Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Fasten Your City Belt in Amsterdam, Netherlands by Haiko Cornelissen Architecten
June 8th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Haiko Cornelissen Architecten
On March 8th the urban transformation strategy Fasten Your City Belt, designed by Haiko Cornelissen Architecten, will be exhibited and published as part of the Dutch Europan 11 exhibition by the Netherlands Architecture Institute, NAi in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
As an example of how lifeless office districts can be transformed into lively neighborhoods, Haiko Cornelissen Architecten has designed the urban transformation strategy Fasten Your City Belt. The current economic recession shines a spotlight on a troublesome urban post-war phenomenon; the mono-functional office district. Cities around the world are plagued with mono-functional ideas but the recent economic recession shows that the office district is especially troublesome. Typically, office districts become lifeless only after office hours. However, with global office vacancy rates at the highest level in two decades, mono-functional office areas have become permanent dead zones. Vacant offices surrounded by vacant parking lots have no other programs to hide these flaws, and become no-go zones in cities around the world. Fasten Your City Belt transforms no-go office districts into lively and diversified neighborhoods.
To show how the transforming strategy works, Haiko Cornelissen Architecten has chosen the Amstel III office district in Amsterdam for the Europan 11 competition – one of the most prestigious and renowned competitions for young European architects. Based on research, the most important factor for creating lively cities is the density of people, buildings and program. Because Amsterdam has a steady demand of residences for the niche market, apartment buildings with accompanying program (supermarkets, daycare, restaurant, etc) have been introduced.
Secondly the existing spatial organization needs to be transformed to accommodate the increased density. Thanks to the oversized infrastructure, the perimeter of each plot can be used to introduce new program in belts around the plot. These belts are transformed in response to local conditions: pushed up to create an entrance, pushed down or in to create more space and light for the existing buildings, or twisted to create space for the parking entrance below. Parking spaces are moved underground to make room for semi-private gardens, and office lobbies are moved up to solve the office vacancy by allowing new program to move in on the ground level.
Finally it is essential that plot owners are given incentives to collaborate in a private-public effort to transform the area. Reducing the oversized infrastructure allows the local government to increase the plot size of the owner in exchange for redeveloping the plot. The resulting increase of building area and spatial quality increases the value of the plot and therefore the incentives even further.
Fasten Your City Belt is a strategy that transforms lifeless office districts into lively urban areas through a combination of strategic interventions and incentives. With Amsterdam as an example, Fasten Your City Belt serves as a new paradigm for any city that wants to transform mono-functional areas into lively neighborhoods.
Haiko Cornelissen Architecten – Haiko Cornelissen is a Dutch architect with an office in Amsterdam and New York. After working for OMA and Steven Holl, Haiko opened his own office in 2011 to work on design, architectural and urban projects around the world. Regardless of its scale, each design aims to enable contemporary society in new ways by creating innovations that expand human possibilities.
Current projects vary from the picNYC table to a masterplan in Helsinki, from an apartment in New York to a tower in Tokyo and from a villa in Panama to a masterplan in Almere, the Netherlands. Thanks to his extensive international network of talented architects and consultants , Haiko is able to run a new type of office that is not confined to a fixed location and a set number of people. Haiko Cornelissen Architecten is a networked office where the best architects and consultants around the world collaborate based on their merits, regardless of their location. The networked office allows to activate expertise when necessary and to generate the best possible design team for each project.
Born in Amsterdam, Haiko Cornelissen studied at MIT and Harvard before graduating in 2004 from the Technical University of Delft. From 2003 – 2010, Haiko has worked for Artefactory in Paris, OMA in Rotterdam and Steven Holl Architects in New York and Beijing. He has taught at the Columbia University with Steven Holl. Haiko Cornelissen is also a visiting critic at TU Delft, Cooper Union and Pratt Institute and has lectured at the Brooklyn Experimental Media Center.
Contact Haiko Cornelissen Architecten