On the second day of the NAi China Program [see day 1] we visited a couple of classic housing projects [MVRDV’s Parkrand, the 1990s KNSM-island developments…] and large residential areas in transformation [Amsterdam West, areas along the riverbanks of the IJ…], all located in Amsterdam. Background and snapshots.
In the introduction to the consultancy report the Netherlands Architecture Institute commissioned us, we presented following state of affairs:
There is a concern amongst architects for the social context and a desire to deal with projects that respond to the reigning urban transformation. There are a multitude of phenomena (social housing, migrant workers, preservation, infrastructure, urban-suburban…) that all point, if not acted upon, towards civic imbalance and instability. This shows a society in transition lacking a clarity of thought when dealing with these issues and types of architectural commissions. A wide gap in income levels, the need for affordable housing, a neglect for the quality of construction and absence of discourse are subjects which are common concern but are not dealt with in architectural design.
One Chinese architect voiced his analysis of the Dutch housing system to us as following:
The Netherlands always has had a strong society and support system by government. For every building, they need public money or power to create the groundwork for a new community. So it has a strong experience in keeping the quality of civil society based on a good relation with governance. In the 1950s many countries invested in social housing, but after 20 years most gave up. The Netherlands still needed to do this and make it better. Architects like West8, OMA and MVRDV are so different than any others, because of the way they see society.
Following architects were present during the second day:
- ZHANG Ke 张轲 [standardarchitecture 标准营造]
- Xiaodu LIU 刘晓都 [URBANUS 都市实践]
- ZHU Xiaofeng 祝晓蜂 [Scenic Architecture 山水秀]
- Doreen Heng LIU 刘珩 [NODE 南沙原创建筑工作室]
- HE Jian Xiang 何健翔 [O-Office 源计划 工作室]
- WANG Shu 王澍 [Amateur Architecture Studio 业余建筑工作室]
- YAO Jing 姚京 [Interior Design China 《室内设计》]
Locations visited during the second day in Amsterdam: Parkrand [MVRDV – 2007], WOZOCO [MVRDV – 1997], Westerdoksdijk [Meyer en Van Schooten Architecten, Heren 5 Architecten, Architekten Cie. – 2009], KNSM island [Jo Coenen, Hans Kollhoff, Christian Rap, Bruno Albert, Wiel Arets, Diener & Diener – 1992], Java island [Sjoerd Soeters – 1995] and Borneo + Sporenburg [Koen van Velsen, West8, Frits van Dongen – 1996].
Pictures by movingcities.org