These are the last weeks of my time living in Rotterdam. To conclude the review of the 5th IABR I’ve been doing until now in the blog, I’d like to make a review of the main event (In content and duration) that is taking place at the NAi.
Is the exhibition “Making City”, which opened on April 20th 2012 and will be available until August 12th on the main floor of the NAi. It presents a series of stages, of “Living Environments” through nine approaches to the term “Making City”, each one of them starting with a premise and ending with a conclusion applicable to the city.
One of the virtues of the exhibition is that is able to isolate current city problems and explore solutions through a varied range of projects and locations, but is needed more than one visit to understand all of it and trying to explain it. That is why, due to its size and dense content, and as the structure of the exhibition permits, I decided to divide the review into several posts treating the different approaches:
APPROACH # 1: Boxes don’t make cities
Studies the case of business districts and their relationship with the city, identifying the problem: “Business districts are connected to the world but not to the city”, and exploring a solution through three projects:
- La Défense Roundabout (Paris, France), where it was organized an international competition to find solutions to remaining space within a ring-road.
- The Grand Paris Project (Paris, France), that explores how to turn a city of 2 million inhabitants with suburbs in a super city of 12 million people in 2050.
- Le Faisceau (Nanterre, France), where it was proposed an urban study for an area between La Défense and the river Seine (competition won by the study OBRAS) defined by heavy infrastructures that connect La Défense and Paris and were breaking the town of Nanterre in two.
This first approach concludes with the statement:
MAKING CITY IS: Making business districts belong to the city.
The conclusion may seem obvious (in fact it is) but many cities besides Paris have to apply it, since the fact of getting the business districts an active part of city will enrich its urban and economical life.
APPROACH # 2: Recycling the City
It starts, again, with the identification of a problem: “We continue to build though many buildings in the city remain vacant”, treating three projects that propose a new use for vacant spaces in the city:
- Test-site in Rotterdam (Rotterdam, The Netherlands, IABR testing Project), which proposes a connection that didn’t exist in the city through a bridge whose construction is based on the concept of crowdfunding.
- The High-Line (New York, USA, Project by DS+R): One of the most successful and widespread projects on the recovery of an elevated train track that runs through New York between the 14th and 34th Street to convert it into a public park that has reactivated the economy of the area.
- Binckhorstlaan (The Hague, Netherlands), an industrial district of The Hague where, after trying to implement a masterplan “from top-to-bottom” without success, is conducting a participatory intervention to regenerate the economy based on small actions promoted by its inhabitants (Following the principles Spontaneous City.
In this case, the conclusion is:
MAKING CITY IS: Re-using the city
APPROACH # 3: Cities Reinvent Economies
Based on the premise “Industries leave the cities but know-how stays” it experiments on how to act in the space left by large companies when they leave a city, or the case of industrial parks that are contributing to improving the city’s urban space :
- Upload Eindhoven (Eindhoven, The Netherlands) treats the case of Philips, which leaves the city of Eindhoven, and how to harness that potential to create a tech-park.
- Oude Ijsselstreek (Oude Ijsselstreek, The Netherlands), municipality that is experiencing a revival of its industrial environment focused on the development of the project DRU Industrial Park.
- Kentucky River Cities, a project that aims to revive the economy of cities along the Ohio River within the field of clean energies.
This third step of current issues on the city ends with the statement:
MAKING CITY IS: Re-Inventing the Urban Economy
Those three approaches addressing key issues on the evolution of the cities form the first part of the exhibition. The three of them treat quite different ways of dealing with the current situation of our cities, succeeding in the task of showing the multiple fields in which urbanism and architecture can work in order to face the discussion on the city.
To be followed by MAKING CITY_The Exhibition #2…………………………………………………………………………………………