Architectural design - Dwelling

  • Msc_1-2_dutch_2_

Studio Dutch Housing

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During the Fall semester of 2017-2018, the Dutch Housing MSc 1 Studio offers two design studios, both focusing on current topics of social and environmental importance.

Arrival Studio Amsterdam
Although newcomers are often depicted as a threat, Amsterdam has proven that immigration can be successful. With exceptional social and economic openness, Amsterdam managed several times in its history to turn the influx of newcomers into periods of success. The current city however is poorly equipped to absorb newcomers. Furthermore, there is a great shortage of housing. Because of the rise in housing prices and a growing waiting list for social housing, newcomers find it more and more difficult to find a place. Indicators for this are the average selling price per square meter for a house in Amsterdam, which is far above the Dutch average of Euro 3,500 (2014). Also, the average rent per square meter increased from Euro 332,- in 2003 to Euro 523,- in 2014.

The chance of a successful arrival is partly determined by spatial conditions. That is probably why housing newcomers at distant mono-functional locations has never been a successful formula to discover, encourage and embed new talent.

Starting point for this Arrival studio are questions such as: "Does the vitality of the city benefit from a radically hospitable welcome for newcomers? Can Amsterdam retain talent and develop new talent by providing better opportunities to new entrants? And can densification give a positive impulse to the undivided city that Amsterdam wants to be? " With the help of design proposals, the studio seeks to provide answers to these questions. More precisely, we want to demonstrate through concrete proposals for the area of Kattenburg in Amsterdam that the likelihood of successful arrival and settlement is not only dependent on luck, but also on design.

How we work
We regard ‘dwelling’ at different levels. On the level of an individual house, but also on social, ecological, economical and urban level. We will start with a phase of exploration, here we will map all relevant topics, challenges and threats. Students will work in small groups (for instance 3 students per group) on their own topic and present to the rest of the students regularly.

In the second phase of the project we will work in slightly bigger groups (up to 6 students per group) on urban strategies. Again we will ask the groups to share their work with the rest of the group. The goal is to develop a limited number of urban plans for the site. Finally, we work individually on projects that fit in one of the developed urban plans. Your fellow students will be your peer-reviewers. The end result consists of a project that starts out as an exploration, develops in to an urban design and consolidates in an and individual design for a limited number of dwellings.

Design brief
For too long, the issue of newcomers has been perceived as a challenge for minimal living conditions, designing Existensminimums. In this studio, we want to explore new possibilities as designers focus their attention not only on efficient affordable minimal housing units, but rather examine how the design of a more clever living environment can enhance arriving. In the coming decades, Amsterdam has the task to bind newcomers. Therefore it is essential to give the tradition of an 'open city' re-interpretation and to start looking for resources that will help to create Amsterdamers of newcomers.

As a test location we take the former Island of Kattenburg. Kattenburg is located east of the Amsterdam city centre. The site has a long, narrow rectangular form with a southwest to north-east orientation. The neighbourhood is bounded on four sides. At the west the site is bound by the Kattenburgerstraat. An arterial road which connects the city centre with the recently reconstructed Piet Heinkade and the Java and KNSM islands. At the northern side of Kattenburg lies a relatively broad water and across the water a series of railroad tracks and the Piet Heinkade. At the east a small waterway with a couple of bridges forms the line between Kattenburg and Wittenburg and at the south side stands a block with student housing.

Water Studio
Enhancing urban density and engaging with climatic challenges are equally important tasks for future architects. This studio addresses both issues. Students will develop proposals on how to transform an existing area into a new living area in which the water – the ‘raison d’etre’ of the site – gains new importance. The Living with Water studio is linked to the Dense Urban Living studio of Aalborg University (DK). A trip to
Aalborg is part of the studio program. 

Architecural Perspectives
MSc 1/2 students also participate in the AR1AD030/040 Architectural Perspectives course. Architectural Perspectives combines the courses Architectural Studies and Architectural Reflections into one comprehensive course on architectural thinking and presentation. However, Studies and Reflections are still recognizable entities within Perspectives and you will receive two grades, one for Studies and one for Reflections. At heart, the course Architectural Perspectives is a course on architectural thinking. It aims to provide knowledge and skills with which students can develop and express critical ideas about an architectural object (in this case a dwelling complex).

Perspectives looks at writing and analytical drawing in a fundamental way. Both activities require a certain position, a set of fundamental decisions about the relationship between author, reader/viewer, truth, knowledge and motive. With the help of a number of tutorials and writing & drawing exercises, these fundamentals will be explored, as well as their impact on the resulting drawing or text.

You learn by doing, therefore the course incorporates tutorials and workshop exercises. You also learn by giving and receiving feedback. Commenting on your peer’s writing and drawing exercises is an integral part of the course. The exercises and tutorials prepare the students for two comprehensive articles, one a project documentation (1000 words) and one an interpretation (750 words). Both articles feature text as well as images. The interpretation is done individually, as are most of the exercises, but the documentation is made as a group (3-4 persons). The final product is a group-booklet which contains all the workshop exercises (group or individual), the plan documentation (group) and the interpretations (individual). We work in groups of three per one project. Classes are divided in tutorials, workshops and feedback sessions.

Pierijn van der Putt (