Team Representative: Reinier Suurenbroek (NL) – architect
Associate: Meijer Timmerman Thijssen (NL) - architect
+31 627 070 948 – email@example.com – bouweninasmterdam.eu
R. Suurenbroek & M. Timmerman Thijssen
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1. How did you form the team for the competition?
We play in a jazz band and we both live in Amsterdam. Also, we both studied architecture at the TU Delft. Following the debate about the Sluisbuurt urban development, and having worked on a number of major housing projects in Amsterdam, we decided that this must be the right moment to present our vision about architecture in general and in the city of Amsterdam in particular.
2. How do you define the main issue of your project, and how did you answer on this session main topic: the place of productive activities within the city?
Our competition entry is based on two beliefs we hold:
- Building is a local and specific act,
- In a city with the most fitting building typology that will survive over time.
Our competition entry is an investigation into the act of building in Amsterdam. An investigation in how to build new pieces of a city where streets and buildings will come alive and remain alive as they accommodate change over time. By proposing generously proportioned spaces and a variety of connections between interiors and the public realm we allow different and unforeseen activities to appear. An urban condition emerges fostering and stimulating productivity.
3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
Our design samples from the proven typology of the Amsterdam canal house, but then made with today's building standards. We take great care of the interface between the interior and the street. By placing a large portion of the volume in slender towers we can keep the public realm spacious, with street profiles that are not too narrow and dark. The slender towers have the generous layout of the canal houses and in a stacked way one can even enjoy the vast views to the surrounding landscape. The skyline is reminiscent of that of the historical inner city: large low-rise neighborhoods with the occasional tall, slender, church tower.
Amsterdam has a strong and well-known building typology that has been valued highly and have been in use for generations. This is no accident: it is the result of centuries of experimentation and evolution, governed by local know-how, policy, economy of material and labour, and aesthetics. We consider the ability to adapt to different needs as the main reason for its success as a building model. Our proposal translates the lessons of the Amsterdam vernacular into models that fit in the contemporary building industry.
5. Urban-architectural projects like the ones in Europan can only be implemented together with the actors through a negotiated process and in time. How did you consider this issue in your project?
The plans for the new Sluisbuurt have been fiercely debated, which we find very encouraging. We would like to tap into this energy and use this as an opportunity to implement a vision with long term value for the city. Too often efficiency and short-term profit are the dominant forces in new developments, while these are hardly ever a measure of success in urban planning.
6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?
One of the team members has received an honorable mention in Europan 10. We consider the Europan competition as a great way to present our architectural vision, and want to position ourselves as designing advisors for the city of Amsterdam and want to contribute by developing policy for urban design, area development and building construction.