architecture public works urbanism
Architecture

Architecture

is larger than our own profession and emanates from the systematics of societal development.

Practice goes beyond the object, symbolising order and stability. Additionally to the authorship of the built architecture, design reveals processes of governance, financing and organisational logic. In times of critical transition architecture can beneficially influence public challenges.

Architecture

By acknowledging experience as a transient apprehension, consequential one needs to continuously work on collecting and incorporating principles and methods. Understanding is gained through self-initiated preparing research. The curiosity in current and undercurrent systems benefits the involvement in offered and selected assignments. Working mentality is not aimed at self fulfilling logics, honest answers challenge the question. And as answers are not necessarily physical architecture, professional boundaries are tested. Through collaboration with municipalities, universities and the building industry Studio Stad can venture outside its territory of expertise. Progressive insight allows our heterogenous practice the transformation from a (social) gadfly to a formal contributor.

Make my day
Make my day

When one is staring in the abyss, stuck in capslock, do not move towards the light, but check the Preiser website and build your dreams in the next futile model. Never give in.

At the end of a gilded age of mass design and production the romantic singular is sized up by the multiplicity of roles and manifestations. The artistic can move outside norms. The critic can provoke discourse. The activist begin informal implementation to allow local outcomes to help formalise governance. Equipped with big data an analyst can provide new positivistic tools. Architecture too can remove to progress.

1 dm2 / h
1 dm2 / h

> Average building cost of a house in the Netherlands in May 2012 is €259 / m3;

> Average an architect accepts an honorarium of 7-10% of those costs, which optimistically leads to €18,13 / m3;

> The minimum wage in the Netherlands 2012 is €1.412,00 per month or €64,92 per day with an average of 21,75 workdays a month;

> A dutch architect has to produce 3,58m3 of building a day or 1,38m2 (building regulations: minimum ceiling height 2,6m) to earn the minimum wage;

> With approx. 10% design time in a building process, architects are left with a qoutum of 14dm2 of design per day = 14 hours;
 
>> financial sustainable design-production is 1 dm2 per hour

Contradicton

Contradicton

open / closed

Contradicton

The word polls originally connoted something like a "ring-wall," and it seems the Latin urbs also expressed the notion of a "circle" and was derived from the same root as orbis. We find the same connection in our word "town," which originally, like the German Zaun, meant a surrounding fence (see R. B. Onians, The Origins of European Thought [1954], p. 444, n. 1)

WHO (1/4)

Whether we humans agreed on it or fought over it, the moment we stopped hunting, build a plough to start farming, we declared this earth ours. If we are to invest time in the soil and grow crops, wouldn’t it be a crime, if others would literally reap the fruits of our labour? We’ve emancipated from nature, become less dependent on its whims. We learn, gain experience and we’ve become proficient. We harvest more than needed for household-use. We prosper. We plan our future and cultivate our minds. But we humans as individuals remain frail. As a collective we can protect ourselves behind city walls and assure continuity of our progress. Within these boundaries we condemn the use of violence and encourage the use of the voice of inhabitants. With a social contract, we humans legitimate a level of authority of a state over the individual and surrender some of our freedoms, in exchange for the protection of the remaining rights and share in the distribution of virtue generated by public and private resources. We achieved it with the welfare state.

Jean Jacques Rousseau was born too late. If he could, he would have probably stopped the first person, who declared a piece of land his property. He acknowledges the act of appropriation as the foundation of civic society, but regrets the consequence, namely the birth of economy. The value of land was considered by the physiocrats as primary guarantor of wealth. Adam Smith put it next to the resources labour and capital to accumulate profit. Soil as a material is closely linked to the development of industries, yet the value within the urban context is defined by three criteria only: location, location, location.

-work in progress-

Infrastructural heritage
Infrastructural heritage

Stichting Kerkelijk Kunstbezit in Nederland (SKKN), 1977
Federatie Industrieel Erfgoed Nederland (FIEN), 1984
Monumentenwet, 1988
Nationaal Groenfonds, 1994
Boerderij en Landschap, 2008
Infrastructureel Erfgoed, 2015

Functional green
Functional green

For decades the Bundesgartenschau is a tool for programming empty sites and is prototypical for post-event-use.

Proportion

Proportion

price / value

Proportion

painting: Goethe_(Stieler_1828)

Goethe's Second-Price Auction
I am inclined to offer Mr. Vieweg from Berlin an epic poem, Hermann and Dorothea, which will have approxi-mately 2000 hexameters.... Concerning the royalty we will proceed as follows: I will hand over to Mr. Counsel B6ttiger a sealed note which contains my demand, and I wait for what Mr. Vieweg will suggest to offer for my work. If his offer is lower than my demand, then I take my note back, unopened, and the negotiation is broken. If, however, his offer is higher, then I will not ask for more than what is written in the note to be opened by Mr. Bottiger. (Cited in Mandelkow [1968], p. 254)

The limits to growth
The limits to growth

The Guiness Book of Records is our time’s symptom of platitude canon. By benchmarking any achievement, we can push borders beyond need, scale and sanity. Let this be our ultimate effort to limit Network theory and move on.

- work in progress-

A sign
A sign

Maastricht is a city where the skyline doesn’t symbolize the profile of progress, but the conflict of urban evolution. It is an ironic chorus line of vacant icons. Sterile chimneys of has-been factories, steeples of silenced faith and extinguished electronic industrial signage weigh on our spirit. Thanks to daylight-saving night kicks in soon, so we are not constantly reminded of this petrified legacy.

The city has lost its saints and captains of industry. If one does rise to greater heights, population takes them down. Society equalizes. Power and knowledge spreads, widens, dilutes. Though our large heritage remains, soon no organization is left to deal with it.

But promise can come in small portions. The former Sphinx signage is lit once again. Lets hope this beacon lures at least three wise men from the east, or any direction for that matter, to share their power, knowledge and treasure.
NOVEMBER 5, 2012

Superset

Superset

macro / micro

Superset

We always find great numbers of central places of a lower order, i.e. lesser importance and smaller size. Beside them, we find a considerable number of central places that have a somewhat greater importance, a still smaller number of places of a higher order, and only very seldom, places of the highest order… The greater a town is, the smaller is the number … in its respective category. (Central Place Theory, Walter Christaller [1933] p. 58)

OWNS (2/4)

Rotterdam 1940, the city was bombed and the historical center with all its facilities and houses were destroyed. With consideration to the personal drama and hardship, it led to a tabula rasa in the heart of the city. Instead of a trauma the void turned into a progressive psychosis. The second largest city of the Netherlands seized the opportunity to reconstruct and model a new concept of society through urbanism. The whole area within the Fire Boundary was expropriated to relieve it from administrative delay. Previous ownership was documented in the Grootboek.

With the restitution previous owners could buy back land to rebuild their stores and offices. Tenants had no right to restitution and were completely dependent on large-scale housing projects. In reality only commercial developers had the financial means to invest in new buildings. Regular shopkeepers couldn’t afford to pay for a new store let alone extra levels for housing. In addition the central axis the Hoogstraat being one of the main shopping streets before the bombing had the highest rates. The property was too expensive to return to.

The large-scale sale of building lots in the centre of Rotterdam to investment companies in the 1950’s, has a decisive influence on todays contradiction between property versus ownership. However the current issues of vacancy caused by the detachment of investment companies to local affairs could not be foreseen. In that era Rotterdam was facing an entire different challenge: the high-speed reconstruction of its centre. The urban development coincided with the rapids of the Second Industrial Revolution and generated an industry of space production. The urban industry flourished and accommodated the construction of the welfare state.

Today society is cornered by a financial world, which has outgrown national borders becoming airborne in speculative bubbles. The exclusion of violence from our boundaries has been reversed. The power of voice is challenged by the violence of finance. On the one hand the global context allows companies to choose the lowest national taxation, on the other hand the ownership of land is still entitled to legal protection against private and public interference. The public still surrenders part of its freedom in favor of financial institutions, but in return these financial institutions are no longer burdened by social concern.

 - work in progress-

a short unjust review on Dalsgaard's 'the human scale' :
a short unjust review on Dalsgaard's 'the human scale' :

The documentary begins with a menacing cameraview promising a profound plea on urban planning, but after 20 minutes I get frustrated: what about relevant the problems of gigacities? When will the Gehl’s mention the increase of not-haves instead of walkways and bicycle lanes? Let mayors respond to the social shifts between suburb and center instead of blaming the concepts of a ninety year old modern movement. Do they still bear a grudge against their predecessors? Please move on, we have.

The earnest cliché of The Human Scale is a testimonial commercial. Effortless the critical view of the documentary is transformed into a egalitarian consensus. Unlike urbanists think, we the people unsurprisingly have a natural understanding of what a city should be. We all share the same single perspective on the good city life. Es gibt nur gute Menschen in Sezuan.
The most disturbing feature of this citybranding-movie is the conceited use of comparative advertising. The Human scale judges cities on simplified merits of urbanity and burns competitive cities as bad. Even Donald Draper would have disapproved.

NOVEMBER 13, 2013

Negation

Negation

positive / negative

Negation

Het Nolli plan, een kaart met de open en omsloten publieke ruimte van Rome, spreekt iedere ontwerper tot de verbeelding. De Leegstandskaarten daarentegen tasten juist het volmaakte stadsbeeld aan. Met een andere blik, toont een leegstandskaart dezelfde potentie als het Nolli plan, mits de lege ruimte ook publiekelijk toegankelijk wordt gemaakt. (Stad.Preparaat [2010] p.84)

Carbon footprint
Carbon footprint

This is:
a) a mark of a worshipper
b) a Marc’s carbon footprint
c) a mark of the phoenix
d) a mark of an alien landingsite

OCTOBER 29, 2012

MY (3/4)

Six years after the financial crisis of 2007 the newly appointed Dutch King announces an ideological transition during his yearly speech from the throne. The postwar conviction of a make-able society is replaced by its apparent opposite: the participation society or rather the do-it-yourself-society. Responsibility of welfare is no longer restricted to Public Management. All civilians are to participate, engage and initiate from the bottom up to maintain our level of prosperity. By joining forces vacancy, which has invaded the city centers, can be extinguished and useless public space transformed to meeting places. Yet to which end are we - the public - being instrumentalised?

Urban development as a lucrative business has ended, but has reinvented itself as urban improvement. With the observations of Jane Jacobs and Richard Florida the value of vibrant public life and creative impulses has been recognised. Urbanity has become a commodity and the democratic claim makes civilians accomplice to the financial system of urban improvement.

While public government empowers civilians to contribute to the quality of public space, what can individuals undertake against the commodification of urbanity, an the on-going capitalisation of public space? In his work ‘Le Droit à la villa’ Henri Lefebvre ascribes urbanity as a product of inhabitants. Is it acceptable, if others ‘reap the fruits of our labour’? However the distribution of benefits in the current system of urban improvement has a negative trickle-down-effect. Financial return is channeled to private and public owners, but tenants are excluded. The reward for successful participation is rent. Urban development in this construction increases financial inequality. The imbalance has already been recognised in the financial and academic world, giving rise to the civil occupation of financial and academic institutions, yet the political response is not forthcoming.

- work in progress-

Critical mass
Critical mass

Definition:
noun [IN SINGULAR]
1. Physics The minimum amount of fissile material needed to maintain a nuclear chain reaction.

2. The minimum size or amount of resources required to start or maintain a venture:
some of our new industries are now reaching critical mass

>> Though for physics it’s the minimum amount to start or maintain a reaction, in a spatial context of demographic decline, critical mass is the maximum of retrievable quality in the process of sustainable urban design.

'What shrink'
'What shrink'

In times of ignorance man tries to map its flaws. Mapping is a tool to confirm the lack of insight. And when a map is made, it is proof of that existence (even rocks along a coastline).

But there is not one map and there is not one existence. So if we were to choose our maps, we might choose our realities. Therefor one could suggest, that in times of ignorance, we should not just choose maps delineating our failure -for example a quantitive lack of inhabitants fuelling our tax system-, but also maps that focus on qualities present, which actually do represent us on a map of the world.

image: chemicals export

Die Stadt in der Stadt. Berlin das grüne Stadtarchipel
Die Stadt in der Stadt. Berlin das grüne Stadtarchipel

Thesis 1: Berlin’s population drop
The following evaluations predict a drop in the population of Berlin during the 1980s equal to more than ten per cent of the present figure which is between 2 and 1.7 million inhabitants.
 
Comment
If we start from the assumption that these estimates are fairly exact, then it must be borne in mind that the real figures may exceed the estimated reduction because when the decrease is in progress it ends up by causing a bigger effect. A certain percentage of anxiety-prone inhabitants in fact allow themselves to be caught up in the end by an exodus psychoses with the result that the population slips below the estimated figure. Experience, however, has shown that this figure will subsequently tend to swing back upwards on the assumption that a simultaneous improvement in the quality of life occurs and that the city becomes a more congenial place to live in after a reorganization of the urban environment. In fact, without a radically improved offer no one will want to stay of his own accord in a decommercialized city, or still less, to go back there.
 
Conclusions
Any future planning for Berlin must therefore come to grips with the problem of a city in the process of depopulation. Since Berlin occupies a limited territory and political reality is such that it can be neither reduced nor increased, future strategies have got to be devised that will take into account a controlled decrease in the population density, without jeopardizing the general quality of the urban environment.
 
(Taking part in the rough drafting and elaboration of the city in the city theme where: O.M. Ungers (Berlin, Köln, Ithaca N.Y.), Rem Koolhaas (London), Peter Riemann (Ithaca N.Y., Berlin), Hans Kollhoff (Ithaca N.Y., Karlsruhe), Arthur Ovaska (Köln, Boston).
L’isolato urbano/ The Urban Block, Lotus 19 [1978])

Empty set

Empty set

experience / experiment

Empty set

Het rijpend besef, dat de stedebouw langzamerhand was uitgegroeid tot een speciaal vak met eigen beginselen en eigen wetten, deed de behoefte gevoelen om het gemeentelijk technisch apparaat in deze richting aan te vullen en te volmaken. (voorwoord Uitbreidingsplan Amsterdam [1934] p. 6)

Beachboat
Beachboat

Back in the days, when we still had our villa, we used to fantasize, how to improve the river Maas. Sometimes when it rains heavily in France and Belgium, the river visits us pedestrians in the streets, but we never get to enter its territory. Instead we create fenced-off beaches at a safe distance from the river, from which we can hardly experience the water.

Around this time all urban rivers host some sort of floating paradise. But not in Maastricht. Though we do have a buoyant, sustainable and vacant modelhome, the Maas is a waterway full with ships transporting tourists, stones, wood, metal and sand…

Next time if Beluga wants to organize something mainstream (like a beach) but still locale, perhaps they will consider our fantasy: rent this boat.
FEBRUARY 8, 2013

Foundation
Foundation

De fundering is een archaisch element in de bouwconstructie en is bouwtechnisch het meest stabiel als het gaat om technische vooruitgang en aanpassingen.

De mate van onafhankelijkheid geeft het flexibiliteit betreffende planning en compatibel met verschillende bovengrondse afwerkingen.

CITY? (4/4)

The Dutch Government has recently launched the urban agenda: Agenda Stad. Citizens and organisations nationwide are invited to envision new structures to sustain a future of the Dutch urban landscape. But before we think ahead, we need to question the fundamental structures, specifically: does the contemporary city fulfill common interests? How do we prevent inequality to be cemented into the future? ‘It’s the nasty crust of institutional interest that needs to be broken first’, signals architecture historian, professor Wouter Vanstiphout. 
A city is the materialised organisation of society and therefor immobile, but the polis, the body of citizens is immaterial and therefore not bound by location. If an urban center could be mobile, monopolized urban property looses its economic power position, opening up the possibility of negotiation. In addition municipalities still own 75% of all building lots in the Netherlands, which still hold value as a strategic tool for planning. Signs of this urban disruption are found with the shift of focus towards peripheral new initiatives of urban revival.

Property as the financial engine of western society should come first on the Agenda Stad. A government should not just reach out to new city-makers, but also involve landlordism. It could organise public debates about social rules to discuss the terms of responsibility and ownership and reenact the voice over financial violence.

A new promise for stability based on democratic distribution of virtue can be made on the condition, that the design-assignment of future cities also requires the shaping of legislation and reorganisation of society in addition to the shaping of mass.

work in progress

WE HAVE MOVED FROM THE STAGE OF THE ACCELERATION OF HISTORY TO THAT OF THE ACCELERATION OF THE REAL. THIS IS WHAT ‘THE PROGRESS’ IS: A CONSENSUAL SACRIFICE.
OCTOBER 11, 2012
-Paul Virilio-

Urban logic #2
Urban logic #2


“This month we consider Conway’s latest brainchild, a fantastic solitaire pastime he calls “life”. Because of its analogies with the rise, fall and alternations of a society of living organisms, it belongs to a growing class of what are called “simulation games”–games that resemble real-life processes. To play life you must have a fairly large checkerboard and a plentiful supply of flat counters of two colors. (Small checkers or poker chips do nicely.) An Oriental “go” board can be used if you can find flat counters that are small enough to fit within its cells. (Go stones are unusable because they are not flat.) It is possible to work with pencil and graph paper but it is much easier, particularly for beginners, to use counters and a board.

The basic idea is to start with a simple configuration of counters (organisms), one to a cell, then observe how it changes as you apply Conway’s “genetic laws” for births, deaths, and survivals. Conway chose his rules carefully, after a long period of experimentation, to meet three desiderata:
1. There should be no initial pattern for which there is a simple proof that the population can grow without limit.
2. There should be initial patterns that apparently do grow without limit.
3. There should be simple initial patterns that grow and change for a considerable period of time before coming to end in three possible ways: fading away completely (from overcrowding or becoming too sparse), settling into a stable configuration that remains unchanged thereafter, or entering an oscillating phase in which they repeat an endless cycle of two or more periods.” (Martin Gardner, Scientific American 223 [October 1970] p. 120-123)

image: Oscillator, The Game of Life, John Horton Conway (26 December 1937-)

Urban logic #3
Urban logic #3

“In 1986 I made a computer model of coordinated animal motion such as bird flocks and fish schools. It was based on three dimensional computational geometry of the sort normally used in computer animation or computer aided design. I called the generic simulated flocking creatures boids.”
Boids by Craig Reynolds


The basic flocking model consists of three simple steering behaviors which describe how an individual boid maneuvers based on the positions and velocities its nearby flockmates:
Separation: steer to avoid crowding local flockmates:
Alignment: steer towards the average heading of local flockmates
Cohesion: steer to move toward the average position of local flockmates

Each boid has direct access to the whole scene’s geometric description, but flocking requires that it reacts only to flockmates within a certain small neighborhood around itself. The neighborhood is characterized by a distance (measured from the center of the boid) and an angle, measured from the boid’s direction of flight. Flockmates outside this local neighborhood are ignored. The neighborhood could be considered a model of limited perception (as by fish in murky water) but it is probably more correct to think of it as defining the region in which flockmates influence a boids steering.

StudioStad - S