Team Representative: Kevin Westerveld (NL) – architect; Associates: Nima Morkoc (NL), Hedwig Van Der Linden (NL), Lars Kloeg (NL) – architects
K. Westerveld, L. Kloeg, H. Van Der Linden & N. Morkoc
1. How did you form the team for the competition?
We have collaborated before on other projects and have enjoyed the interdisciplinary manner in which we have tackled complex problems.
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?
One can argue that Brainpark had no distinct identity before: a generic business park next to a highway like many others. Demolishing the whole site, creating a tabula rasa and starting over is a first instinct until one realizes that densification and intensification of the existing will create a unique and productive urban fabric. Therefore, building upon Brainpark will solve the existential problem of isolation and monofunctionality that is currently present in Brainpark.
3. How did this issue and the questions raised by the site mutation meet?
Nowadays, we envision our productive landscapes differently than the late 20th century business park Brainpark. However, we can learn from revisioning spaces like Brainpark by subtracting the embedded qualities and potentials and strengthen them. The focus of this proposal is to use the allotment as an advantage to densify the area into a mixed use area. A plan that is receptive and adaptable to change instead of being readymade from the beginning.
4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
We have treated this issue for the first time and were deeply inspired by a variety of references, ranging from abstract to specific projects. The skyscrapers of Manhattan exposed as unique pieces of architecture in the book Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaas, is a reference for us by envisioning the architecture of Brainpark as delicious pastries. In this project we respect and completed the collection by adding creations from the same bakery. A more specific reference is the project that is initiated at the former NDSM-warf in Amsterdam. More precisely at the way that is dealt with ownership and the way the project deals with existing social and physical structures. We see the redevelopment of NDSM-warf as a prime example of why thinking on site and working closely with existing groups and social structures can bring meaningful energy to a city. This project has worked in overall because it has an integrated consciousness to deal with ownership in all phases.
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?
We came up with a framework with rules that empower valuable developments with good policy. The municipality will have the overhand in redeveloping the area by implementing legal tools such as zoning plans and giving room for experimentation. As most plots in Brainpark are labelled as ‘office’ zone, whilst having a different desired purpose it would mean that the municipality is the one to approve weather this change is indeed the future. As the perspective is to develop the area into a cohesive housing, employment and knowledge cluster in which the productive city can flourish, it would behove the municipality to come up with attractive policies to stimulate city makers. This policy should be attractive and profitable on the short as well as the long term for both existing and future groups on site. For this reason, we propose a flexible framework with rules in order to empower valuable developments.
6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?
This is the first time we have participated in a Europan competition and we are very honoured to have won a prize. Winning this prize shows the appreciation by a jury of our peers, meaning mostly people from a design-background. Hopefully this, together with our ambitions for the city of Rotterdam, lead to profound collaborations with parties that also believe in the potential of transforming monofunctional business parks into places for the city.
Functions: Architecture, Social Development, Urban Strategy and Planning
Average age of the associates: 27 years old
Has your team, together or separately, already conceived or implemented some projects and/or won any competition? If yes, which ones?
- 1st prize, National Renovation Platform- Transformation of a post-war perimeter block | Research and design
- Redevelopment and design of the Juliana church, Rotterdam – Transformation into housing | Final design and development phase
- 1st prize Hobbemaplein, The Hague – Reshaping a public square | Under construction
- 2nd prize Karitaat bridge, Delft – Design of a pedestrian and bicycle bridge | Competition 1st prize Strelka project, Russia – A national strategic vision to timber construction for social housing | competition
- Design and Build of ‘t Tussenom, Blaricum – Landart on a temporary waste land | Executed
- Design and Build of Aan ‘t Verlaat, Delft – A multifunctional space of a student complex | Executed