Amsterdam Bijlmermeer is incapable -in its actual form- to answer to the growing ambitions of the city of Amsterdam. The project proposes two different strategies in order to irrigate the site with new urban potential and to turn this dormitory suburb into a truly productive district. The first one concerns the renovation of the existing buildings: the ground floors could host small economic activities and public equipments, while new shared vegetables gardens could be installed on the rooftop. The second consists in a constellation of new productive spaces, scattered like pavilions in the vast public green park and bounded together by a new bike lane loop.
Despite its utopian ambitions and social ideals, modernism paradoxically failed in imagining how people could live in the city of the future. Modernism lacked of political ambitions, turning architecture in a mere technical tool for managing mass urbanisation. What if we could learn from what went wrong and we reconsidered architecture as a discipline, capable of shaping new urban policies, stronger communities and, eventually, a civic sense of belonging to our cities?
What if architects would enlarge their responsibilities and put their efforts in suggesting how we can live together? In this sense the project aims to tell a story on a renewed access to urban life. “Makers street” proposes a collection of unexpected architectural episodes injecting in the site a new functional and social mix, vibrant common spaces, small size commercial and productive activities. A new set of values and of everyday rituals would be grafted to “the terrifying beauty of the twentieth century”. Bijlmermeer may become a florid battlefield, where the clash between modern and contemporary culture could feed a new urban era: architecture would finally focus on staging rather than on zoning.
The four courtyard buildings proposed for the project site reflect this new urban ambition, by promoting a dense superposition of functional programs, a different kind of local economy, new welfare spaces and high flexibles living units. Furthermore, the new productive spaces are placed at the really center of each building, by suggesting that they represent not only a space to work and to produce, but rather a common space fostering community engagement. The courtyard typology promotes a threshold spatiality, a spatiality of passages from public to common spaces and from common to private ones.