Europan 6


europan 6 prijsvraag


The issues involved in contemporary urban live are those which occur at each moment in time when cultural change has a large impact on city form. Now we live in an era where new technologies again challenge the way we make a living city alive. The leftovers of old urban fabric, pre-modern layout and Modern zoning are to be digested to become a happy meal.

Although the city has lost its definite form its fragments always ask for public need and private properties. Larger public spaces, communal behaviour and private freedom are in an constant battle to survive. Diverse lifestyles intermingle, driving your BMW next to the city-wanderer.

Fascinating virtual connections all over the world exist alongside more physical environments. Electronic data travels through a split second, human thought appears everywhere without contact. E-poch is booming without a physical form, so why try to form it! Yet, urban context and human values still form public and private space and vice versa. Public and private transport on the other hand maintains of major influence in the way the physical context of the scattered city is experienced.  

This is a post modern situation, not evolving in a certain style but in physical and non-physical environments. So no utopian straitjacket for all but a more pragmatic strategy to deal with individuality and diversity and the collected memory of city-landscape.

Accepting the fact that real suburban living ñthe most accepted typology in which maximum ground access and exterior space are dissolved- needs amounts of space witch are not available under the circumstances of this site another strategy is necessary. The present demand for a large percentage ground access houses calls for a reinterpretation of existing typologies.

The most common dutch urban typology, the rowhouse, has a great impact on the amount and quality of public space. Large parts of ground floor area becomes semi public or private without a proper, and more often a problematic relation to the public space. The specific- qualities of ground-access housing are being expressed in terms of parking next door, convenient and save loading and unloading- shopping or people. The feeling of ëhaving itís own propertyí, a street number identity, visiting neighbours via informal backdoor and a private garden are well accepted qualities to maintain. At the same time more mutual aspects of urban living are neglected. Urban space becomes parking place, the rigid separation between front and backside dissolves public and private interaction.

Looking for more multiple layered space of private, communal and public interest in combination with the specific stubbornness of the context has resulted in a strategy in which at the scale of the individual house the ërow houseí qualities and qualities of other typologies are appointed and transformed in new typologies. The result is a model with divers but specific relations between interior and exterior, there were private and public meet. Forms of double access, upstairs, downstairs, front-, and backside, mechanical and quick or labourous and slow complete the private and public access with communal circuits.

The total is an amalgam of all kind of spaces. Large and small rooms, maximal exposure and intimate feelings, street live on ground level or high up, ëgreen and redí alleys, formal urban space and informal backyards as exotic gardens. The design plan acts like a ërow modelí, fixed in its total architectural result but with flexible implications the way private and public use is made possible and can be changed.

theme & program
'Urban fragment between old consolidate town and extended modern towns' The Groningen site at the Van Starkenborgkanaal is emblematic for the situation described in the Europan 6 theme. At the edge of pre modern urban structures, between modern extensions and the near by ëoldí centre the site is projected in a former industrial zone at the borders of the Oosterhamriktkanaal and VanStarkenborgkanaal. This zone is in progress, -heavy-industries leaving, smaller business resisting, leaving the borders of the cross point of these two water-infrastructures on itís own as a wasteland or at least out of use. Regaining such important spaces for the city is the overall theme of Europan 6.

Urban housing program and new-economy small businesses are highly suitable in time and place for this site. Giving an impulse to the mono-economic an social status of this district the plan works as an catalyst. New workspace is fully incorporated- in the total scheme with possibilities for single or mixed use in small or big units and with direct or indirect connections to the housing. Existing small businesses in the area can take advantage of this service.

Projecting a solid intervention with enough qualities to resist the uncertain development in time is one of the paradoxes of this site and has evolved in an strategy in which a solitaire intervention can create at least opportunities for it self and behaves as a large symbol for communal interests.


zofa groningen

postbus 1027
9701 BA Groningen


Antillenstraat 9
9714 JT Groningen

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