Economic growth and the crisis that followed had a lot of vacant buildings as a consequence. Buildings which are established as financial products, more than as architecture; to meet the spatial requirements. Since the crisis in 2008 the architects industry halved. Does ‘no money’ means no architecture? It does, in practice, but the need for architectural interventions is growing: Our planet is rapidly being consumed by our economy, climate change threatens us and the building sector with it’s 42% CO2 emission world wide has a lot to do with that. There is a need for solutions that solve current spatial problems using what we have, without consuming more raw materials, without wasting.
The excess of money some twenty years ago, made the build environment grow as coal. As could be predicted form the repetitive pattern of crisis following on the peak of economy growth, this happened once again. The money was gone, though the buildings where there, dwellings in the US, in Holland especially office buildings. There is no more demand for the floorspace, not only because of it’s surplus, also because of the changing trend in work, one-person-companies and flex-work as well as the ever changing fashion-like trend for a certain image. Hence the buildings become vacant. They are worth less, if not nothing, in the market, though not in the books. For this reason the office-owners do not feel like demolishing the building now that nobody will pay for it anymore. The empty office and surrounding area becomes abandoned, bad for people, bad for the planet and if you give it enough time, bad for the profit.
Teleport, a mono-functional office area in Sloterdijk has with it’s 19% -going up- vacancy no view on new tenants for at least the upcoming ten years in it’s current state. Nothing is happening, minor transformations take place but the shivery attitude of the municipality is clearly visible. If not now, the vacant 80 to 100 meter tall towers shall be demolished within some decades. Municipality is waiting for the owners (investor/banks) to downgrade, sell and get rid of them. The architect is out of sight in this financial dilemma with huge spacial consequences.
As an architect I want to prove the value of these buildings by reusing them in a material sense. Not by just attaching balconies but by disassembling facades, recycling structures and redesign with the regained material we already have at hand at the location. The design will be a small scale intervention resulting in the start of a new community, e.g. social housing, a supermarket, a grand-cafe or one of all these. The statement will be to prove what the value of the office-buildings can be, other than in the books, and will in this way prove the necessity of reuse of building materials, and architecture?