“Take Action #2 – District: Bottom-up meets top-down at eye level”

Jeroen Laven (STIPO), Gert Jan te Velde (Vanschagen architekten) and Paul Elleswijk (Havensteder), write in Take Action #2 about the transformation of ZOHO, the Zomerhofkwartier in Rotterdam. They explain how they’ve used slow urbanism in this former industrial/business area and the use of local key-players like Roodkapje, Hostel de Mafkees and Restaurant Gare du Nord. Since this is a continuance development, follow their Facebook page for more news and recent developments!


“Hofbogen; a Vision for the In-Between Plinth”

An article written by Henk Ovink, Senoir Advisator of the Hurricane Sandy National Spatial Planning for the Nederlands Ministry and co-editor of Design and Politics. The plinths in the city are the swinging doors between wet and dry, warm and cold, inside and outside. The plinth tells the story of the building as you enter it, or even before you go in, as its billboard, an advertisement of the inside. And at the same time the plinth reflects the city (sometimes literally) the power of the urban space, the place. The plinth is a border and at the same time, the membrane of the city; the swap space to look at, touch, and pass through.

“There are two scales for the Hofbogen line to fulfil this promise of urban reformer. On the scale of the city, it can re-connect the city centre with the surrounding landscape, by using the former rail track as a biking or hiking path. By rebuilding the mistakenly demolished bridge leading to it, the Hofbogen can become the connector to all layers and levels of the city.”

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p235b 43-3_Hofbogen Rotterdam - CREDIT Maarten Laupman_HQ.jpg

Both images: Hofbogen Rotterdam ©Maarten Laupman

“Reinventing the Ground Floor After 50 Years”

An article written by Arjan Gooijer, Gert Jan te Velde & Klaas Waarheid, all three architect at Van Schagen architecten. An important cause of poor housing and living quality in the post-war Dutch residential areas is the unattractive appearance and mis-use of the plinths of many residential buildings. The post-war areas have been developed from abstract urban conceptions at a district level with merely programmatic targets. The daily use of the dwelling, surroundings, and streets were regarded as less important. But precisely in the everyday use a good plinth is of crucial importance. Fortunately, we can still change things that are 50 years overdue.

“In order to include the high-rise in this urban set-up, a new programme and image has been developed for the plinth of the Florijn-building. By expanding the ground floor space has been created for a new programme of atelier dwellings, entrances, business space and patio dwelling in the ‘plinth of the building.”

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p225a 65-1a_Vissenkommen_old Rotterdam Pendrecht NL BEFORE - CREDIT Stijn Brakkee

BEFORE: Vissenkommen Pendrecht, Rotterdam ©Stijn Brakkee
p225b 65-1b_Vissenkommen Rotterdam Pendrecht AFTER - CREDIT Stijn Brakkee
AFTER: Vissenkommen Pendrecht, Rotterdam ©Stijn Brakkee
Cover image:  AFTER: Schuilenburg, Amersfoort ©Stijn Brakkee



“Uncovering Hidden Treasures”

An article written by Gerard Peet, Frank Belderbos & Joep Klabbers, lecturer, project manager and architect and all close connected with the Nieuwe Binnenweg. In this article they tell the reader about one of the most authentic shopping streets of Rotterdam West, the Nieuwe Binnenweg. The street is already a while under reconstruction. Over the last few decades the street suffered from economic decline and degradation. With a vacancy rate higher than other streets and a rather low variety in shops, the Nieuwe Binnenweg was in need for an upgrade.

“Although the situation was challenging, close observation of the storefronts demonstrated that not all had been lost; over the years, every new shop owner added a new layer to the storefront, avoiding the hassle of deconstructing the old one. (…) These hidden treasures only had to be unveiled to restore the facades to their original quality.”

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p221b 61-2_Nieuwe_Binneweg_Mei2013_70 Rotterdam NL - CREDIT FFH Frank Hanswijk

Both images: Nieuwe Binnenweg, mei 2013 ©FFH Frank Hanswijk

“The Time Machine: Same Building, Different Demands”

An article written by Jos Gadet, urban planner at the City of Amsterdam. Although migration to cities is as old as cities themselves (slightly distorted by the economic and social suburbanization of the seventies and eighties in the 19th century), the nowadays growth of the preindustrial cities in the western hemisphere is rather a specific one. It is based on knowledge and human interaction.

“The transformation process in and around the Frans Halsstraat and the Pijp District as a whole demonstrates an area coming into view of the new bourgeoisie and the emerging ‘creative class’ not only to use and visit the diverse mix of facilities and shops, but also to buy or rent a dwelling. The plinths in this case were not a sufficient, but a necessary condition.”

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p169a 22_P1010344 Frans Halsstraat Amsterdam NL Jos Gadet

Frans Halsstraat Amsterdam by Jos Gadet