Those following the blog will know that I have been teaching this year on the International Architectural Regeneration and Development Course (IARD) at Oxford Brookes University. I thought it would be interesting to share some of the first year diploma student’s design work from the last semester. The group were looking at two sites both in Rotterdam. This week I have picked my three favourite projects from the ‘Lijnbaan’ site and next week I will post again highlighting three projects from the alternate site. Thank you to all the students who contributed their work.
Please click on the galleries for larger images.
This design project was carried out during the second semester of the IARD specialisation at Brookes, where the theory and knowledge learnt from the first semester was put into practice. Our site was the Lijnbaan in the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands.
After spending a week there collecting site analysis we worked within groups to develop a regeneration and development strategy and proposals for the site area; undertaking a physical and environmental appraisal of the site with emphasis on responding to the social, cultural and economic realities of the locality.
From the group work I went onto to look at the 1950’s shopping promenade of the Lijnbaan. The shopping promenade was historically the centre for shopping within the city, but with the development of new shopping centres in the area there has been a noticeable shift of people from the Lijnbaan which has become more of a thoroughfare not a place to stop.
Even with the whole building and experience protected under the Monument Status, I did not want the Lijnbaan’s identity to change dramatically. From the analysis collected I wanted to give an enhanced identity and a new layer of content to the existing.
Following the group master planning of the Lijnbaan, I made the decision to work with the existing low-rise block adjacent to the large plaza. I chose the building not only for its potential to regenerate the immediate area but also for the opportunity to address the fundamental issue that Rotterdam, like many cities, is facing.
As a result of large amounts of immigration to the city in recent years, the city sprawl has expanded rapidly and now little room is left for further expansion. This is a significant problem for a city that continues to grow. The key aim that drove my design idea was to create both a sustainable and economic solution that provides housing using under-utilised/redundant buildings.
An additional underlying concern that informed the design process was the need to address the amount of office blocks and apartments that are left uninhabited in cities across the world. To prevent this from occurring in this instance, my intervention is designed to be phased so that it is flexible and responsive to changing user requirements.
Economic sustainability was also a key element that was crucial to continual regeneration of the area and for this reason the design provides an integration of collaborative facilities and revenue generators to successfully encourage both community and economic development.
In its current state, the Lijnbaan suffers from over dependence on retail as its core reason for survival. With high street shopping in decline, I have proposed a regeneration scheme that attempts to rejuvenate Rotterdam’s city centre primarily through a mixed-use proposal.
Through site analysis and background research, I discovered that an Arts University specialising in circus and performance arts (CODARTS Rotterdam) is located within the vicinity of the Lijnbaan, presenting a key opportunity in creating a collaboration with the University. The provision of student accommodation (a much needed University commodity) as well as the inclusion of performing arts and flexible public gallery space within the core of the design not only provides a feasible solution to the University’s problems; but also presents the opportunity for an exciting and vibrant re-use of this prime city centre location.
The provision of flexible public spill-out space, as well as the inclusion of a landmark bridge intervention, combines to present the opportunity for activities to occur both day and night.
In a similar move to Urban Splash’s Park Hill regeneration, I have attempted to simply upgrade and highlight the Lijnbaan’s existing geometry rather than impose a new elevational style upon it.