Wouter Vanstiphout will be a keynote speaker at the ‘9th World in Denmark conference – HERE COMES THE SUN…’, coming Friday 21/06 at the Copenhagen University.
The 9th World in Denmark conference sets out to explore possible futures of the post-war city’s open spaces as an essential constituent element of urban development for the welfare state as experienced in Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe. However, the ideological foundations of the welfare state – in terms of conceptions of democracy, health and equality – are ever changing.
From the 1920s onwards, open spaces became the goal and the means of a dream on a sunlit, healthy city inhabited by open-air mankind. Despite the radical 1945-shift in attitude towards nature from being an ideal to something unreliable – provoked by the war experiences – the dreams of a collective society associated with the open spaces were partly realized in the post-war massive urban expansions; in their infrastructural networks, institutions, suburban housing complexes and residential neighbourhoods including all their open spaces. They also mirrored the social democratic ideal of the society as a provider of universal, recreational goods in bringing together planning, architecture and social policy.
Today, our belief in universal common goods is replaced by a discussion of the possible future relationships between the society and the individual and the possibilities and probabilities for negotiation of various traditions, needs and resources available. The conference invites designers and planners of open space to recapture and perhaps reinvent the idea of ‘the collective’ … to think of how this good can be reflected in the open spaces that we share. How can we imagine their function, use and designation, their ethics and aesthetics? What are our architectural and theoretical visions for the development of future collective open spaces in the post war city?
Can we benefit from failure? Can dystopia be productive? Is there a future for architecture criticism? These and other questions will be asked during the event ‘Failed Architecture#10: Beyond Failure’ on Thursday 13 June, in Trouw/De Verdieping, Amsterdam.
The event is organized by the research platform Failed Architecture who have been exploring the dark sides of architecture and urbanism, from long neglected industrial ruins and abandoned new towns to Britain’s riot-torn neighbourhoods and the corporate takeover in sell-out-cities. For Thursday they invited speakers as Ole Bouman, Matthias Böttger and Darryl Chen to explore a wide range of perspectives on the possible successes of failure, the resilience of architecture and the architect’s responsibility in a ravaged world.
Integral part of the evening will also be a discussion on the role of architectural magazines, based on former Design as Politics student Jan Loerakker’s article The Day Architects Stopped Reading Newspapers, on how presenting and scrutinizing architecture influences the way we think about cities.
The night will end with drinks and failed architecture music.
Crisis or no crisis, Rotterdam continues to construct new buildings. In front of the central station, foundations are being laid for a 120m high mixed-use tower, just behind it looms the almost finished colorful complex ‘The Calypso’, a bit further down town, a giant market hall will be constructed, and ‘The Rotterdam’ -the country’s largest building- has recently reached his highest point.
Many citizens are proud of these new developments: they make Rotterdam a contemporary city, full of architectural masterpieces. But how come large real estate projects are still being constructed in Rotterdam, while they are suspended or canceled in the rest of the Netherlands? Is so much office- and retail space really needed in the city? And what kind of city does Rotterdam actually wants to be?
AIR and Arminus brought together the supporters and opponents of the city’s current construction policy. Wouter Vanstiphout joined the debate with Rotterdam alderman Hamit Karakus, which led to an interesting discussion on twitter and an article the Dutch newspaper: NRC Handelsblad. Missed it? The recordings are now online! (Dutch only)
On Tuesday the 26th of March 2013, Wouter Vanstiphout was one of the guest speakers at the symposium named: “The energetic city”, organized by the Dutch “creative industries fund.” During his talk, Wouter argued for a strict division between the government’s responsibilities and that of the market, concerning urban development and investments in real estate. Wouter’s text and the video recordings can be found below, or click here to download the text in pdf (unfortunately all in Dutch only).
skip to 01:08:30
for Wouter Vanstiphout’s talk
De scheiding van Markt en Overheid
In Rotterdam woedt al een paar maanden een felle discussie over de rol van de Gemeente in het bouwbeleid, met name bij grootschalige projecten in het centrum van de stad. Het meest recent is de kwestie ‘Forum Rotterdam’, een voorstel van het architectenbureau OMA voor een immens kubusvormig gebouw aan de Coolsingel, met daarin een high-end shopping mall, kantoren, appartementen en de nieuwe behuizing voor het Historisch Museum Rotterdam. Het project wordt fel bekritiseerd door onder andere een groep winkeliers die zich zorgen maakt of het gebouw – in deze tijden van afnemende behoefte aan winkeloppervlakte – de finale doodslag zal geven aan de toch al worstelende zaken aan de Lijnbaan en de winkelstraten daarbuiten. Voorstanders zeggen daarentegen dat de winkeliers er juist van zullen profiteren, omdat een dergelijk ‘concept’ weer winkelaars naar Rotterdam zou trekken die er anders niet zouden komen.
Opvallend is de rol van de wethouder, Hamit Karakus. In plaats van als politicus boven de partijen te staan en met zijn dienst stadsontwikkeling tot een goede analyse en afweging te komen, heeft hij zich juist verknocht aan dit project. Dit gaat tot op het niveau dat er zelfs een paginagroot portret van hem is opgenomen in het glossy promotieboek dat ontwikkelaar Multi Vastgoed heeft uitgegeven met een interview waarin de wethouder stelt hoe belangrijk dit project is voor de stad. Dit kwam aan de orde tijdens een gemeenteraadsdebat waarin de oppositiepartijen de wethouder trachtten te overtuigen om voor dit zeer omvangrijke project, dat bij veel partijen zo gevoelig ligt, toch de gewone procedure te doorlopen voor het verkrijgen van een zogenaamde Verklaring van geen bedenkingen. Dat wil zeggen de mogelijkheid tot het indienen van zienswijzen, tot inspraak, en het geven van een controlerende taak aan de raad, in plaats van de verkorte, automatische procedure, die in feite is ingesteld voor kleine, oncontroversiële gebouwen. Na veel weerstand moest de wethouder uiteindelijk buigen, en ‘zijn’ project onderwerpen aan democratische controle en inspraak.
Click on image to watch video.
Wouter Vanstiphout was at the AA, London last week, to participate in the live think thank ‘The Working Village’, exploring Darryl Chen’s concept of a radical entrepreneurial village. Chen argues that audacious urban planning could spur entrepreneur-led economic growth. Against a backdrop of failing high streets and dying neighbourhoods, this debate asked whether there is a radical way of putting planning in the service of the economy. Could the Localism Act be a mechanism to spark growth? How radical can or should we be in rethinking how we draw plans for our cities?
Darryl Chen (Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today); with Wouter Vanstiphout (Crimson), Beatrice Galilee (Lisbon Triennale/Domus), Finn Williams (Common Office/Croydon Council), Adam Scott (FreeState), Paul Evans (UK Regeneration), Levent Kerimol (GLA).
On the 14th of March, Wouter Vanstiphout will join a live think-tank at the Architectural Association, London as part of the Venice Takeaway: Ideas to Change British Architecture.
The event – which will be chaired by Darryl Chen of Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today – draws together experts from the fields of urbanism, planning, branding and development economics to explore the making of The Working Village, a radical entrepreneurial village on the outskirts of London.
The background for this debate is the idea of Chen’s research project on the New [Socialist] Village, that featured at the British Pavilion for the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale, and is currently being exhibited at RIBA London. Chen studied Caochangdi, an atypical ‘new socialist village’ on Beijing’s Fifth Ring Road with a thriving and diverse mixed-income community. Amongst the city’s singularly masterplanned mega-developments, Caochangdi is an anomaly. In the space created by the Chinese government’s evolving planning laws, the village’s growth is driven by the instincts of local peasants and the bohemian opportunism of artists who have established a set of unstated rules governing urban form.
The Localism Act of 2011 provides the biggest opportunity in decades to rethink the role of planning. Chen argues that the time has come to breathe new life into the idea of the village by eliminating townscape sentimentalism and recovering economic growth as the primary driver of urban form. Chen’s project questions the seemingly one-way importation of Western ideas and expertise into China by asking, what can China teach the UK about planning?
Wouter Vanstiphout was a guest in yesterday’s episode of the Dutch TV program ‘De slag om Nederland‘. He talked about the rising vacancy in Rotterdam, while Alderman -and former director of a real estate agency- Hamit Karakus fills the city’s skyline with prestigious shiny towers by famous starchitects.
After the broadcast, an interesting discussion arose on blogs and twitter. Read some reactions here or here. Or decide for yourself and watch the show (all in Dutch only)
While London is working hard to live up to their –once promised– Olympic legacy, and IOC chief Jacques Rogge is debating whether the London Games were the best ever or just totally awesome, Putin is building his own Olympic dream in the Russian city of Sochi.
Sochi is a -by Stalin established- resort city along the Black Sea which grew rapidly during Valdimir Putin’s term in office. Although temperatures rarely dip below 12C, the city was selected to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. For Putin, an opportunity to showcase Russia’s ability to organize major events and boost its international image, but only few in Sochi are feeling the Olympic glow.
The games are already officially the most expensive Olympics ever. Non of the sports facilities were present in the area, so everything had to be constructed from scratch. There was no ski resort, no ski jump, no bobsled track, no skating rink and no railway or sizeable road joining the beachside Olympic Park, which will host the skating events, to the mountain areas, that will host the skiing and sliding events. The estimated 37bn euros budget is more than the Beijing Olympics, three times the London summer Olympics, and 25 times the last Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
To clear the land for construction of the stadiums and the around 400 highrises -hotels and blocks of flats- which are currently under construction, houses have been pulled down and thousands of people were resettled. Human Rights Watch, has already advised the International Olympic Committee to intervene, because of illegal evictions and the migrant workers who are being employed in the Olympics building boom were being cheated out of wages and denied adequate rest, food and housing.
Stories of corruption involving construction of the Olympic venues and protests by citizens are arising. Also pressure on the media has increased with local authorities calling editors about which stories can and cannot be written, and this is just the beginning. The Olympic charter explicitly prohibits activism, stating: “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”