular and small owners are losing benefits, so to help local activity also as an alternative to tourism and renting market, it was proposed a all-year-round activity, one that connected people and transformed the suburbs into a place closer to the idea of a “real city” (one citizen assured that Wenduine was “not a real city”). There will be more jobs, better chances for the youth, less commuting and, definitely a more sustainable model: a self-sufficient village.
The common strategy used for the group work, which was changing the tram line to the Ringlaan and trying to connect better both ‘halfs’ of Wenduine, is the foundation for my proposal. I take the advantage of the tram varying the car transit to make it more transitable for pedestrians. So, for example in the area chosen for the intervention, I studied the visual signs and spaces (2) and finally, in the empty lots (or pieces of lots between houses) I placed the urban gardens, for a local use, self-consumption and to be sold the products in the market area (on the left side of the image 3). Then, in the poulders, the farmers that would be interested in selling their products in the market area of the village, will have to lend part of their lands for public production so that there would also be a social exchange between the inhabitants and the farmers (see image 1). And in the centre of this network, we have the market area and urban park, with some greenery that connects it with the whole intervention along the avenue. Here is where people will be able to sell and buy vegetables, fruits…where they can get some horticultural knowledge in the educational garden provided in the centre and produce compost from the kitchen disposals in the recycling area (image 3)
1. evolution of garden networks within time
2. visual map of the area
3. area of intervention: market area and urban park on the left side
Within time inhabitants will test the benefits of producing together while many visitors come to Wenduine and the surroundings to enjoy the suburban lifestyle and gardening.
In any case over-production is not possible because everything is up to a very local consumption, but if more networks of gardens or markets are needed, they can be achieved by social agreement.
Our analysis led us to conclusion that the main problem of the city is the fact that suburbs are cutted of from the city by the Ringlaan, which, for its function, is over dimensioned and seems discouraging to cross or walk along it, as it has no function or possibilities of actions along it or even crossing points. This disconnection causes lack of interaction between the city parts and provokes to search for activities in other cities. On the other hand, wide roads provoke drives to drive faster, that additionally deters people from walking, even if their fear of traffic is not fully rational (Gehl, 1987)
Our main design strategy was to provoke people to use this area, as it whole would serve as common grounds, for equally the “inhabitants” and “visitors”. It’s possible by getting rid of what discourages people and creating attractors. Therefore, it should provide diverse activities and possibilities to attract people, not only from Wenduine but possibly also from other cities and villages. The base of the strategy was moving the tram line, which currently enforces the border between the promenade and the city, to the Ringlaan, forcing some people to walk through the city and providing better transportation to the others. Because of that all the street needed to be rearranged which gives the possibilities to create a pedestrian friendly space, that would be, instead of smooth border, a jagged stitch, that will have different character and mood. During our research process we came to the conclusion that the city can be clearly divided into three typologies defined by their density. Ringlaan is the border between the urban, dense one and rather loose suburban one. To empower the stitching idea I propose to swiths them on a part of the street.
For my particular intervention I’ve chosen the lots (or rather area, as for the intervention would lye across the modern Ringlaan, taking additionally lots from both sides of it) near the intersection with Kerkstraat. As we’ve learned from the input session and our own experience, paradoxically, open landscape of polders is highly privatized, and unavailable to the people. Here I could witness a similar situation. This inspired me to combine those two, into easily accessible and appropriable unity. Historical pattern of rural divisions has been transformed into, as they are called by landscape architects, spaces with floors (Rutlege 1971) of different materials and characters. The functions of particular have not been defined directly. A park is not necessarily “jammed full of equipment, game courts, and directed things to do to satisfy basic human need” (Rutlege 1971)
Wide paths with their zig-zags, inspired by the polder dikes, and diverse view are supposed to provoke walking. Due to the importance of accessibility in Wenduine, where in the park would equally meet old people and young mothers it is importante to keep the paths on one level. It will bring double benefits: firstly – people don’t have to struggle with curbs, and secondly it forces the cars to slow down, which reduces the negative effect of their appereance. As it is not possible to realize proper social research for the exact needs of future users of the park, the people should be let to appropriate space in their own way, which can be surprising even for the designer as the possibilities of human behavior have incredibly wide range. The northern side is defined by very picturesque church, which once used to be the city dominant, and even now, looking from the polders its tower its clearly visible on the background of seaside residential buildings. Its red wall will be perfect background for park activities or simply greenery, in winter it will be clearly cut off the white surroundings.
Picturesque values are also important in the tram station design. As for its function it is going to be an important node, concentrating people moving to the seaside or to work, or back home. From my personal experience I find the movement of rail transport appealing. Ian Gehl somehow proofs my words, by saying that people tend to gather in places that something is already happening. By creating a multi-level building, with a café on first floor and a roof garden I want to attract people there not only for the tram rides, but also any other time. It would create somehow a semi-symmetric situation where the main city center with walking promenade is countered with the “polder” park with a café and a shop. Those two centralities would fulfill each other – northern orientation and the southern, static sea view with dynamic tram and park one.
Ringlaan South square is designed for people under the great redesigning project of the Ringlaan Street. One of the solutions is to push cars out to the South of the city of Wenduine. Old parking lots are replaced by trees and new established infrastructure system of the South crossing is one of the main changes. Car transportation in suburban areas is important for sure. According to new trends, traditional car parks are history. The future lies in parking towers. South square got a dominant which is 39 meter high with additional leisure attraction in a form of a watch tower. It respects the height of the Church tower at the city center, which is also visual dominant. Hand in hand with other changes on the Ringlaan street, the Wenduine suburb was rethough in a way of increas an attractiveness, socialisation and centralization. Two groups (inhabitants and visitors) in society are now able to interact and cooperate with each other more often.
Level of the roadway and the pavement is
Well organize green islands and other
visual barriers supports traffic fluency and
Different ground textures for different
Car speed decrease – comunication between
walkers, bikers, drivers and tram is
balanced on the same ground level.
Raps at every entrance to the square – to
force drivers to slow down.
PARKING WATCH TOWER
It is a solution for high occupied suburban ground areas.
Focused on electric cars for short-term
rent and specaially for city transport.
Tower with atractive lookout at the top.
Capacity for 38 cars with possiblity of
build up TOWER PARKING CENTER.
Wenduine, as a small city on the Flemish coast, can clearly be considered as a typical example tourist oriented town. People we have met can be clearly divided into two different, non-interfering groups – the visitors (tourists and second residence owners) and the inhabitants (usually mid-aged families). The Ringlaan is the symbolical border between those two groups, but also between dominating housing typology – northern more dense urban fabric and southern suburbs. Our main idea was creating the common space for both of those groups, a space for interference, catalyzer of social interactions, providing services and leisure, for which, nowadays, people have to travel to Knokke or Brugge.
For the space of our micro urban strategy ( or should we rather call it macro urban strategy, due to dealing with almost all the perimeter of the city?) we have chosen the Ringlaan, for its location and width, splitting the city into two pieces. Its enormous size (as for the suburban fabric it goes through -30 to even 42 meters) provides broad possibilities of possible interventions. Our main idea is somehow “zip” the divided city. For this we’ve started our rearranging strategy from moving the tram line from Leopold II laan, to the place it can serve equally both the visitors and inhabitants. As, according to Jan Gehl and Jane Jacobs, fast car movement discourages (deter?) people from using public space, the car road has been designed to weave through the city. The liberated space is going to be arranged as green commons, with spot architectural interventions. Our particular projects will be designed to serve democratically not only the whole Wenduine but also potentially attracting people from other cities.
We believe that after our actions the new green Ringlaan can serve somehow as a counterweight to the seaside promenade, attracting people with its different character, and with the fact, that it’s almost equally in the middle of the city be easily accessible and interesting for everyone, no matter of their age, possibilities or interests.
Ewa Kaszuba, team 6
Briefly described, our strategy can be characterized with:
- providing affordable housing for young singles and families;
- providing affordable working spaces for enterprising people;
- decreasing car dependency within suburbia;
- transforming the suburb’s street from a “non-place” to an active space;
- going back from car-scale to human-scale;
- increasing social interaction within the neighbourhood using architectural and spatial methods.
The main point is to increase productivity of the area by adding extra space that can be used in different way according to the needs of habitants. The placement of new structure is based on a careful analysis of the area, mostly concerning visibility which gives the feeling of ownership and privacy. Suburbia needs to evolve into more diverse space but the way of making changes has to take in mind people living there.
The newly defined structure is based on a grid which has the same dimensions everywhere. Thanks to this the structure can be expanded in case if it would be needed. Because of small dimensions it is easily adaptable to existing buildings.
This way of dealing with suburbia gives it necessary identity and density to create a human scale neighborhood. New buildings are meant to be lighter and temporary but not to give the feeling of temporality as in campsite. They melt into the site and are placed so that the street scape changes in favor of pedestrians.
As mention earlier new structures can consist of many different types with different usage. Few of the possibilities are mentioned on the graphic.
The buildings are placed on structural columns so some of them can be built only on 1st floor so that they don’t block the necessary visibility on the street level.
Team 6 / Ivan Bonev
Briefly described, our strategy can be characterized with:
- providing affordable housing for young singles and families;
- providing affordable working spaces for enterprising people;
- decreasing car dependency within suburbia;
- transforming the suburb’s street from a “non-place” to an active space;
- going back from car-scale to human-scale;
- increasing social interaction within the neighbourhood using architectural and spatial methods.
It is expressed in developing temporal modular structures which are suitable for either housing or working spaces. They are intended to be dispersed around the streets of the suburb, after a thorough analysis of suitable placement and orientation regarding the existing nearby dwellings and with the approval of their residents. If needed and requested a structure could be placed within a particular site, emphasizing on the mutual connection, but always related to the public space and functions. Adding new volumes to the streetscape, we transform the existing monotonous rows of houses and create a different environment in terms of spatiality and architecture. A single condition is demanded, for every newly build module a tree should be planted. Foreseeing their temporal character and function, after their removal the newly planted flora will irreversibly change the living habitat and landscape. In my development of the modular structures, I emphasize on natural materials, building cost optimality and assembling and disassembling architecture in order to reduce their long term physical impact.
As well as enriching the living habitat with new volumes of architecture, we change the street texture. By narrowing down the asphalt road to a single car lane and surrounding it with perforated pavement, we allows greenery to flourish, create more picturesque landscape, but still do not exclude car movement on it, when needed.
For the further development of the already established micro strategy I choose a site that is consistent of a inner neighbourhood junction and 7~8 dwellings which define its spatial and architectural characteristics. To continue with my intervention, I need to know the properties of spaces forming the site. Based on three types of functions that could be generalized for the use of modules (housing, production, service), I make three types of analysis. They corespondent to the particularly applied function but at the same time overlap as they are not mutually exclusive.
analysis of privacy of territory
In order to organize the housing modules and create a more diverse environment without provoking conflicts with locals, I need to analyze their feeling of privacy over the streetscape. By “feeling of privacy” I mean their visual access to what is happening outside of their home, their individual approach to their home and the quality of environment they have and needs to be preserved. The latter are defined by street furniture, fencing, greenery, topography of the terrain (whether natural or not), organization of inner spaces in the house, etc. The newly built housing conformed with the existing situation and is placed on specific spot, in order to create unique spaces and to “break up” the environment.
analysis of publicly accessible private spaces
Assuming that in each dwelling there is a person who has a skill or ability which requires a working space, his home can’t provide, I analyze the environment to be able to situate the productive modules. Two criterias are crucial in this analysis – to create connections between the dwelling and the module, and the module and the street, which are equally strong, and at the same time keep the privacy of home. This is sought, in order to stimulate local production by providing it easily accessible and affordable spaces to develop into. At the same time, as a secondary effect, the whole neighbourhood will lively up, when people start looking for local craftsmen at their home areas.
analysis of potential public spaces
The last function which a module or a system of modules can host is public services. The analysis is based on the potential or already developed publicity of space can be used for situating the public module. This is, again, sought in order to bring new blood to the neighbourhood and make it more attractive for newcomers.
To sum up and represent an exemplary outcome of the proposed strategy, I develop a possible scenario in which one can see the new formed habitat and its advantages and disadvantages.
To be able to compare the existing and the transformed situation I provide an equally detailed horizontal section of the foreseen changes in habitat.
However, when I base a micro urban strategy on a modular structure with certain properties, those properties need to be thoroughly studied.
The developed module systems highly depends on easily assembling and mounting, and when needed disassembling and dismounting. Therefore it is reusable and have a minimum impact on the local environment. Another advantage is that the main structure doesn’t need any fixations but is based on joints between the structural elements. Wood, plywood and insulation are the main structural materials, which means that the module is almost 100% recyclable.
In a few steps I’ll present structural elements and logic.
There are 6 main structural elements – three by three mirrored copies of each other – and 4 secondary ones.
The structural system allows module combination in both direction – horizontal and vertical.
This flexibility allows me to create unlimited combinations which vary in terms of space organization, built area and height. The modular system can provide a suitable structure for every situation.
Wenduine is a town that aparently seems to be perfect, if you visit it and ask their neighbors they will tell you that it’s perfect so… how to improve their ways of living if they think they have the perfect one now? After some interviews and researches, we found that most of them only used cars for shopping once a week, and others only used it for going to work so… if most time of the day there are no cars using streets, why keep having them as we know them nowadays? People complained about the lack of spaces where children’s could play and also the small amount of field for cultivating or just having a nice place to seat and spend hours reading.
Is hard to make people stop using cars radically but with little interventions as the one i’m showing here we will see that little by little we can modify people perception of transportations, reaching a point where they will feel no need to use cars even for going to workbecause they will see that having a nice, social neighborhood life will be more pleasant than having their cars in front of their doors.
The project consist basically in reducing the amount of cars in some neighborhood forbidding the use of them, or limiting them radically.
With this proposal we have lots of space in streets so the idea is giving them to the neighbors so they can use it in a social way, so some laws about this new surface will be established, like the amount of minimum meters of growing area.
After this intervention all garages would stay available and as we can see in the house plan, we have now the posibility of having bigger living rooms, or to create a new polivalent room.
As now we don’t have ways to access to houses in some transportation, the proposal will also include a propose of impulsing ecologic way of transportation, so a new paratransit line will be created. The posibility of get houses with segways, bikes, or just walking would help neighborhood to improve and be a pioneer
After including my micro strategy, now is time to improve the area with some activities that will reforce the main idea, and as i am forbidding cars… a place for storing them is needed, but not just a place for storing, also a place where to change to another transportantion modus. And if we are going to create a new important place to do all this, why not also adding activities like a café or a book shop. because right now the are has a big lack of social activities because for having a coffee they have to go to the coast.
So in this way, i decided to create a exchanger for the area but without losing the connection with nature and without affecting daily operation of it. A buidling wih might be almost hidden undergrounf but that will suggest inhabitants to go in and discover what’s going on it. So the main points of the projects where naturality and transparence.
Team 3 //
Final proposal by William Riche
The first focus was on the use of land. How big are the plots and how big are the houses on it? How many square meters are there per inhabitant? And what if we compare this with other living situations? Can this be an opportunity to rethink this use of land in a more productive, efficient way? And can this also be translated to the interiors of the houses? Wenduine is a holiday destination for many tourists and for many of them a camping site becomes their home for several weeks or months. This idea of the camping formed an inspiration because of its specific social and spatial formation. Where the structure of the residential area is very rigid the camping changes because of its seasonal use and because of the continuity of coming and going people. Living on a camping site, mostly means being on holidays. Holidays give people a completely different state of mind. It forms a break, an interval of usual time. It is a time outside the daily routine. This element seems to make it easier for people to make social contact to each other. The boundaries between people are as much present as in the residential area, but they are much more subtle and flexible. The main goal of the micro strategy is to rethink the use of land and the configuration of the houses. And then in a way see what happens, and finding opportunities.
THE USE OF SPACE AND LAND
What happens on the peaces of land and zooming out to working or leisure space?
We strongly believe that a more conscience way of thinking about land and a more productive and efficient use of land can bring the ingredients for coherence. Two to five people use plots, with an average of 511m2. And what are they used for? Mostly prestige; it has to look good mostly and it’s also a place for storage, maybe in the summertime children can play there and parents can sun bade. This still has to be possible, but doesn’t this amount of land have more potential than this?
No house on the different plots is identical but they all have the same appearance. Intrinsically there’s nothing wrong with that but when have a look at them inside we do come to the conclusion that they can be more flexible. With these challenges and opportunities in mind the transformation of suburbia can lead to intensification and can therefore lead to a more sustainable and contemporary way of living.
How do they look? Why are they present? Can we speak of borders, fronts or limits? Or combinations? Do they always have to be present? Can they maybe be something else or even more than a rigid hedge?
The main focus for the empowerment of suburbia was the use of space in the meso and micro scale. Rethinking the boundaries that are used and in the same intention trying to change the configuration and the use of the houses themselves. The houses themselves are an accumulation of little rooms. The transformation consists of losing the walls that are standing in the way of flexibility and making the connection to the outside more clear by making the small windows bigger and letting them touch the ground.
By doing this there comes an opportunity to make a transit zone in between the more collective space and the private space. Still being a full private space. To rethink the existing boundaries and to try to make this new configuration possible new elements are added. These elements consist of steel flexible structures in the form of hatches that can be opened and closed in numerous ways.
With these elements the individual needs of the houses can be customized. The configuration of the house can be completely changed between summer and winter. Sometimes elements are added to make this possible. These new boundaries can become a storage space, a place to sit, an outside kitchen and even a complete extension.
Free lands are precisely filled up with a pattern of suburban housing with gardens, factories style farms and other low density elements. By clear form of organization identity has been lost and process of sub-urbanization of agriculture land is going on. The historical period in which we live faces us with conditions and challenges that could generate substantial changes in our way of thinking and a different, more contemporary approach to design activities. The economic crisis has revealed the limitations of a development model and, at the same time, the environmental emergency is forcing us to radically rethink our way of confronting the future. This problematic makes us understand that many things will no longer be as they were before. In our design we try to focus on rethink a land use and by experience of camping create a new rules into suburbia.
RESCALE THE STREET
by Jagoda Krawczyk
Street is a space where temporarily and permeability is mixing together and accidental interactions are possible. Suburbia is a place where we cannot talk about existing of street, but just road used by cars. No other action are taking place there. Territorial system are very strict and doesn’t allow for deviation from adopted rules and principles. Boundaries have a deep meaning and are creating with not only physical boarders but also physical, where passing is not possible /pathway to house, small front garden indeed to be a visiting card of householders, small bushes separate plot from pedestrian pathway/.
By applying on the site new vocabulary as shelter, green house and thalassocentre the scale of neighborhood is changing and also new function has influence on creating a street. The social control is increasing and territorial boundaries are changed, where permanent inhabitant are allow to use shortcuts through properties. Configuration of spaces are relocated. Garden is transformed as an outside living room, where is possible to put a furniture as a greenhouse – a guest house. Live is coming inside the neighborhood Boarders has a different meaning and became a productive boundaries with potential. New actors are introduced and mixed with existing ones. Each neighborhood appear as a small village space and Wenduine has a new identity.
Also turning development on sustainable way may be a chance maintain and change the atmosphere of suburbia. Re-scale the street with a green house or green shelter will make it different, more welcome. Boundaries can be not longer a boundaries to hide our privacy, but to produce nourishment for neighborhood use. That also could create a space of dialogue to exchange our goods.
Relationship for Future Town_Kazuya Uchida
My keyword is “relationship”. To sustain this city, its attractiveness, promoting young people as new residents are needed. It means not only promoting young but also making new relationship. Local residents will hate them without relationship because of different generation of culture.
I analyzed public-private relationship in our location. I recognized “outside parking” is the space where change their character public to private gradually. Their garages are not used for cars, they put something as shed. And I am convinced that character of these area have good connection to making relationship and also team strategy, transportation.
Architecture proposal by 3steps.
Introducing para-transit and making intervention garage and around there, new town will appear. I will improve this town by 3step proposal, pocket space, share garden, renovation works on garage.
In Share garden, they open part of garden where face to road for pedestrian. At the same time, some of the gardens expand to the road. With the pocket space and Share garden, road will change to carved one.
In pocket space, 2 housings next to each other share this space. They can use for parking, playground, garden, terrace, exhibition… Residents can visit this area freely and participate to activity in there.
Garage is closed tightly like other room now. I change the function of garage depend on residents. For example for active retired it will be used as office, for elderly sunroom and for new residents an atelier. There are advantages because usually garages do not have function for construction and if we open the garage to the town we can keep their privacy of housing area.
Architecture proposal appears as putting visible function to existing town. I propose in some scale but as same operation. Big scale is pocket space, middle scale is garage and small scale is window.
Space will be continuous one. Road is carved one, eyes go to these space naturally. And they have eye connection outside to housing. Because there is visible garage, may be it express residents’ characteristic and living most clearly.
Project is situated in suburban area of Wenduine, our area of interenst is southern part for the city situated beyond
road ring. It has two car roads and 3 paedestrian connections to the city centre. the reason why we choose the place is because
it is remotea without much communication with surrounding areas or city centre.
Totaly there are 101 houses on area approximately 300 x 300 meters.
Our microstrategy consists of adding volume to current structure based on diagram of use of the gardens.We found out that areas which are most
unused are situated between houses or the the edge of the site.
We develop 4 fifferent strategies how to work with houses.01-add volumes between houses. 02- add volumes in the gardens. 03 – connect more houses with volume.
04 – work with house itself – interior or extention.
The strategie was tested in different suburban areas – particulary Wenduine, De Haan and Brugges. Suprisingly even if the areas looks similar, spatial
dimentions of sites varies so that is the reason why it is necessary to choose most suitible system.
In the area all houses have approximately similar dimensions and it is very expensive to affors house because of huge pressure for coastal market.New volumes
would serve as family extension unit for related family member (student, senior) related family ( son or daughter with family), uncomplete related family
with single income, senior cohousing or shared volume.
As a comparism of our fou project we used street scape territories. It can be compared how our proposals influences spacial patterns.
Petra Holubová – Make it dense
Project is situated in suburban area of Wenduine – small town on the Belgian coast. It consists of
3 different strategies.
First intervention represents peadestrian shortcut which improves difficult connectivity between
area and town center. Shortcut was designed on the place of currently huge buildins site.
In the past this place was connected with the core of the city. By connection of all important routes path was
created. It devides big building site into two parts which guarantee that future project
will have suitible scale suitible for area. Towards main bussy road the shortcut is visually closed by 3 new trees and on
the other side it is opened to area.
Second intervetnion is common house serving as a community and gathering
center in the hearth of area. One of the problems of suburban area is that people do not have
possibility to meet in common indoor space. Common house is
a place where meetings, celebrations or sports events take place.
It can serve also as a lunch place for seniors from the area
who can meet with each other and socialize with young families with children
using playgroung nearby.
Final and most important proposal is changible housing structure inserted in current urban
fabric. Proposal helps to create more opportunities for affordible housing since prices of coastal
are astronomical.Volume has 3 main spatial dimentions. 1 level volume is for senior, student or other 1 person living alone.
Moreover it inserts new typology and spacially different units in the area where all houses have same spatial dimentions.
2level volume serves for couple, divorces mother with child etc. and 3 level house is for 4 member family.
Modular house is mainly dedicated to people whose family live in Wenduine and they wish to live in area but do not have enough
money to buy family house there so it is basicaly extension to family house with another flat unit.
Place which is mostly unused is inbetween the houses. People usually plant there
hedges or build walls to protect privacy and intimicy of inner gargens. The volume is situated in this unused area and at the same time
prevent direct view to intimite space of garden. Volume keep inner garden
area free because it is the place where all activities happen. Volume intervene neighbour property,for exchange a staight boarderbetween sites is
modified by land readjustment.
Kamila Vaníčková – Transification of Wenduine Suburbia
While looking at the countryside sprawl, we noticed some interesting things of this area in relation to city areas. In terms of accessibility, we could compare the countryside to the city; here roads are separating blocks of land, while in the city roads are separating blocks of housing facilities, in addition, use of countryside also changed during last century.
From being mainly place for farming, now it is also a place for business, leisure, art, living. A lot of different people are moving to countryside, although now its still mainly Belgians, future tendencies shows that there will be also different cultures and religions in countryside.
Although a lot of changes are happening, countryside is still being treated as it was a century ago. It means that to keep up with changes and better accommodate todays and future needs way of looking and working with countryside must be changed. Countryside is no more a place outside of the city, it is closely related to the city, dependent on the city, it is part of the city.
For absorbing different demands there must be diversity in the countryside. Mapping, taking things piece by piece, finding irregularities in existing pattern can help to strengthen this diversity.
We focused on four main elements and functions of countryside: villages, open landscape, tourism and life in farms and provided solutions and tools for countryside to accommodate todays and future needs.
Life in farms: Towards a rural productive life
The main problem of the suburbian life style is that it depends on a productive urban core to exist; its incapacity of self supply and its mere residential style creates, apart from a total dependency of the car, a strange feeling of non belonging to the inhabited place due to the lack of public life and productive processes.
The more is the sprawl, the serious is the problem, and it get worse when property values of the land and boundaries location are added; the land has an owner and it is not possible to be used by the dweller, definitively, the landscape is not experienciable but for the views.
So, how can we achieve a productive life in a sprawl system keeping it rural and avoiding the urbanization?
Three strategic lines are proposed to answer this question.
Tourism: Field museum
The countryside is no more just agricultural land. As a consequence of urbanization, the area is diverse with activities borrowed from cities.The tourism involvement takes many forms and can vary from from bed and breakfast
places to hotel and self-catering apartments. In the future, these new elements can cause a shrinking of agricultural activities. As this process is no longer reversible, and we are trying to introduce more diversification rather than retaining the processes, concept of a field museum can solve a problem of the countryside landscape losing its identity and at the same time admit the presence of urban, touristic life. So, looking at these countryside farms as museums by adding rural museum concept has dual sides: First, it acts as a formal representative of urban culture and second, it helps maintain and preserve the existing countryside life and offer more awareness to tourists as well as encourages local farmers to pursue the agricultural life, which is now in danger to be dominated by urban, city culture.
Starting from the increasing city lifestyle lived at the countryside the last decades, this strategy aims for an equal ‘urban diversity’ in the village patterns. Studying patterns of the 18th century in the area between Brugge, Blankenberge and Oostende (with Vlissegem as case study), quite free circulation possibilities around farmsteads can be noticed. Formerly, farms were gateways to places of activity, work, trade, family life,… The current village pattern is monofunctional: few functions except for housing can be found. Also, one’s house is always an end point, leading to nothing but alienated life.
After studying the past and the current, also the future has been taken into acount. Belgium has an increasing population in prospect. As assumed that further parcelling out of the landscape can not go on, population density is inevitable. But with this comes density of functions by multiple use of space instead of the current monofunctionality.
The former farmsteads are used as a basemodel. By suggesting a flow from the current houses to new areas of activity, the strategy tends to stimulate multifunctionality of space by functional diversity as well as encourage social interaction in future inhabitants’ lifes by proposing these interventions.
As there is strategy of diversity on very big scale, same applies to this open landscape area. Different actions in different parts are taken, always looking on specific qualities from different points of view. Some elements are just left for time, people and nature to do their job, some are rearranged, cleaned or removed. Spaces and places are connected or disconnected. Area is not monogamic, it is diverse, but in very delicate way.
Landscape as a building material is used for visually managing perspectives and helping to emphasize key elements of area.
Some classical paintings of landscape, avant-garde drawings and movies were used as reference to find the way for arranging elements in space. Compositions of rhythm, framing, balance, nuance, contrast, emphasizing, overlap were applied. Cars from unnecessary roads were removed, all fields now have connections in between, so area is united.
Eventually, this area becomes a place where natural elements are seen as a part of the villages and cities around. There is nothing unnecessary, everything has certain purpose. Just sometimes it if functional purpose, other times its spiritual, and sometimes it does not have any purpose on purpose. There is an extra dimension added to countryside – its no more only about farming and bicycle paths, but also about how people feel, what they can experience.
Looks like the people living in the city or just visiting it frequently (most of the tourist are habitual visitors, they know what they are coming for to Wenduine) very appreciate the small (walkable) scale and the idealistic calm atmosphere of the town. And even if all the respondents claims – the sea is the main treasure and attraction, they mention the greenery, nature and the polders as even more relaxing and valuable.
The paradox is that almost all the interviewed persons presented themselves as tolerant and open people, while picturing the Others as very conservative and closed. Naturally it raises me a question, what’s the reason for such a contradiction? Does that mean that habitants do not know each others? Or it just shows the described feature to stay very private “ in their own garden” ?
Considering the fact that without beach there is no informal public spaces in the city, I make the presumption that the lack of possible interaction spaces creates the social and mental distances between the neighbours. As it was mentioned by the citizens itself (Nicolas), flemish people needs time for changes. For mental ones as well as for the physical ones. I can see the clearly expressed need for the intermediate spaces between the personal-private and formal-public.
Belgian sea-coast is made up mainly of small scale recreational towns. Contrary to the local government’s efforts to keep those (e.g. de Haan) cities in the frame of the traditional description of the small cute town (I disagree – faceless places looses the charm), the cities are occupied by the elderly retired seniors, upper income and rich people (second residences), foreign and in-land tourists, traditional wealthier families. The idea of Wenduine as the suburban settlement does not meet the definition as well. It is not the outcome of the sprawl, Wenduine even generates some sprawl around itself. Looking back in time, around 1180 Wenduine first originated as the small settlement of poor but brave and fearless fishermen. “Met harpoen, zonder pardoen” – facing the sea, the feeding mother and the merciless nature.
This direction stayed per ages. Wenduine is “one-direction” city, facing the main value. Sea is the economic engine till now. There are 220 000 tourist coming per year (den Haan – Wenduine, city council data) and the prices of the real estate in the coastal area are one of the highest in the country. It makes the first line at the beach very expensive yet in high demand. The city’s urban fabric is arranged according to the sea line : from highly compact to wide spread on the other side. The concentration of activities and services as well as the intensity of consumers decreases towards polders.
Here comes the problem of infinity: there are no guidelines, so the city theoretically could extend limitless. Taking it more global, all the limitless scenario cities at the certain moment would merge thus eliminating the distinction between urban and non-urban. Loosing the variety and character is a huge damage leading to faceless homogeneous anthropogenic landscapes. How could it be avoided? The appreciated sea-front on one side and the other-attractive-front on the other side?
The second problem is the “ back seats” effect: the attraction of the North sea is so strong, that it even makes the last zones of the city to face the imaginary seacoast, leaving everything what is behind it irrelevant. In this case the green polders stays in the backstage. Is it the time to show up the potential that is under the curtain?
The third issue could be called the “framed picture”. The tendency to have a garden and to take are of it is easy to spot in Wenduine. People naturally prefer to live in the green environment, for this reason they tend to create it. Usually it is necessary, but in this particular situation there should be remarked the paradox of fencing against the greenery and creating the small compensations inside the property. It could be compared to the looking at the framed picture of the flower n the wall when outside there is the full garden of thousands of flowers. Why can’t the esthetical potential of the polders be more effective? It could visually become the part of the private yard, thereby extending the physical and the mental spaces.
- Design strategy reorients the “city theatre” : it suggests the new frontier on the polder side. This design solution brings the balance and the guidance for the city’s development.
- The Greencoast opposites the Seacoast withal shares similar qualities : aesthetical beauty (open view and far horizon, artistic inspiration..), psychological comfort ( natural element ), emotional stimulus ( changes depending on the weather, season- calm, vulnerable, relaxing or energizing), genetic propinquity ( close to the roots- agriculture, fishing..).
- Design includes the transitional element, softening the frontier and providing the space for the inductions (of natural goods). At the sea-side beach provides these spaces (public though informal) and at the polder-side it is “common gardens” (NOT parks, because these spaces are the transition between the private interior spaces and the polders).
- Polders could be compared to the sea by it’s qualities as well as by the use of it. Only the narrow band close to the coast could be for public use. There is no necessity to go deeper/further. (Land ownership, professional agriculture, protected ornithological zones).
“ Whether around cities or nations, borders today, though sometimes represented physically, are also inherently abstract.”
Trevor Sudano, 2012 (Venice Architecture Biennale 2012)
To understand the relation on the borders (the city edges) all the fronts were decomposed. Studying the sequence from the inside space to the polders (and the same from the inside to the sea for the comparison), in most of the cases there was found the unexpected territorial depth.
After the research all the territory was grouped by the similar characters of the fronts /borders /boundaries /lines between the two spaces on focus. For easier evaluation, the “lines” were classified into the groups by the origin:
The overlap of them gave the map of the strength of the frontiers to the polders.
the role elements.
-changing the pattern of the polder sites close to the city (the “bathing zone”);
-adding the common spaces;
-reorganizing the back yard tradition;
-providing the view direction from the level1 (windows) and inside organisation;
-encouraging the involvement in the creation of surroundings and the use of the land;
Before the conclusion, it is important to remember that to implement any changes or solutions to the exiting community takes time. Therefore time plays an extremely important role in the design process from the very beginning. It is all about improving the existing conditions and solving any possible problems in the future. It must be taken into account that the number of “what if” scenarios might be infinite, nevertheless the observations, data analysis and researches of ongoing tendencies could help to simulate the plausible trends, which the design created on the paper today will face after it’s implementation in the future.
The question what the sub-urban landscape will look like after 50 or 100 years will be answered after the 50 or 100 years. But the cause of it is being designed today. The future environment is created now. The GreenCoast project distinguishes the countryside sprawl from the coastal urbanization, even though it shares some similar features. In Belgium, small scale highly urbanized attractive towns along the coastline must be protected from merging the disperse suburbanization. It could be done by defining the new opposite located attraction, that provides desired qualities: nature and massiveness. This turning back suggests the future strategy and the attitude towards the devaluated potentials. The population is constantly growing – the open inbuilt natural (not even wild) landscapes will become luxury in these highly populated areas. It is in human’s nature – the view of the far horizon.
In order to come up with an individual interpretation of the experiments that we conducted so far, we defined a brief, some rules of the game to cristallise a guideline leading our architectural proposals.
After the break, find two of the four proposals of our team.
DESIGN PROPOSAL 1 – By Antonios AMSPACH
The first proposal starts with a negotiation between the individual and the collective space. The divisions between them give clear site to work with. The challenge starts when the suburban facade, which used to hide behind hedges and fences in order to satisfy the user’s need for security, is revealed. This architectural proposal is focused on negotiating the face to face space between the individual and the collective user. Introducing alternative territorial depths as an alternative ways of using the suburban home. Strategies of social surveillance are suggested taking the issue of social and territorial control into account. The individual can satisfy his/her need for security. The proposal treats materiality as a subtle sequential gap trying to create patterns in order to distinguish the proper distance for privacy. Finally, emergent material patterns provide the possibility for desired overlapped scenarios ( people talking on the streets of suburbia, children playing in front of the houses and not only back to the private gardens) which can give life to the suburban community.
Learning from suburbia, learning from boundaries, facing the users, understanding their needs are some of the pieces which completed the puzzle of this project. Negotiating with the users in terms of individual and collective space, privacy and materiality to reform, upgrade the experience of living in suburbia. The upper aim of this project is the lost “Hello” which is missing from today’s suburb. People bringing the city’s urban culture, conflicting with the suburban one appears to rule upon the latter. Just by saying hello will reopen opportunities for social interaction and will give back to the suburb the gift of the “welcome”.
DESIGN PROPOSAL 2 – By Sarah POOT
The second design assumes that the current inhabitants of Wenduine will need specific arrangement in terms of daily accessibility. The proposal takes advantage of the tremendous amount of space availlable (15% only of
the garden area is actually used) to redistribute the existing functions on the groundfloor and hence to, increase elderly’s autonomy.
The proposal invests the existing upper floors to relodge new family patterns (single parent family, over educated young couples seeking a first job in their late twenties, …) with lower income.
The design takes into account the fact that suburbanites use to turn their outdoor space into sequential gaps, tend to use extra-space as a buffer between their individual sphere and the outsiders. However the strategy proposes to assert this behaviour and consider sequential gaps as possible benefit, it will reconfigure the sequences of spaces in order to provoke overlapping situations. The existing living spaces are relocated in such a way that they amplify a deconstructed space thanks to bufferings alternatively playing the part of sequential gap or overlap scenario given the seasonal behaviours.
With an eye to use architecture and design as agents for social change, the proposal will try to encourage new social relationship, practices and uses of the residential space trough the materiality of reconfigured boundaries. Today’s urban fabric in the residential area of Wenduine is roughly composed of an average detached house turning back to each other and endlessly repeated. Our various interviews revealed that the inhabitants of the residendential area of wenduine claim for privacy, solitude, exposure and security.
Reinvestment of the parcels generates a tangle of alternating full and empty, of accessible zones as well as unacessible. At the crossing of three parcels or more, the courtyards offer a potential for increased use that will allow the community to interact over the course of daily activities. The shelves integrated in the walls structure may host among other things storage for gardeners, bicycles racks, vertical gardens, informal seating, rabbit breeding or other little pleasures of spare time able to generate attractiveness for meeting and exchange.
The wooden light-frame building is based on a tri-dimensional grid of 65 centimeters, which integrates all the technical and structural elements. The modularity of the grid considers the eventuality of future additions and guarantees both low cost and rapidity of construction trough prefabricated elements. The unusual thickness of these walls can also integrate a system of storage, visible or invisible, and can be accessed from one side or the other, sometimes from both.
Short spans between those walls allow a effective provision of portal system, occasionally freeing some walls of structural frame. The design features large glass openings, bluring boundaries between indoor and outdoor space while maintaining visual contact that amplifies the perceived space. Horizontal filters combined to vertical openings generates overlapping sequences of space and light, and protect the inhabitants of different levels from unwanted visual contact.
Flat roofs that overhang thoses portals are vegetalised to provide to the upper level residents non accessible extensive ornemental gardens while ensuring an excellent thermic and accoustic comfort to the inhabitants of the lower levell. Pitched roofs are uncovered to offer accessible courtyards to the upper level unit. The remaining existing structure of the roof allow the passage of light while providing privacy to its users. In general, the doors are replaced by screens and windows with frames that go beyond the mere utility range. A large rotating doorshelf for instance, plays with perspective to increase the readability of reunited spaces, while a window facing its alter ego blur the boundaries from one space to another.
Over provoking social interaction and a solution toward sustainable development in those times of growing population, the main effect of the project would be to expand in space one’s sence of belonging while reinforcing his « privacy zone ».
People tend to appropriate themselves the space they are evolving in. For instance, the path one is used to walk trough to go his work place, the shop where he does his weekly grocery shopping, the bakery he goes to in order to bring back croissants to his wife on sunday mornings are refered as « my street », « my neighbourhood », « my living environment ».
At first, colloquial use of the multiplicity of paths and potential destination spaces proposed by the design strategy will complexify and extend the scope of their belonging sense to the next street, the next neighbourhood. On the other hand, the materiality of the architectural design will guarantee high intimacy in proximity (trough the multiplication of human-scaled rooms, enclaved courtyards, and alcoves in the walls among others) and high privacy levels (ensured by a specific configuration of space and a set of screens controlling the visual relations).
“Whenever elements of the built environment are sharply divided (physically, visually or mentally), complex relationships among spaces, activities and people on the scale of the community cannot occur”
Continuing our exploration from the last stage, we have started mapping the following parameters : accessibility and inhabitants, (more precisely, the emergent patterns in the configuration of space, e.g., building buffers between public and private space) confronting conventional spaces, uses and materiality.
Interesting, is the need for residents in the Community to “mark their own territory”. Moreover, they suggest that physical territorial boundaries are there not only to avoid any physical and visual contact, but also to maintain ‘distance’ from the space abutting their neighbours’. As a result, defensive space is formed, privacy levels get higher, and social relationships (if any) are weak is at all.
From these readings of the above-mentioned patterns, emerged several micro-strategies we believe deserved to be tested.
This strategy challenges the existing relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces. As a matter of fact, people in Wenduine experience a strong delineation between those two postures, especially during winter. The strategy proposes to advance the very walls of the house further in the garden in order to expand the actual space used. The explosion of this strong and readable shell of the house in several places (of visual and physical boundaries) allows new practices and reduces wasteful consumption of space.
This strategy proposes to take the physical notion of the boundary to the extreme by expanding the thickness of the boundary itself. The aesthetic character of plantation is hijacked as a defense system to fill the entire plot. A niche is carved into this floral fortress, preserving a small pocket in which the house take refuge.
This strategy involves reconfiguring existing boundaries around and between individual lots. This notion is birthed from the idea that boundaries (physical and otherwise) are perceived differently and have different effects on those who engage with them. For example, a thick hedge might be perceived differently from a series of flower bushes. Also, rearranging the typographical layout of these different boundaries and testing the results, was an objective of this strategy. With this, we are seeking explore the notion of claims and ownerships of space; how people occupy and claim ownership of (physically) unoccupied space. The overlaps that result in multiple peoples implicitly and explicitly claiming ownership of spaces (private through public) is of particular interest and informs the micro urban strategies later developed. Zones/areas of inclusion and exclusion can be established, reinforced, diminished and even made to meld through manipulation of said ‘boundaries’; this is the core of these studies/tests.
The test challenges the notion of the external-barriers. This micro-strategy suggests a community free of barriers. The public-private diagram shows the radical changes between the high public and the high private. The complex notion of “entering” is eliminated and substituted by a simpler one which actually brings questions about the privacy levels of the home itself to the fore. The aim is to test the privacy levels of the house itself. Our exploration assumes that the more complex the territorial depths inside the house the more defensible it becomes the more the balance between the public and the private privacy levels. Can people feel more secure inside their own homes, instead of relying on their semi-private and semi-public space to protect them?
This strategy deals with the life of the street, and the life of the private space of peoples’ properties. We observed that in our chosen area there often the phenomenon of “defensive space” around peoples properties, and facing the street. We also wanted to address the fact that one feels uncomfortable walking on this semi-private area (“other peoples”-street) if one does not have business there. Here, we have tested a strategy of merging the often broad defensive space into one “compressed” single barrier. By applying this strategy the life on the street and the life of the private space become two distinct worlds; with no visual or physical interaction.
These strategies were submitted to locals’ opinion during our last trip in Wenduine. Although some of them were perfectly understood and accepted, we realised that we emphasized the concept of privacy vs exposure at the expense of the notion of security which should also be part of the equation. We defined four concepts to focus on in order to develop our architectural proposal : privacy, exposure, solitude and security.
PUBLIC SPACE and NATURE AS A DESIGN TOOL
While looking at the countryside sprawl, we noticed some interesting things of this area in relation to city areas. In terms of accessibility, we could compare the countryside to the city; here roads are separating blocks of land, while in the city roads are separating blocks of housing facilities. But both types of blocks are private property and therefore not accessible.
From ‘after-sprawl’ of Xaveer de Geyter:
“Right now nature is just the space in between the built spaces, the space left over, to which most architects and urban planners don’t pay many attention. Until now there has only been regarded to the sprawl as what has been built; not to the un-built.“
We thought about typologies of nature elements which you can find in the Flemish countryside, and created some natural building components. Using nature as a design tool!
Some interventions exposed in the book are dealing with the physical collective experience of the landscape; some spaces are public, so physically accessible, others are just visual involving people.
Although the countryside seems to be open space, and therefore more accessible and penetrable than the city landscape, it is not. Because of private property of the land at the countryside, the landscape can only be experienced from the public roads and spots. Though it opens lots of new views on the surrounding landscape if you could leave the public roads and enter private property.
So we pose the question; what if the we would provide the same quantity of public space in the countryside as in the city?
ANALYSIS OF DAILY PERSONAL SEQUENCES AND PATTERNS
In former times, life at the countryside was way more locally oriented than nowadays. Everything was provided at the farm and there was no possibility of going far away because there was the farm to take care of. Thanks to increasing mobility nowadays, people can live a kind of city life at the countryside: they have a wide range of choices and can compose their own personal city out of the fragmented field of sprawl.
We made a selection of some personal daily patterns and sequences of countryside inhabitants to show their ‘territory’, the connectivity of the area, and how accessibility is influencing daily life. These two should be regarded as separate things; same as in the city the shortest way is not always the most easy, fast or preferable one. When there is a line between two points, those points are connected. But when they are related by having a certain importance for each other, they become accessible for one another.
And that is what our strategy is about: creating relations. Referring to our previous work and the thought about whether people feel more connected when there is a bigger distance between them, this is a thought we cannot confirm with certainty. But we can create inter-relations that are not just connecting, but making what they connect dependent from each other and useful for each other.
From ‘Integral Urbanism’ of Nan Ellin:
“Our current task is mending the seams in our disciplines, professions, and urban fabrics that have been torn as under. Rather than presume an opposition between people and nature, buildings and landscape, and architecture and landscape architecture, Integral Urbanism regards these as complementary or contiguous. Rather than generate perfect objects or separate programs and functions, Integral Urbanism aims to build relationships. The emphasis thus shifts from centers to the border, boundary, edge, periphery, margin, interstices, and in between. It also shifts from objects to relationships”
the movies of first Skype session between Paraguay and Belgium can be found with these links:
Thanks to all of you.
The presentation reflects the first site visiting tour, it summarizes the first impressions and the information gathered from several sources, including the presentation given by the Council Member Mr. Wilfried Vandaele.
The main purpose of this week was to create the clear overview for ourselves of the situation in both scales: the all country and the project area.
The chosen topics are the following:
- brainstorm session – The suburbia (“stereotype” and “out of the box”)
- natural background
- historical development
- outcome – the existing situation
- artificial topography
- social and economical situation in Belgium and the comparison
- urbanization and public areas
- existing situation and the balance to seek
- seasonality (the impact on the commerce, mobility and the population)
- the on-site social research:
- interview 1 – the restaurant owner
- interview 2 – the old couple with the dog
As the focus points we found the problem of aging population and the housing question very interesting and challenging. The next step in the project will be the search of the scenarios and their effect on the built environment.
Dear students, dear colleagues,
thanks to all for the interesting skype session last Thursday! We’ll try to post a short video (highlights!) about this session.
Here are some pics already! (featuring Rasa, Amila, Antonis, William, Alberto, Kaat, Petra and Fernando for Belgium)
We are Group 7 – Natacha Igrosanac – France, Olga Majda – Poland, Fernando Polo – Spain and Kazuya Uchida – Japan.
Our project area is in Wenduine – De Haan. It is a small village/town in the coast of Belgium. It faces several problems like ageing society, increasing land prices, a large share of second residences. Number of people living there estimate around 4.000 inhabitants. During summer season it changes into the holiday resort with the number of people residing there almost 3 times bigger.
After our first visit in the site we created set of maps with our first impressions and assumption of the area.
As we could check yesterday, there are some people from paraguay that does not speak english, we will also post a spanish translation of the post so everybody can understand.
Nuestra area de intervencion se centra en Wenduine-De Haan. Es un pueblo pequenho en la costa de Belgica. A nuestra llegada nos percibimos varios problemas como la elevada edad de la población, un alto precio del terreno, y la inutilizaron de muchas casas durante el invierno, ya que suelen ser usadas como segunda residencia. La población aproximada es de 4000 personas, aunque durante el verano se convierte en una ciudad de vacaciones por lo que su población llega a triplicarse. Tras nuestra visita, creamos algunos mapas con nuestras primeras impresiones.
Following the idea of sharing as a tool to create and/or improve human relations we take the extreme measure of removing property over private land. That way we gain several assets:
- Creating better interconnected, human-scale communication system;
- Removing boundaries in a closed society, opening people’s yards to each other: opening people to each other;
- Reducing oil consumption, CO2 emissions. Increasing people’s movement (fighting obesity and proclaiming better way of living).
However taking that measure, we introduce different issues that have to be dealt with.
The complete lack of privacy is not healthy for a society, therefore we provide the option of building rooftop gardens, where one can be by himself, separated from the public space beneath him.
Transforming the space around one’s house reflects on the way one use the house. Now all facades are equally exposed and equally accessible. That brings changes into the house plan and the way organization of the home is made.
Restricting car access also leaves us with a number of empty garages. However that space can be used for different purposes and help the local urban environment and society’s needs. Former garages may be used as:
- Additional housing;
- Providing better services;
- Opening spaces and creating connections between them in denser urban spaces.
On the other hand, restricting car access to neighborhoods in the city leaves us with the issues of interurban communication. For that reason, we preserve the two main roads in the city and the public transport infrastructure. Communication servicing can be expanded to creating parking lots at key spots and car service next to them. Dealing with the issue disabled people and elderly people would have in an entirely pedestrian city, brings us to the conclusion that besides bikes, segways and electric cars can be introduced for common use and transportation within the neighborhood.
PS: I could figure out a way to make the picture active and make it possible to view it full size, so I’m attaching that link for access to the original size CLICK
As a lot of other cities, Wenduine has developed like a line city. At the coastline apartment buildings of nine levels have risen. They all want the same view. Neighbours don’t matter, as long as they’re close to the sea.
In cities like Wenduine there aren’t much dynamics because of that and the fact that the inhabitants like to maintain their privacy.
Our first WWHI-experiment was increasing the numbers of residences, where would the people want to live then? We think people would want to live close to the sea, even without seeing the sea and second in the city centre close to the facilities. Developing a new dike towards the polders would create a new line of high-rise buildings at that side. How can we create a new space of interest where a lot of people want to live and visit.
In the experiments we took notice to the common space or a common view. In the line city at the seaside everyone wants to be close to the sea, but only a small part of population can, so why not make the view common? When density in the city centre would rise, inhabitants have two choices: remain their privacy to the prejudice of common facilities or make more common accommodations.
When the aim is creating more dynamics, the second option is more interesting and also has a private benefit. (When the homes are adapted to more common facilities, they have more room for the remaining functions.)
In Wenduine we can distinguish several layers: the common stream, the inner life and the town circulation. Also in the typology of buildings we found three kinds: high-rise apartments at the seaside, lower apartments towards the centre and single housing in the extension of the city (sprawl). The inside of the different typologies interact in a diverse way with the outside. On the level of people we can distinguish 3 layers: tourists, inhabitants and owners. The places of interest and dynamics are the places where 3 layers overlap. Those places are the dike, the shopping street, the marketplace and the tennis court.
That leads to the second WWHI-experiment. What would happen if Wenduine was layered for everyone’s needs? What would be the needs of the tourists, inhabitants and the owners; where would they want to live and in what kind of building typology? Would people like a mix of layers of would the want to be separated?
In the wintertime Wenduine looks a bit deserted. In order to create liveliness in the winter we thought about a seasonal traveling population. Besides an ageing population, Wenduine has 60 % of second residences. The second residences are mostly occupied in the summer and abandoned in the winter. What would happen if we gave people the opportunity to move in in the wintertime? Which kind of people would benefit from that measure? The rent price in the wintertime would drop, because of a lower demand, which would mean that younger people could afford to rent. The residences would have to be adaptable to the different inhabitants.
In the last experiment we wanted to make the polders and the sea easily accessible. That lead to the what would happen if people could walk to the sea or the polders without having to cross the street? In that way a bigger connection is made between the sea and the polders. The people at the seaside already have a intense relation with the sea, but they turn their backs on the polders. We want to change that by making also that area more reachable.
During our first visit to the site we ran into Belgian suburbia for a first time. Here we describe our first impressions, collected data (such as interviews with locals, spirit of the town, urban and land scape, communication within the town etc). We’ve made perfunctory conclusions of how Wenduine in particular might continue its development. We’ve also included our initial ideas of how suburbia might change in the future, whether utopian or not.
After next weeks’ presentation (on Tuesday November 6th, our Belgian 8 student teams will present their Micro Urban Strategies for the Wenduine region, see future posts), we will try to have a real eye-to-eye contact in between some students of different ADU_2020 partners: we will skype with our colleagues in Paraguay about some common themes in the different projects.
We will ask 8 students of the Belgian and 8 students of the Paraguayan PPP studio (each time 2 students for 4 questions/themes) to prepare in advance a short “statement”, based on the themes below, to warm up the planned conversation, to trigger an eye-to-eye discussion about Urban Growth and Sprawl and related topics.
Planned: Thursday November 8th, 17h (Brussels time).
The mentioned themes are:
1. Sprawl and low density: most people seem to prefer to live in low dense neighborhoods: can we afford to focus exclusively on compact or smart growth or intensify existing sprawl areas, against their will? (team 1 and 2)
2. Urban growth: should growth scenarios build on existing infrastructures or should they focus on creating new ones? is transit oriented development the only solution? Growth scenarios still depend on the use of cars, can we afford to propose scenarios that neglect this reality? (team 3 and 4)
3. Proximity: people seem to hold on to the “law of maximum distance possible”. Does this mean we have to obey this, when proposing urban development or its constituent architecture? (team 5 and 6)
4. Can or do politics always define the scope of “feasibility” of urban projects? How much can a specific or local culture be an insurmountabe problem for ADU? (team 7 and 8)
To be continued!
We would like to point out several questions which were raised during our group discussions.
Our exploration on Wenduine is done by looking at area in different scales. Firstly, big Wenduine – Brugge scale, secondly, Wenduine – De Haan and farmland scale, and lastly, local Wenduine scale. By doing this we can identify different connections and relations for Wenduine and understand different processes better.
One of the suggestions was to improve connectivity between Brugge and Wenduine. What if Brugge is a main entertainment place for Wenduine? They can complement each other. Things which are not in one town can be found in another and benefit from it. It can help Wenduine get unstressed in the summertime from tourist activities, keeping the identity, avoid unnecessary activities.
Conversely, what if Wenduine becomes main gateway to the sea for Brugge? Wendune could be the main beach for Brugge. Organizing public festivals during a year would attract people of different age and class from Brugge and other towns and let them interact with each other.
“If you domesticate me, we would need each other.
You would be unique for me and
I will be unique for you in the world.”
This quote can be a metaphor for our concept. What if we apprivoisons (domesticate) sprawl? What if every house has its own personal field? This would lead to the idea of interconnectivity of the sprawl environment. Maybe social relationships are better when the distance is bigger…
On the other hand we were thinking of new conceptions inside the town of Wendine: What if we create a virtual database which connects all houses in one system?
By introducing cheaper housing in the center, we will get mixed areas which will attract young people, because it is attractive to live near the sea.
What will happen if we connect every house in the town with an internet connection, a virtual space, where you can speak with people, check events, do the virtual shopping or work from home? We would adapt houses with a wall virtual screen and in this way we would solve a mobility problem and try to activate social life preserving property values.
What will happen if we restrict the traffic to main roads? We could bring the countryside into the townscape.
What if we locate camping along the beach? Introduce new camps affordable for young people, which could combine public and private facilities.
Above we were suggesting several scenarios, some of which might contribute to each other and some might be excluded on the basis of further research. At the moment we would like to concentrate on sprawl and the countryside issues and examine the possibilities of farmlands.
For the topic of our “WHAT IF” consideration we have chosen “what if people will have to move to their second residence livinig?”. This will increase the amount of people after 65 significantly. If we take into account that the current pension system is inevitably going to fall, we have to deal with the situation of a city full of pensioners with need for a new money source. Our proposals aim for issues related to that. The city will be divided in three zones, defined by the age of inhabitants: a.) the suburbs with families and pensioners who are still able to to care of their garden, b.) the inner city for people who don’t need or cannot afford bigger apartments, c.) the seaside for people to spend their last days watching the see.
We want to provide dividing apartments into smaller, cheaper ones, rent out by pensioners to young people, that will solve the economical problem of both of those groups.
Celia Garcia Albertos (Spain), Amila Bojic (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Piotr Lange (Poland) and Tomas Hanak (Czech Republic)
Wenduine is a suburban area at the Flemish Coast. It is very popular touristic place also called “Princess of bathing resorts”.
Continuing our exploration from the last stage, we have started to define some of the parameters which constitute the notion of suburban space in Wenduine. We then conducted a series of ‘what if’ experiments and changed/challenged the validity and impact of said parameters.
The experiments are as follow: Foot Prints, Formal Car Space, Boundaries, and Space Programming. In each theme, two or more ‘what if scenarios’ are stipulated; each polarizing the other as antitheses and the results evaluated.
Foot Prints: People in Wenduine live in bigger houses than they actually need!
What if …
The 50% of each house’s footprint was provided for public use.
Trying to picturesque the city, the scenario challenges the privacy levels of residential areas of Wenduine. We move from a single to a double use of the built space; which encourages introverted and extroverted space. Public is welcome to use the 50% ground floor of every house to satisfy the public needs. Various activities take place like medicine facilities, public transportation, sports facilities, etc. The scenario clearly challenges the fact ‘lifestyle’ which is currently constituted by poor human relationships. After many interviews people are found to live alone with their families and they seem to like it. Contradicting “Suburbia’s nature” the scenario as a cultural impact shows a radical change between people’s relationships as it provides reasons to enable human interaction. In a macroscopic analysis the flow of activity is rising, people limit the use of their cars since there is no need to move to the close cities in order to satisfy their needs.
What if ..
Every house’s footprint was doubled +100% and sectional volume was halved -50%
The alternative scenario is based on a test which does not touch any human interaction levels but is focused on what the “eye” perceives. The “lost” historical skyline is attached to the picture, history’s value seems stronger. The notion of walking in the city acquires a “visual grid” which aims on high orientation levels. This notion creates questions about social gatherings, about a centre, or not. Next steps are created for our team to get deeper to that notion of the (-non)centre.
Formal Car Space: The basis was that there was a large amount of space allocated for parking cars.
What if …
We increased the density of parked cars/space allocated to park cars?
In the first, the implications of this were that, perhaps by centralizing such spaces, sprawl could be reduced, and the city made more compact; thus allowing better pedestrian flow. This question of mobility of the elderly is a recurring theme in this studio’s discussions.
The programme for these spaces was altered to suit other purposes?
Secondly, by swapping the function of these spaces, we could accommodate a greater variety in the suburbs. The houses could host flea markets or small music shows and gatherings in a scale suited for intimacy. This was an extension of an earlier idea to de-centralise the city centre. The implications of this could be that there is no centre; instead, clusters or nodes of programmes and activity throughout the city. Conversely, this could promote an increase in sprawl.
Boundaries: People in Wenduine deal with the issue of privacy by raising fences and borders
Every private, internal boundary was removed?
Every public, external boundary was removed?
Every private, internal boundary was made into a pathway?
The question of boundaries and delineating space has deep significance on how people define their territory, defend it, and claim ownership of space. Based on these experiments, our consensus is that elimination of boundaries altogether is impractical and not a sound solution. The need to define and establish boundaries is innate and is present not just in the European cultural context. This led to a train of thought where the notion of thresholds or series of thresholds could be utilized to claim ownership of given space, as opposed to explicit lines of delineation. We stipulate that this could make for more permeable and malleable space, perhaps improving social interaction.
Spaces Programming: In Wenduine, there is a marked delineation between built and natural space
Every household is obliged to produce 50% of its own food?
Every household is obliged to provide 50% of their land for communal park space?
In this scenario, we once again looked at the notions of boundaries and programme. In the first, we looked at how suburbia might change if people with land had to grow some of the food they consume. If each household produced a certain crop, there will be opportunity for exchange and by extension, communal interaction and a sense of solidarity. It may even allow a percentage of current agricultural land to be freed for other purposes. Conversely, if 50% of land is given for communal/recreational parks, it could change the dynamics of the (vehicular) street at the zenith of the hierarchical order; pedestrians could claim that spot.
This once again brings forth the themes of boundaries, exclusion, and mobility, among others.
Based on this, our thoughts were ‘mapped’ to gauge our overall opinion of the site.
Please, feel free to react on this post! Every input is more than welcome!
The media, particularly, North American television, has depicted suburbia as an idyllic place where happy 2-parents family raise children and dogs surrounded by tidy gardens and white picket fences.
Our group has re-assessed this notion with our own, individual geographic/cultural backgrounds as filters with the intention of contrasting/comparing them; hence, widening the scope of our research to look at the notion of suburbia across myriad contexts.
Our first impressions of Wenduine were mainly contradictory with the media portrayed idea of suburbia we mentioned earlier; we met blind façades, empty public spaces and gardens and elderly single people. Immediately, it was an immediate comment on context
According to a European study (LaCoAst), the Belgian coastline is globally not more urbanized than the rest of Europe. These areas, however, are concentrated in the first 3 km near by the water. In the case of Wenduine, the city is effectively built along two main infrastructures: the historical axis leading to the church, and the main road which carries the coastline tramway, subsequently, sprawling inland.
The area is divided in strips, delineated by physical and/or visual barriers which create enclosed “islands” and prevent connections between neighbourhoods. A cursory look reveals road infrastructure (highways, dead ends, restricted circulation), Tall buildings (eight or more stories), bars on the shoreline, etc.
Travelling through different scales, it seems obvious that this boundary pattern is among the main characteristics of Wenduine. Formal car space is omnipresent, leaving little room for soft mobility. People seem to deal with privacy by raising fences all around their properties. The general arrangement encourages high privacy levels as there is an intentional visual disconnectionbetween facing facades.
One of the main challenges in Wenduine could be the duality of its annual activity; where the city is besieged by thousands of tourists in summer, and practically deserted during the rest of the year, save for the permanent population of elderly/retired people, who are quite content with the peace and calm.
Please, feel free to react on this post! Every input is more than welcome!
UGSteam8_be second presentation_what if …
Groundwork of our second presentation was to setting up a selection of questions, so called micro-scenarios – what would be happen if…? It was sort of compilation of task by ourselves. From those (about 10 different scenarios) we picked out a quite extreme one: „what would be happen, if Wenduine becomes isolated?“ Based on four main categories – housing, garden, transportation and characteristics of the area – we proposed several solutions and ideas. Altough many of those ideas were dealing with sharing aspects and enhanced interaction between neighbors, the most intriguing was the idea of connecting two or more existing households into one whole (sort of co-housing). That means, we link them with a structure that they are going to share. This kind of solution creates a new level of communication between neighbors. It’s not easy to change the status of traditional home model. People like privacy and they are not always up to change the status quo. But thinking about possible changes in the future – economical, social and class segregation aspects – that kind of transformation of classical home might be one possible way to keep suburban environment alive and sustainable.
Free lands are precisely filled up with a pattern of suburban housing with gardens, factories style farms and other low density elements. By clear form of organization IDENTITY has been lost. It is possible to reconsider this situation of land use, density and refilling the texture. Is it possible to soak up the program as a sponge, mix it in order to save our pastoral landscape before being totally suburbanized? Can we imagine that environment that we know could be broken down and reconsider again? How could it look like? Doing it we feel claustrophobic and all the actions that we take as take care about our gardens or fence our plots is it not a social pression and rules that we are not able to change? So what if the whole area would soak up the program of camping into it? How can we do that? Let’s imagine possibilities and impossibilities of these extremes to discover prospects and limitations. To create a porous city which could absorb camping facilities inside it, we have to define a space where this process could take place. Manage a comfort for permanent habitants and temporary ones in order to mix these two groups together. Level of intimacy is changing according to location of the house, vegetation or pathway on the plot. By a simple method of imposing a grid on the plan we can easly define it. A scale is based on 5 level steps of intimacy. We can assume that from 4 to 5 is possible to apply the new facilities. Each area /camping & residential/ works in a completely different way. Boundaries such as physical and psychical take different meaning and as well expectations are not the same, time of land use and tolerance of people for activities. Also interaction between people are different than on camping sites because here inhabitants have to SHARE facilities such as showers, toilets, garbage disposals or bonfire places. It means they have to communicate and boundaries are not boundaries similar to the residential area. This quality we could impose. To check how to do that to make it comfortable we examined various of possibilities how the tent, car or caravan could be placed, new extension of the house, by new natural boundaries/ or even how people could share their houses. This is a micro-strategy for each neighbourhood to create small,village like-, places and distribute centres into the city. Then we could think about bigger scale interventions as changing the whole city into a walkable area with imposing green areas /green fingers strategy/. This could be a new fashion: ECO-TOURISM, where we could integrate temporary inhabitants with permanent inhabitants and where both have benefits. THE END
we would like to salute you all and tell you that we are really excited to see the interaction that this blog will provide.
First off, we would like to present our team; team 3, consisting of Jagoda Krawczyk (Poland) Vit Forman (Czech-Republic) An-Sofie De Backer (Belgium) and William Riche (Belgium).
This first presentation consists of an initial analysis of the site in Wenduine. Our findings include the following:
- There is a large aged population
- In summer the place is filled with tourists, in contrast to winter, when the place is practically deserted.
- Most of the people who live there like to live there because it’s so nice and quiet.
- We started looking at some coastal areas around Europe and try to define the differences and similarities.
Our job is to re-think this area. So how can we change the way things are and still keep the inhabitants happy. Whatever we do or implement it should be in good relationshipwith the locals and it should benefit their lifestyle. Close to Wenduine there is a camping site. This could maybe be an inspiration for the following steps.
Our team consists of four persons: Lobke from Belgium, Kamila and Petra from Czech and Andres from Estonia. The aim of our first presentaton is to reflect our initial impressions about the site. Wenduine is one of Belgium holiday resorts, quite a small and peaceful city next to Belgian coust. Our first impressions were positive, probably influenced by nice weather, kind local people and sort of enthusiasm. After a day-long tour on bikes from Haan to Wenduine we had about a week to gather all that information we got from the site or found from different kind of sources – from observations, from interviews with local residents, from internet or library etc.
As our project is focused on suburbia, we chose a small area in the sothern part of the Wenduine – a calm suburbian district with unpretentious residential buildings. Poorly accessable and privacy oriented area is beloved by it’s residents, yet as many suburbs it lacks far-reaching perpective. A lot of questions arise if considering different aspects of the area. The average age of the population, which is quite high. How they going to be maintain their residences in 10-20 years? What will happened with these nice houses over years?Although it’s close to the city center, people still use cars if they are going out of home. Is it kind of habit or can it be different? Does the area have sufficient social life and common sustainability? Following these questions we are going to take next steps in our project.
Last week, the whole group of students and teachers traveled to the Belgian coast and visited the De Haan-Wenduine site. First, we were received by Council Member Mr. Wilfried Vandaele who introduced the students in current issues of urban planning. Later, the students received some additional input about observing techniques and sociological data about the region.
After that, we rented bikes for all and went on a tour! This way, we could explore the site and the present challenges and potentials. The students were aked to prepare a presentation about their first mappings and observations for the next week.
In the past few decades, many local and global transformations have taken place: increasing specialization and segregation of urban space, together with new models of productivity and related mobility, define the way cities change in a physical, social, or cultural way. The transformation of traditional production chains into post-Fordist economies, the increasing importance of the service and leisure industry, and demand for fast consumption, together with an extreme reliance on Internet and related technologies, has changed the way space is produced and inhabited. Exponential growth of the non-traditional, informal city (e.g. Mumbai, Mexico City, El Cairo, and Dar Es Salaam), next to the shrinking and neoliberal re-branding of more traditional cities (e.g. the Hafencity Hamburg project, the Beijing Olympic transformation), defines new models of space production. Jean Beaudrillard suggests that in contemporary society, the representation of reality often substitutes reality, a philosophy that helps to frame many of these recent changes when dealing with space. Similarly, Françoise Choay confirms the radical change of scale that occurs at an increasing speed, providing architects and planners an additional reason to update their reading and intervention techniques.
One of those recent changes in architecture and urban design discourses is defined by the increasing demand to plan, design and inhabit low dense landscapes: suburbia is a reality and seems to be daily increasingly consolidated by planners, politicians and inhabitants all over the world.
Though the concept of the ‘compact city’ is now largely acclaimed by architects, urban and spatial planners as a desirable strategy, a suburban lifestyle in a low dense environment is still regarded as ideal by most citizens. The (questionable) proximity to nature, the desire to build a successful life in a single-family house, the higher social status of “not having to share” in low dense neighborhoods has lead towards an increasing growth of suburban formulas as a global phenomena. The fact is that suburbia is there, has become a dominant lifestyle and makes up the main asset of a vast part of the population to whom planners’ preoccupations with compactness have little appeal.
However, this suburban reality is facing some severe problems at different scales: from growing mobility problems, a fragmented natural environment, an ageing population and related social isolation, lack of basic facilities (education, health care, leisure…), till increasing CO2 emissions.
This design studio will focus on rethinking low dense landscapes and try to come up with new reading and intervention techniques, as well as to look for alternatives to foster social cohesion within, to increase coherence with the (still available) natural resources, to reduce mobility problems and propose architectural interventions, based on critical collective strategies to share and divide properties in a sustainable way.
During one semester, this (integrated) design studio – part of the International Master of Science in Architecture and set up as a (parallel) pilot project of the ALFA III, ADU_2020 program – will focus on a specific suburban area at the Flemish Coast:
De Haan-Wenduine-Vlissegem (see map below).
welcome to the design Studio and to the ALFA III ADU2020 Project.
We invite you to know more about the ADU project on the official website, pressing on the Logo, and to take a look on the Brief, Calendar and Tasks. The File button will be our tool to share internal studio information. The Add New Post button will be our tool to upload tasks and works in different stages. (see calendar).
Wishing the best for all, let’s start working!.
Bienvenidos al Proyecto Piloto de ALFA III ADU_2020, que es parte de la Comunidad Europea (Europeaid) y de 18 instituciones de Educación Superior de Latino-América y Europa. Trabajaremos en paralelo con talleres de otros 17 paises más y cada estudio tendrá paises-pareja de trabajo.
Los invitamos a saber más sobre el proyecto ADU, También a explorar el blog y echar un vistazo en el calendario, Programa y Tareas. El botón “file” será nuestra herramienta para compartir información. El botón “Add new post” será nuestra herramienta para subir las tareas y sus trabajos en diferentes etapas del curso. (ver calendario para saber cuando hay tareas comentadas).
Deseando lo mejor para todos, entonces que comience el trabajo!.